The FDA has just marked one of the most remarkable medical milestones in the US history. For the first time ever, the administration has approved a drug produced from cannabis. The drug in question is called Epidiolex and should treat even the most serious forms of childhood epilepsy. However, the drug won’t get on the market too soon, as it first needs approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration.
DEA’s classification keeps cannabis-based drugs from getting on the market
The Drug Enforcement Administration has been dealing with drug classification for many decades. Almost 50 years ago, they included cannabis on the list of Schedule I drugs, next to LSD or heroin. This category should contain drugs that can easily become addictive and which have no medical use.
However, researchers have managed to show cannabis can be useful from a medical point of view. DEA’s classification still keeps them from continuing their research, but there’s another problem. The FDA has just approved the drug produced from cannabis, but it won’t go on the market before DEA changes the classification.
The drug produced from cannabis is the only effective treatment against childhood epilepsy
Epidiolex is a drug produced from cannabis but doesn’t share any symptoms with the drug. It contains cannabidiol (CBD), one of the two components of marijuana. It has no psychoactive effects, as opposed to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
This drug produced from cannabis is effective against two types of epilepsy, the Lennox-Gastaut and the Dravet syndrome. So far, researchers have found no treatment to work on these diseases, so Epidiolex is a real medical breakthrough. The clinical trials on this drug showed how children who took the drug experienced 40 percent fewer seizures.
This is a strong enough reason for DEA to consider a reclassification. According to its spokesperson, the organization has given serious thought to this decision, but it’s not clear how quickly the drug produced from cannabis will get on the market. However, there’s one more alternative. DEA could reclassify only CBD and leave cannabis where it is.
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