FDA Approval of Cannabis-Based Drug Will Lead to More Medications

FDA Approval of Cannabis-Based Drug Will Lead to More Medications

September 29th, 2018 // 3:49 pm @

The CEO of GW Pharmaceuticals, Justin Grover, said last month that his company’s new cannabis-derived drug that was approved by FDA for treating epilepsy will pave the way for other drugs based upon marijuana. FDA has approved the new epilepsy drug called Epidiolex.

Gover said in an interview this summer that the FDA drug approval was not only a landmark for the drug and for patients who can benefit from this medication. It also shows that cannabinoids have a very bright future as far as other drugs that are derived from cannabis to treat many other diseases.

The medication is derived from cannabidiol or CBD, which is just one of hundreds of molecules that are in marijuana. But CBD is not known to produce a drug high. Actually, this drug has less than .1% of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the substance that gives you a high when using marijuana.

Epidiolex has been produced to help with seizures for patients who are two years or older and have Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet Syndrome. These are very rare types of epilepsy that start in childhood. Both of them have high mortality rates and there are few effective treatment options.

Gover noted that his drug company has been doing a lot of research on cannabinoids, which is a group of related compounds, including cannabinol and various constituents of cannabis, for several years. The pharmaceutical company is doing other research on cannabinoid drugs in other disease areas, such as neurology.

But as the federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, it must be also approved by the DEA. The Drug Enforcement Administration currently is evaluating epidiolex to decide if it has sufficient medical properties to be legal to sell. The CEO told the media that he did not expect significant delays and the drug will be launched in October or November 2018.


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