FDA Approves First Marijuana-Based Medicine in the U.S.

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug derived from Marijuana to treat two rare and severe forms of epilepsy. 

The drug, Epidolex, is developed by GW Pharmaceuticals and is made of cannabidiol, also known as CBD, a component that does not cause the high that comes from THC. 

“This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. “And, the FDA is committed to this kind of careful scientific research and drug development.”

Epidolex is given as an oil, and STAT reports that in clinical trials, it was shown to reduce the number of seizures by about 40% in patients with Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut syndromes. 

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Are the UK Laws Out of Date? 

Epilepsy drugs have been proven to not work well, or at all, for about one-third of people with the condition, and one in five patients is estimated to die before they’re 20 years old. 

The confiscation of 12-year-old Billy Caldwell’s cannabis oil at Heathrow airport, that was prescribed for him in Canada to treat his epilepsy, was a clear sign that the U.K. laws might be outdated. 

…[it] “was a clear instance of an outdated approach, where prohibition overrides everything else — compassion, scientific evidence and common sense,” New Scientist wrote in an article. 

Following the news, many UK Members of Parliament have called for a rethink on medical cannabis, and it’s been announced that its legal status will be reviewed. 

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