Marijuana in terms of medicine was, for a long time, limited. Medical marijuana application revolved around picking up your MMJ container for the dispensary or even purchasing pre-rolls.
Despite this being one of the only options, this “limitation” is a result of many decades of activism and influencing local authorities to allow moves to be made. However, due to a recent FDA approval, we may see medical marijuana in many new shapes, other than the organic and edible ones in use today.
Around three weeks ago, we got word that the FDA confirmed an approval concerning the first cannabis-based drug on a federal level – Epidiolex. It is manufactured by the British company GW Pharmaceuticals.
Although there have been trial releases of a synthetic form of THC, Epidiolex is officially the first federally-recognized drug of the sort. Such a move pleasantly surprised everyone, especially given the sensitivity of federal marijuana legality. So, what does this all mean and what is this “revolutionary” new drug all about?
Federal approval after all?
Much has been discussed about marijuana legality on a federal level. 30 states have legalized medicinal marijuana, and 9 states have also legalized recreational use of marijuana. However, it still remains illegal on a federal level. In fact, it’s not just illegal – it stands as a schedule I drug, next to heroin, cocaine and some other deadly substances. Obviously, this legal setup doesn’t add up, and there is even a bill introduced to the House. It’s still not up for voting, though.
Such a sudden breach of the general attitude towards marijuana at a federal level has gotten people discussing a possible vote on the bill soon. This proclamation concerning Epidiolex had come before Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that people suffering from chronic pain should “pop a few aspirins and tough it out.” It is indeed making the whole situation more confusing. Before we dissect the problematic, let’s dissect Epidiolex and the significance it has.
CBD – stepping onto the big scene
Epidiolex is currently being marketed as an epilepsy medication. It boasts an interesting active ingredient – cannabidiol, or CBD. Cannabidiol, like its better-known sibling THC, is a cannabinoid, one of the many compounds found in the marijuana plant. While THC has a psychoactive effect on the user (the “high feeling”), CBD has much more medical potential and has been linked to alleviating several kinds and symptoms of epilepsy.
Unlike regular marijuana dispensary packaging, Epidiolex is aimed to be sold as a prescription medication, with a doctor’s note. The approval happened when an FDA-approved panel officially recommended Epidiolex more than a year ago. It is specifically targeting cases of the Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, two rare and severe forms of epilepsy that usually plague young children.
After reviewing a multitude of clinical trials and results, the agency decided to approve the therapy and give GW Pharmaceuticals the green light for the sale of the product on US soil. Despite already having access to several drugs, children who suffer from these conditions experience severe daily seizures. In many cases, they are left with serious developmental and intellectual disabilities, with some cases even ending in early death. CBD has shown much promise.
A chance for many patients
In the US, around 30.000 children suffer from either Lennox-Gastaut or Dravet syndrome, making Epidiolex a drug that can resolve a big health problem. According to sources, Epidiolex will be available in US pharmacies and hospitals by September. A projected $1 billion worth of sales is to be hit by the end of the year. However, it is still unclear what the initial price will be and how will it be decided.
It’s evident that much is at stake with this approval. If the sales go better than planned, further approvals on marijuana-related medications may be facilitated and hastened. Epilepsy has always been amongst the diseases that we know the least about. Now, it takes a new role, giving the world a chance to realize that marijuana can cure many things, despite the curing process not involving traditional medical marijuana bottles in hand.
A gateway to something much more
A single drug aimed at a single condition can’t accomplish everything on its own. Despite this, the approval of Epidiolex can have great effects on the government’s outlook on legal cannabis in our country as a whole. This came not so long after president Trump stated that he is very much for the option of allowing every state to regulate its own legal marijuana trade. This includes control over the production of marijuana and how the product is being transported over state borders.
The potential success of Epidiolex will likely open the eyes of the general public when it comes to the medicinal application of the marijuana plant. What may start as a trial for severe forms of epilepsy may end up being a series of approved drugs.
Many of them will be concerning all the proposed conditions CBD may alleviate or completely cure. Experts suggest that the next in line may be a medication that battles chronic pain, something that plagues many people of different ages.
There has also been much talk about natural medications being used for various types of psychosis. CBD has always been one of the more prominent solutions. It has been praised for its outstanding safety profile and a low-risk, the high-reward outlook in comparison to other drugs that may leave serious side-effects on the body as a whole.
The future is real
Epidiolex is indeed a chance for 30.000 children to live a normal life and beat the malady they were cursed with, but it’s also an important symbol of a multi-decade-long fight for justice and recognition when facing government regulations.
September is right around the corner, and we are eager to see Epidiolex hit the stores, along with all the reactions that come with it. What started with a simple approval may leave a heritage of possible cancer cures, seizure medication and much more.
While we at Green Rush Packaging wholeheartedly support the advancement of marijuana in medicine, there are a lot of reasons to be careful. Now and in the future, everyone should observe the other ingredients in the medication. It’s easy to be swayed by the presence of marijuana medication on the market and forget about some harmful ingredients.