An FDA Panel Has Backed A Marijuana-Based Drug To Treat Childhood Seizures

Getty Image

With several states having already legalized marijuana, and several more heading in that direction, marijuana is becoming more and more legitimate. In another sign that marijuana might be okay, a panel of experts at the Food and Drug Administration endorsed a marijuana-derived drug to treat severe seizures in children with epilepsy.

If the FDA as a whole decides to follow the panel recommendation, then the syrup from GW Pharmaceuticals would take the honor of being the first federally approved cannibis-based drug in the U.S. Via the AP:

The 13-member FDA panel voted unanimously in favor of the experimental medication made from a chemical found in cannabis — one that does not get users high. The panelists backed the drug based on three studies showing that it significantly reduced seizures in children with two rare forms of childhood epilepsy.

The drug, Epidiolex, carries a risk of liver damage, but the panel said that doctors would be able to monitor their patients for any changes. And as always, medical professionals will likely advise patients to weigh benefits against potential risks. Given that the panel’s Dr. John Mendelson has called this “a breakthrough drug” for an often debilitating disease, many patients will likely embrace it.

Epidiolex is set to be approved by the middle of June. While it will technically be limited to patients with epilepsy, doctors would have the option to prescribe it for other purposes, which could lead to further research advances.

(Via Associated Press)