In a move that has taken years of research and advocacy, the FDA has approved a prescription drug made from cannabis.
Many parents and patients across the country may finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief, when it comes to treatment options for certain types of epilepsy.
The U.S. food and drug administration has approved the first cannabis-based drug, and as of Thursday, it’s available in all 50 states.
Epidiolex is a twice-daily oral solution for patients ages two and older, who suffer from either Dravet syndrome, or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
“Many in the medical community over the last five years many have started to be increasingly persuaded that marijuana, that cannabis can be a medicine. This is the plant that has been distilled down to a medicine. It’s a plant -based medicine. It has gone through the FDA approval process and trial process and is now available. I think that’s validating,” said Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
During clinical trials, Epidiolex was added to three other seizure medicines. On average, it was able to reduce convulsive seizures by 25 to 28-percent.
It is only available with a prescription, and while costly, GW pharmaceuticals does expect most insurance plans to cover it.
Advocates hope this is just the beginning for approved uses of Epidiolex and other CBD medicines.
“When you look at the cannabis plant, all these various components. THC is the component that people associate with the euphoria and getting high. CBD which is what this particular part of plant is this medicine, in this case, to treat seizures. They’re not getting the high from it.” Said Gupta.