New Cannabinoid Awaiting FDA Approval

As the implication of medical marijuana has created quite a presence in our society, we have seen countless studies proving the effectiveness of cannabis for patients suffering from life altering illnesses. When these drugs are prescribed by medical doctors and are FDA approved, cannabinoids contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The goal of cannabinoids are to deactivate the psychoactive component in THC and to affect specific cells in the body to show positive effects for pain related symptoms that accompany various illnesses. 

The public push for an FDA approved neurological cannabinoid has been in the news recently, shedding light on potential benefits, specifically for patients suffering from epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which patients experience abnormal electrical activity in the brain, leading to side effects including a loss of consciousness and sudden recurring sensory disturbances. As there is no cure for epilepsy, the recent push for the FDA to approve a cannabinoid has resulted in serious debate over the issue.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee unanimously voted to to recommend approval for an epilepsy drug that would be the first plant-derived cannabidiol medicine available for prescription use in the United States. This would allow for patients suffering from certain forms of severe epilepsy to be prescribed the drug in order to help control their seizures and minimize their symptoms.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, one-third of Americans who suffer from epilepsy found that no therapies help to control their seizures, therefore making the new drug, Epidiolex, more appealing to patients. Epidiolex is an oral drug that would not produce the “high” of typical THC intake, but rather work to stabilize electrical activity in the brain in hopes to minimize the seizures that result from epilepsy. 

As many health professionals are making efforts to support the FDA approval of Epidiolex, public pressure is on the rise. Although there are side effects associated, many patients and health professionals alike believe that Epidiolex can produce very beneficial results. Official FDA voting will take place in June of 2018.