The European Union has approved GW Pharma’s cannabis-derived drug, Epidiolex, for two childhood epilepsy conditions, the BBC reports. The approval marks the first time the E.U. has approved a cannabis-based drug for use in the bloc.
The drug has been approved as a treatment option for children as young as two who suffer from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome.
Ley Sander, Medical Director at the Epilepsy Society and Professor of Neurology at University College London, said the drug “will bring hope for some families and EU approval feels like a positive step.”
“CBD was not recommended by NICE for prescription on the NHS. It is important that the pharmaceutical industry continues to work with the medical advisory body to ensure that drugs are cost effective and that its long-term effects are clear.” – Sander, to the BBC
Last month, the National Institute for Health Care and Excellence – a United Kingdom policy group – decided not to recommend CBD with clobazam for the treatment-resistant epilepsy conditions, citing the unknown long-term efficacy. Epidiolex is made from CBD and clobazam.
In 2018, the United Kingdom approved some THC-containing medicines for treating conditions for which all other options have failed. Those prescriptions are rare in the country; however, the synthetic THC drug Nabilone is approved in the nation for people undergoing chemotherapy and Sativex has been approved for people with multiple sclerosis.
In February, the E.U. passed a resolution to help member nations deschedule cannabis, following a recommendation from the World Health Organization. That resolution seeks to prioritize scientific and clinical studies related to cannabis.