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FDA May Approve First Marijuana-Derived Epilepsy Drug: But Why Are Some Parents Worried?

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will soon decide whether it will approve Epidiolex, a cannabis-derived epilepsy drug from GW Pharmaceuticals. However, some Americans are worried about what the implications will be on existing laws on cannabis products.  ( Pixabay )

The U.S. government will soon decide whether it would approve the first prescription epilepsy medication derived from the cannabis plant.

However, some parents, who for years have used cannabis to treat their children with epilepsy, are very concerned about the approval of the medication. They believe that it would have a negative effect on other marijuana products.

Epidiolex

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will make a decision on GW Pharmaceuticals' Epidiolex by the end of June. Epidiolex is the first cannabis-derived medication designed to combat severe epileptic seizures in children, including Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.

The medication contains a purified form of cannabidiol or CBD, which is a chemical compound in the cannabis sativa plant that doesn't get users high. Back in April, the FDA had unanimously recommended the approval of the drug.

In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, two different doses of the drug appeared to reduce the number of severe seizures in patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

CBD And Epilepsy

In recent years, a growing number of parents found that medical cannabis, CBD in particular, was very effective in treating or controlling the symptoms of epilepsy in their children. As a result, many families decided to move to those states where marijuana has been legalized, so they could always have access to the medicine.

Why Are Parents Worried About The Approval Of The Drug?

Some parents are worried about Epidiolex getting approved by the FDA because they believe that it would potentially restrict access to other cannabis products.

Since 2017, Greenwich Biosciences Inc., which is the subsidiary of GW Pharmaceuticals in the United States, had engaged lobbyists in several states to change their legal definition of marijuana.

GW Pharmaceuticals wanted to do this to make sure that its product could be sold by pharmacies and be legally prescribed by doctors. However, activists have accused the company of trying to restrict access to other CBD-based products that are not FDA approved.

Stephen Schultz, the Director of Investor Relations, said that the company's move was necessary to make sure that its product is made available to patients in their states. He said that it was never meant to affect other cannabis products.

"As a company, we understand there's a significant business building up," said Stephen Schultz, the Director of Investor Relations. "All we want to do is make sure our product is accessible."

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