The drug can be prescribed by doctors to treat both Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. Both of which are types of epileptic syndromes that begin in very young children. Before a child's first birthday in the case of Dravet Syndrome and between ages 3 and 5.
GW Pharmaceuticals who create the drug got approval from the FDA back in June. The press release itself made clear the drug itself is derived from CBD and does not contain any THC. Which means the fact that it took this long to have a drug derived from CBD, which is not what causes one to get 'high', shows how much distance the United States still has to go. Of course, many products are currently on the market that have CBD in them. In fact, wandering around Brooklyn one can find many shops offering to add CBD to coffee.
Right off of the L TrainWilliamsburg, Brooklyn
Of course, one of the strangest parts of drug enforcement is that Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 substance. Which as a reminder is as bad as drugs can be classified. It was only in September that the DEA was able to classify it as a Schedule 5 substance (or V as they tend to write it).
A bill currently before Congress, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which is part of the larger farming bill being considered. It would do many things, including allowing Hemp farmer to access certain water rights, but mainly it would remove low THC cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. This would make the production of any CBD product way easier, since your CBD source would no longer be technically as dangerous in the eyes of the federal government as Cocaine or Heroine. It has a solid chance of success, largely in part, because two of the most powerful members of the Senate are both from Kentucky, which is prime real estate to grow Hemp in. It may also make the number of products with CBD in it multiply further as the price falls.
This may be needed even for those currently considering getting the prescription for this drug. The list price for a years supply of the drug is a whopping $32,500/year. Although the company is confident that is will be covered by most insurance policies that is no guarantee. Also, although the drug is able to be advertised for around these epileptic conditions, the drug can be prescribed for any off label use. This is the practice where once a drug is judged as safe by the FDA, doctors can try prescribing it for other conditions. The drug company just can't go around advertising for anything else, either on TV or when their drug reps go and visit doctors offices.
Whether this is a first step in a series of drugs, based on THC being approved, is still anyone's guess. However, with the medical properties of Cannabis well known, it will only be a matter of time until a drug company seeks to monetize the rest of the plant.