FDA Approved First Cannabis Based Prescription Drug to Treat Epilepsy

Cannabis-Based Drug Approved By The FDA

Recently, the FDA decided to approve a new drug called Epidiolex for treatment of patients who have a rare form of epilepsy. This drug is only approved for patients that are over the age of two years. The main ingredient of this new drug is cannabidiol. This ingredient if found within cannabis plants. However, this particular component of the plant used in the drug will not get its users high.

The approval of this drug by the United States health care regulators is a milestone for the industry. It could end up being the start of more research into this particular drug which mostly remains illegal to use recreationally throughout the country. This is despite the growing legalization of the drug for both medical usage and recreational usage.

While this drug for epileptic patients is made with ingredients from the cannabis plant, it is not quite considered medical marijuana. It is still being researched as to why the ingredient, referred to as cannabidiol, is effective in helping those suffering from seizures find relief and a minimizing effect from the drug.

GW Pharmaceuticals is a drug-maker in Britain that has been studying this particular drug in over 500 adults and children to see the effects it has on rare forms of seizures. This company had to overcome a lot of legal hurdles in order to research this drug using cannabis in the ingredients.

The FDA released statements saying that the patients who used this drug in combination with other, older forms of epilepsy drugs saw a major reduction in the amount of seizures they were having. Scott Gottlieb, the chief of the Federal Drug Administration, stated that his section of the FDA agency has been very supportive of the effects on cannabis for medical use for many years now. He also stated that this approval was a reminder that there are many sound programs in developmental stages finding ways to create powerful medicines for people that contain components of marijuana in them.

There have been other drugs using ingredients of cannabis approved by the FDA before this one. One synthetic version was used in medical facilities to help patients infected with HIV lose weight.

Epidiolex is basically a version of CBD oil that is pharmacy-grade. There are already some parents who are using this type of CBD oil to treat their children with epilepsy. There are more than 100 types of chemical components found in the marijuana plant. The ingredient in marijuana that gives a mind-altering affect is known as THC. This ingredient is not used in medical-grade CBD oils and is not used in the creation of Epidiolex. Physicians who agree with CBD oil used in the medical field all agree that it needs to have strong government regulations that are consistent.

As with any type of drug that you can get prescribed, Epidiolex does come with some possible side effects from use. Some of the more common possible side effects include sleep issues, vomiting, fatigue and diarrhea.

The immediate impact that this new approved drug by the FDA will have is yet to be clearly seen. The chief of the FDA has always warned about the use of other CBD oil products because they have no proven medical research to back up the claims and the safety of using the products. The promotion of some of these types of oils across the country may keep patients needing help from accessing the appropriate and regulated therapies they need to treat their sometimes serious or fatal types of diseases. It is important to only trust claims of CBD products that have been tested and approved by the FDA.

Carlos Lopez is the director for Disabled Friends. He also handles the department of disability resources for MedicareFAQ, a learning resource center for all seniors and Medicare beneficiaries.