WASHINGTON – A closely watched medicine made from the marijuana plant reduces seizures in children with severe forms of epilepsy and warrants approval in the United States, health officials said Tuesday.
British drugmaker GW Pharmaceuticals is seeking permission to sell its purified form of an ingredient found in cannabis — one that doesn’t get users high — as a medication for rare, hard-to-treat seizures in children. If successful, the company’s liquid formula would be the first government-approved drug derived from the cannabis plant in the U.S.
The Food and Drug Administration’s approval would technically limit the treatment to a small group of epilepsy patients. But doctors would have the option to prescribe it for other uses and it could spur new pharmaceutical research and interest into other cannabis-based products. Man-made versions of a different marijuana ingredient have previously been approved for other purposes.
The FDA posted its review of the experimental medication Epidiolex ahead of a public meeting Thursday when a panel of outside experts will vote on the medicine’s safety and effectiveness. It’s a non-binding recommendation that the FDA