The First Marijuana-based Drug Expands Awareness of Cannabis

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug to treat two rare epilepsy disorders. Cannabidiol, called CBD, is found in marijuana and hemp, and this ruling marks a sea-level change in U.S. drug laws.

The drug has been legalized under the brand name Epidiolex and is used to treat two rare forms of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. This is the first approved treatment for Dravet syndrome, according to the FDA. The bigger news is that this is the first time the FDA is legalizing marijuana-related drug use.

What is CBD?

CBD is derived from marijuana sativa plants. It doesn’t induce the high associated with marijuana since it doesn’t contain the psychoactive ingredient THC. Instead, CBD is used in oil form to relieve anxiety. In clinical trials, Epidiolex reduced the frequency of seizures for patients with the two targeted syndromes.

Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet synonym manifest in young children, so Epidiolex is used for patients ages two years and older. Both syndromes include uncontrollable, severe seizures. This impacts learning ability and disrupts language and motor skills.

Much-Needed Hope for Seizure Disorders

The approval of Epidiolex brings much-needed hope to families dealing with the aftermath of these debilitating syndromes. Even with CBD oil, kids with LGS have life-long seizures. Families see this as a long-awaited sign of hope for further treatment options.

In the clinical trials, the FDA reports side effects that include sleepiness, elevated liver enzymes, diarrhea, decreased appetite, poor quality sleep and infections. Yet, parents remain hopeful for continued signs of improvement.

According to the Washington Post, many parents already are giving children unregulated CBD from medical marijuana dispensaries in legal states.

Cannabis Detox Products

Proponents argue that all states should legalize such dispensaries to reap the medical benefits associated with marijuana use. Unfortunately, federal laws and employment practices are still discriminatory. Many companies require drug testing as a precondition of employment. Natural detox over a period of weeks or months involves drinking copious amounts of water and using exercise, saunas and other activities that increase the release of toxins related to smoking weed.

There are also drug kits that speed up this process if someone doesn’t have that kind of time. Until it’s fully legal to use marijuana for self-medication and recreational purposes, this is the best way around discriminating employment practices and zero tolerance policies that take no exceptions into consideration.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.