A new cannabis-based drug known as Epidiolex has received the FDA's approval for the first time ever. The drug, which is expected to hit pharmacies in the fall, is a twice-daily medication designed to help people with two types of epilepsy: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. In both of these syndromes, symptoms appear early in life, which is why this medication is approved for use for patients as young as two years old.
This medication marks the first time cannabidiol (a cannabinoid that doesn't give users the high that marijuana typically does), is being used to treat epileptic symptoms. As Justin Gover, the chief executive officer of GW Pharmaceuticals explains, Epidiolex will offer families "the first and only FDA-approved cannabidiol medicine to treat two severe epilepsies." This option may offer relief to patients who have tried other modes of treatment with little to no success.
The FDA has also approved man-made versions of some of these chemicals to treat cancer pain and other symptoms and many experts have spoken out about funding medical marijuana research, especially as a means of coping with the opioid epidemic. This most recent approval, along with the decision from an increasing number of states to lift the ban on marijuana use, can completely change the perception of this drug and open the doors for more treatments and beneficial discoveries.