The DEA just changed the legal status of Epidiolex

Published Apr 20, 2020 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / SageElyse

The Drug Enforcement Administration may have a green heart. The drug Epidiolex is the first cannabis-derived drug to be removed from the U.S. federal government-controlled substances list. The DEA has officially de-scheduled Epidiolex at the request of G.W. Pharmaceutical, which means that it is now a legal and available option for medicinal patients.

Why this is a positive move

Cannabis news heralds the de-scheduling of Epidiolex. Physicians in the various states can now prescribe this much needed breakthrough medication. This can now be accomplished without the requirements of each state's drug monitoring programs. No longer will an M.D. be required to notify the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency when they see the need for Epidiolex to be prescribed to a patient.

Epidiolex is currently the only plant-based medication that is not held down by the U.S. Food and drug administration. No longer is this groundbreaking drug considered to be a controlled substance, and no longer is Epidiolex a class 5 drug under the federal Controlled Substance Act. This is positive cannabis news for all medical cannabis users and their primary cannabis positive health providers.

Epidiolex

This medication is used for the treatment of seizures that are present due to certain medical conditions, including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet. CBD is one of the most common extracts from the cannabis plant.  The CBD  extracted from the plant is non-psychoactive, unlike THC, the other commonly extracted cannabinoid. This cannabinoid has proven to cut down the occurrences of seizures by 50% in clinical trials of Epidolex. The FDA approved the use of CBD the compound found in Epidiolex for ages two and older in 2018 using the name Epidiolex and manufactured by G.W.G.W. Pharmaceutical in the U.K.

Side effects of Epidiolex

As with any drug, there have been some noted side effects of this plant-based medicine. Some of which include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Feeling weak
  • Lack of energy
  • General malaise or feelings of being unwell
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rash or flushing of the skin
  • Trouble sleeping or insomnia
  • Loss of appetite

These are common side effects that usually go away within a few days or weeks.However, there have been some more severe side effects that can need immediate medical attention. Some of these include:

  • Sedative effects
  • Lack of being able to think clearly, confusion
  • Liver problem; jaundice, dark coloured urine, pain in the upper abdomen
  • Suicidal behaviour or ongoing thoughts of suicide
  • Severe allergic reaction; swelling under the skin, typically in your hands' lips and feet, trouble breathing

Charlotte Figi

A special angel left us with the knowledge that a cannabis plant-based medicine can control seizures and perhaps extend the life of people living with Dravet syndrome. Charlotte and her medical condition was the drive behind the Stanley brothers developing a cannabis strain high in CBD and extremely low in THC. This strain was designed to help her parents treat her very rare type of epilepsy condition.  

Moving forward, 2020 has seen the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration de-schedule the plant-based medicine that was once on the Schedule 1 list. Charlotte Figi and her role in Epidiolex, a cannabinoid containing drug, will go down in cannabis news and history.

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