A promising new study has confirmed the effectiveness of Epidiolex, a cannabis-derived drug, in reducing seizures. Now, the U.S. government’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agency is considering its final approval this summer.
While 29 U.S. states have legalized medical marijuana and nine others permit recreational cannabis, marijuana is considered as an illegal drug by the federal government. Having a cannabis-derived drug approved by a federal agency such as the FDA will reduce stigma endured by the leafy plant, which has long been known for its medicinal benefits.
The drug is expected to provide aid to people suffering from epilepsy.
GW Pharmaceuticals is the company behind the drug – made of cannabidiol or CBD – and has started the process through the FDA last year following the study in The Lancet published on Wednesday.
In the study, 170 people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a rare, severe and difficult-to-treat form of epilepsy, were given Epidiolex and or a placebo. The real medication cut down the number of seizures by 41 percent while placebo decreased the number by about 14 percent.
In mid-January, an Illinois judge gave the permission to a family of an 11-year-old girl for their daughter to take her medically prescribed marijuana drug to control her seizures during school hours. It was the first legal case of its kind.