For the first time, the US Food and Drug Administration has recommended approving a drug derived from cannabis. It’s an important step in acknowledging that the plant has a valid medical use, but will mean little without loosening the research restrictions that keep scientists from figuring out the other health effects of cannabis.
The drug in question is Epidiolex, used to treat severe forms of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Epidiolex includes cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical that comes from the cannabis plant but is not psychoactive. Researchers have applauded the move, and it looks likely that the drug will be officially approved soon. “This is a very good development, and it basically underscores that there are medicinal properties to some of the cannabinoids,” Dr. Igor Grant, director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California San Diego told