Epidiolex is the first cannabis drug to be legally approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration. The medication is derived from cannabis but unlike marijuana, it does not give the ‘high’ effect. Epidiolex is a medication made to treat childhood epilepsy using the cannabis compound ‘cannabidiol’ or CBD.
Cannabis has always been known to have numerous medical benefits but with the bad reputation gotten from marijuana, the herb has been grossly underutilized in the past. Epidiolex is specially designed to work on the benefits of cannabis without tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which causes users to get ‘high’.
The approval of the medication took place in June to treat childhood seizures such as Lennox Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Scientists have discovered that these syndromes have negative impacts on the patient’s quality of life. Epidiolex was finally approved after months of research on its functions and the positive votes from the federal body. CBD supporters and experts hope that this is only a stepping stone to deeper research on CBD and other cannabis compounds.
Evidences That Shows The Effectiveness of Epidiolex
At the beginning of spring, a study was presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting which took place in Boston. At the meeting, clinical studies which affirms the usefulness of Epidiolex were shared. Orrin Devinksy, one of the writers on the clinical studies affirm that there are a lot of evidences which supports the drug’s usefulness.
About 4 weeks after the meeting, Orrin Devinksy and other members of his team published a study of the effect of the Epidiolex medication on Dravet Syndrome patients in the New England Journal of Medicine. Based on the study, about 43% of children who used the medication had the rate of their seizures reduced by half. 5% of children in the study had their seizures stopped completely due to use of the medication. Other children who were given a placebo had little or no change in their seizure symptoms.
About a year later, Orrin Devinsky and his colleagues did a follow up of the results with another positive study. This time the CBD based medication was used in patients with Lennox Gastaut syndrome but in smaller doses. Orrin stated that the purpose of giving small doses was to provide patients with relief without them getting any unwanted side effects.
Despite being originally designed to treat two specific kinds of epilepsies, doctors and other medical practitioners can prescribe the medication for other conditions like depression.
Difference Between Epidiolex and other CBD Products
CBD generally has medical benefits but medical experts caution people that not all CBD products are safe for use. Unlike other CBD products, epidiolex is a carefully studied and controlled medication. For other CBD products, a high number of them are different from what manufacturers put on the label hence their safety is not guaranteed.
The approval of Epidiolex could be a strong move towards further research and acceptance of other cannabis compounds. Until then experts are happy to watch the improvement Epidiolex will make in the world of medicine.