By Kate Sheridan
A prescription medication made from marijuana might be approved by the Food and Drug Administration this summer. The advance could be a huge step forward for people with epilepsy, which this drug treats. And it would signal a new—some would say long-delayed—embrace of cannabis-based medications in the U.S.
GW Pharmaceuticals, the company behind the drug, started the approval process with the FDA last year, and a study published this week offers more encouraging signs.
The medication under investigation is made of cannabidiol, or CBD. In a study published Wednesday in The Lancet, researchers gave either a brand name form of CBD called Epidiolex or a placebo to more than 170 people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a rare, severe and difficult-to-treat form of epilepsy. Adding CBD to other anti-seizure medications cut down on the number of seizures a person experienced each month by 41 percent. By contrast, the placebo reduced the number by about 14 percent.
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