First FDA-Approved Cannabis Drug May Be On the Horizon

A British-based pharmaceuticals company is eagerly awaiting a decision by the Food and Drug Administration that could blow the lid off the nascent cannabis pharmaceutical industry and forever change the world of medicinal cannabis.

GW Pharmaceuticals has been researching cannabis-derived medications for the past two decades. But one drug -- an anti-seizure medication known as Epidiolex -- has shown exceptional promise in treating two severe forms of epilepsy.

After a successful performance in clinical trials, Epidiolex received a nod from an FDA advisory panel in April. The agency could heed its recommendation as early as June 27, making Epidiolex the first ever cannabis-derived medication approved by the United States government.

“If it goes through, it will be a major milestone for the industry,” said Axim Biotechologies CEO George Anastassov, whose company is also developing cannabis-derived drugs for a number of conditions.

Once the doors have been opened, CBD’s purported medical benefits could go from theoretical to empirical, changing thousands of lives in the process. Many patients and guardians continue to use non-regulated cannabis products in direct violation of federal and state statutes because of benefits they say they’ve witnessed first-hand. A government-sanctioned CBD drug could finally lead to the research and trials necessary to settle the science once and for all.

While Epidiolex is derived from cannabis, it does not cause symptoms of marijuana intoxication. This is a purified form of cannabidoil (CBD). It contains less than 0.1 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which is the compound that causes a marijuana "high."

Read more about the promise of Epidiolex here