The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first-ever prescription drug made from marijuana Monday, The Associated Press reports. The medication, Epidiolex, is an oral treatment for seizures associated with two rare forms of childhood epilepsy. "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 the FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb.
Epidiolex uses cannabidiol (CBD), one of the chemicals in the cannabis plant, not tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes the "high" associated with the drug.
"The difficult-to-control seizures that patients with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome experience have a profound impact on these patients' quality of life," said Billy Dunn, the director of Division of Neurology Products at the FDA's research wing. "In addition to [Epidiolex being] another important treatment option for Lennox-Gastaut patients, this first-ever approval of a drug specifically for Dravet patients will provide a significant and needed improvement in the therapeutic approach to caring for people with this condition."
The medication, which comes in the form of a strawberry-flavored syrup from Britain's GW Pharmaceuticals, was tested in trials with more than 500 patients. Read about its common side effects and the approval process at the FDA's website. Jeva Lange