FDA makes first-ever approval of cannabis-based drug

Jun 25, 2018

For the first time ever, the FDA has approved a drug derived from marijuana. This week, the agency announced that it has given the green light to Epidiolex, an epilepsy treatment made by GW Pharmaceuticals.

The drug is made from cannabidiol (CBD), a molecule found in marijuana that researchers have found can help with a range of health issues, including chronic pain and seizures.

The new drug contains less than 0.1 percent of THC, the molecule in pot associated with getting high. Nevertheless, the launch of Epidiolex could still be delayed by the Drug Enforcement Agency, who will have to reclassify it as a substance with medical properties to make sales legal. GW said it anticipates the DEA will finalize the reclassification within a few months.

Epidiolex is designed to target two kinds of rare and difficult-to-treat forms of epilepsy that develop in childhood.

Read the full Reuters report.