Epidiolex, the first ever cannabis based drug to be approved by the FDA, has been making waves within the cannabis industry. Epidiolex is a pharmaceutical drug made from cannabidiol, or CBD, that is used to treat certain types of epileptic disorders that are prevalent in children. The drug is administered orally twice a day and is used to treat both Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes, which are epileptic disorders that appear often in children age 3 to 5 and currently have no cure. Beginning in November of 2018, it will finally be available as a prescription in all 50 states in America.
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Why This Is a Groundbreaking Moment
The ability for doctors to prescribe Epidiolex in every state in America makes it the first cannabis based drug, or cannabis product, that is legal throughout all of America. Though Epidiolex is the first cannabis based drug to be approved by the FDA and allowed for prescription, it likely will not be alone. In its report following the decision to approve Epidiolex, the FDA stated, “We will continue to support rigorous scientific research on the potential medical uses of marijuana-derived products and stand ready to work with product developers who are interested in bringing patients safe and effective, high quality products.”
“Safe and effective, high quality products” like Epidiolex promote a more wholesome view of cannabis and its medicinal properties. No longer is cannabis viewed as a completely recreational product that users use to get high. Many are now realizing the many different properties of cannabis and their uses. The differences between THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, and CBD, the anti-inflammatory compound that does not cause a high are understood better now than ever before.
Epidiolex Is the Tip of the Iceberg
Thanks to this continual flow of informative scientific studies, the federal government, which still classifies cannabis a Schedule 1 drug with “no medicinal value,” is comfortable with doctors around the country prescribing a cannabis based drug to children.
While according to its parent company GW Pharmaceuticals Epidiolex will cost around $32,500 a year, that price is on par with other similar anti-epilepsy drugs. They also say that most insurance plans will likely cover that cost. Though it will take some time to see if doctors have any reservations about prescribing Epidiolex, its relatively low toxicity will likely make it a darling of the anti-epilepsy community.
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Lane is based in Southern California and is a content curator for Medical Marijuana 411. He focuses his research into finding informative stories that can help medical marijuana patients better understand their diverse medicine.