Epidiolex- the USA’s first drug derived from marijuana, a medication that treats two rare and devastating forms of epilepsy. This drug, GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex, is made of Cannabidiol, or CBD, a component of marijuana that does not give users a high. It is given as an oil, and in clinical trials, it was shown to reduce the number of seizures by about 40 percent in patients with Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut syndromes. Patients with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes, which typically emerge in the first few years of life, can suffer from debilitating and recurrent seizures, sometimes dozens a day. One in five patients is estimated to die before they are 20 years old. There are six other drugs approved to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut, but none approved for Dravet syndrome. Although Epidiolex was only approved for the two specific conditions, analysts expect doctors to prescribe it off label for a variety of epileptic diseases. It comes from a proprietary strain of cannabis grown by GW that has been bred to have high levels of CBD and low levels of THC, the component that makes people high.
NEW: *The US FDA approved Epidolex on June 25, 2018. Before it can be manufactured and distributed the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) must first reschedule CBD from a Class I (federally illegal) narcotic drug.