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Cannabis Reports

First FDA-Approved CBD Medication to Cost More than $32,000 Per Year

GW Pharmaceuticals has revealed the expected consumer price for Epidiolex, the first cannabidiol-based medication to be approved by the FDA, according to a Business Insider report.

At a price tag of about $32,500 per year, it won’t be cheap, but company representatives said in a phone call with investors this week that its cost reflects that of other epilepsy medications. Patients should expect a wait time of about three weeks between when a physician prescribes the medication to when they actually receive the drug.

According to Julian Gangolli, the GW representative who is in charge of commercializing the drug in the U.S., the co-pays for Epidiolex — despite its high price tag — could ultimately be cheaper than buying hemp-derived CBD products online or CBD medication from a medical cannabis dispensary; many patients, however, are expected to continue opting into the more loosely regulated gray market.

Epidiolex was developed from cannabis but contains just the cannabinoid CBD, which, unlike THC, does not have an intoxicating effect.

For now, however, CBD remains a Schedule 1 drug with “no currently accepted medical use.” The DEA was given three months from the FDA’s approval of the drug to reschedule it to a lower category under the Controlled Substances Act.

“We don’t have a choice on that. … It (CBD) absolutely has to become Schedule 2, 3, 4, or 5.” — Barbara Carreno, public affairs officer for the DEA, via Business Insider

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