According to a story from statnews.com, a drug derived from substances originating in the cannabis plant may be nearing approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The drug is being developed to treat severe types of epilepsy, such as Dravet syndrome, which can inflict dozens of seizures a day and first appears very early in life.
The drug was formulated by GW Pharmaceuticals from the UK. The active substance is cannabidiol (CBD), which is not responsible for the psychoactive effects that get recreational users “high.” Some studies have suggested that along with reducing seizures in epilepsy, CBD may also help treat pain and anxiety, and may also have anti-inflammatory effects. The treatment developed by GW is called Epidiolex, and it would be the first marijuana derived treatment to receive approval in the U.S.
So far, the FDA has announced a positive review of the effects of Epidiolex, and the drug demonstrated its ability to dramatically reduce the number of seizures that patients experienced. Recently, a panel of experts voted on the effectiveness of the treatment and recommended it for approval. While this does not mean that the drug has been officially rubber stamped, it appears that the agency is ready to officially certify the medication for public use; however, the final decision will be made in late June of this year.