(Reuters) – GW Pharmaceuticals Plc’s epilepsy treatment on Monday secured an approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, becoming the first cannabis-based drug to be approved in the country.
The drug’s approval permits its use in patients aged two years and older with Dravet Syndrome (DS) and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS), rare childhood-onset forms of epilepsy that are among the most resistant to treatment.
“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” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
The drug, Epidiolex, is derived from cannabidiol (CBD), one of the hundreds of molecules found in the marijuana plant, and contains less than 0.1 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component that makes people high.
Although THC can induce paranoia, anxiety and hallucinations, CBD has the opposite effects and has been cited by scientists as a potential treatment for mental health issues.
While supporters of legalizing marijuana say the decision is a step in…