On April 19, 2018 – following several years of tense criticism and stonewalling – the Food and Drug Administration approved the first cannabidiol (CBD) prescription drug. Named Epidolex, this medication is intended to treat patients suffering from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Both are very rare and extremely severe forms of epilepsy that heavily damage patients’ quality of life.
GW Pharmaceuticals, a British drug company, is responsible for creating Epidolex, which the medical community and the public hail as what could arguably be the penicillin of anti-seizure medications.
Both Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome rarely respond to conventional treatment, leaving individuals to suffer from hundreds of seizures a day, risking cognitive impairment and even death from brain damage.
After years of lobbying by advocates and hearing desperate pleas from parents, CBD finally has a chance to be accepted by mainstream medicine. The results speak for themselves.
Dr. Orrin Drevinsky of the NYU Langone Epilepsy Center testifies firsthand how CBD has radically altered the lives of patients suffering from Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes, many of whom were “sleeping or seizing most of their life”. Devinsky says:
“Some of these children are now out of the wheelchair running around, kicking soccer balls, going to school – able to enjoy life with their family. It has been an amazing transformation for some of these children.”
The progress, however, doesn’t stop there. Doctors are looking to test CBD for treating other health issues, such as autism, anxiety, inflammation and autoimmune disorders.
This move isn’t just a victory for epilepsy advocates, but also society at large. It’s a large step in removing the stigma from cannabis and cannabis-derived products that will hopefully lead to further reform of medical and drug laws.