FDA Approves CBD Drug Epidiolex
This video titled “FDA Approves CBD Drug Epidiolex” by Dean, from the YouTube channel called CBD School, was very informational and easy to understand and I gave it 8 out of 10 stars. It informs the viewer that a new cannabidiol (CBD) based medicine derived from the marijuana plant called Epidiolex was just approved by the FDA. It was developed by GW Pharmaceuticals to mainly treat two rare forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. These two types of epilepsy are frequently resistant to treatment yet cannabidiol has been showing promising signs for treatment. This approval will help not only the patients with this condition but also the cannabidiol industry as well to get more credible in the modern world of medicine. This video gave enough information for anyone to get a grasp of the main idea so then after it they could even watch more videos he has made or go look to the research itself. His demeanor was a little bit stiff yet he spoke clearly. He tried to repeat his topics so that we would not forget them during the middle of it which was helpful as well as talked about other cannabis products to plug his other videos into this one. That was a smart move because then you want to continue watching. Again, this video was 8 out of 10 stars and the only reason it got two below perfect was that it didn’t explain the scheduling for the DEA that much or about cannabidiol itself. So in addition to this video, here is some information I have gathered to piece the video together a bit more for those who don’t quite understand everything he is saying.
First I want to explain what epilepsy is for those who have never heard of it or know very little about it. In an article about cannabidiol and epilepsy it defines epilepsy as, “uncontrolled seizures, which can be associated with poor quality of life and mental illness” which effects roughly 50 million people worldwide (Ali, Scheffer & Sadleir 1). Yet as Ali et al. states, “The most severe group of childhood epilepsies are the developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEEs)… devastating disorders are defined by frequent seizures and epileptiform abnormalities that result in severe cognitive and behavioral impairment” with about 24% of them dying within 20 years of being diagnosed (1). Dravet syndrome is a prototypic DEE so it stems from the more severe group of epilepsies which makes it harder to treat with regular antiepileptic drugs. In the results of one of the main studies of Epidiolex that was approved by the FDA reveals that, “This randomized, controlled trial showed that cannabidiol resulted in a greater reduction in convulsive seizure frequency than placebo among children and young adults with drug-resistant Dravet syndrome” (Devinsky, Ottin, et al., 2018). This is great news because it shows that these drug resistant syndromes have a weakness. Also, it is the small victories with cannabidiol that could lead to the rescheduling of this plant so we can find other medicinal ways that it could help the world.
Now since the cannabis plant is still considered a Schedule One drug it was hard to get the FDA, let alone the DEA, to approve any medicine that was derived from this plant. What a does it mean to be a Schedule One drug? Well on the DEA website it states, “Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote”. With the studies that have been proving that the cannabis plant has medicinal values it was only a matter of time before the FDA and DEA had to reconsider this scheduling.
For those who do not know what cannabidiol is, let me give you a little background information. In an article about the safety and side effects of cannabidiol it states, “In contrast to D9-THC, it is nonintoxicating, but exerts a number of beneficial pharmacological effects. For instance, it is anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory, antiemetic, and antipsychotic. Moreover, neuroprotective properties have been shown… could be used at high doses for the treatment of a variety of conditions ranging in psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and dementia, as well as diabetes and nausea” (Iffland & Franjo 139) In other words, cannabidiol has been shown to have medically beneficial properties as well as being non-psychoactive. What that means is that unlike the tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, it does not get you “high”. Regarding this information it is easy to see why to most want to utilize this part of the cannabis plant for its medicinal purposes and why GW Pharmaceuticals did just that. On their website it states, “GW has established a world leading position in the development of plant-derived cannabinoid therapeutics through its proven drug discovery and development processes, intellectual property portfolio and regulatory and manufacturing expertise…was founded in 1998 and is listed on the NASDAQ Global Market (GWPH). The company has operations in both the US and the UK”. With this company gaining recognition, I hope to see more products from them that could be used by others without epilepsy as well.
Hopefully videos like this will help to keep spreading the word about all the medically beneficial ways that cannabis can help the world. That is another reason why I gave it such a high rating. Usually when you watch videos about cannabis, the person in it could be intoxicated from the THC and may not get to the point they are trying to make. In regards to this one I think he set a great example of how informational videos about cannabis should be. Easy to hear and easy to understand. Thanks Dean for the info!
Ali, Shayma, Ingrid E. Scheffer, and Lynette G. Sadleir. “Efficacy of cannabinoids in paediatric epilepsy.” Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology (2018).
Devinsky, Orrin, et al. “Trial of cannabidiol for drug-resistant seizures in the Dravet syndrome.” New England Journal of Medicine 376.21 (2017): 2011-2020.
Iffland, Kerstin, and Franjo Grotenhermen. “An update on safety and side effects of cannabidiol: a review of clinical data and relevant animal studies.” Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research 2.1 (2017): 139-154.
Wise, Jacqui. “FDA approves its first cannabis based medicine.” (2018): k2827.
“Drug Scheduling.” DEA, www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling.
“About Us.” GW Pharmaceuticals, Plc, http://www.gwpharm.com/about.