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Cannabis-Based Epilepsy Drug Approved For Clinical Trials

Drake Dorm October 23, 2013
Cannabis-Based Epilepsy Drug Approved For Clinical Trials

FDA Approves Studies For Marijuana-Based Epidiolex

The US Federal Drug Association approved clinical studies that aim to determine whether purified cannabidiol (CBD) is a viable anti-seizure treatment. Physician investigators will be provided with Epidiolex, a new 98% CBD product made by GW Pharmaceuticals, and conduct Investigational New Drug studies involving epileptic children.

According to O’Shaughnessy, the clinical studies will be sponsored by Orrin Devinsky, MD, at the NYU School of Medicine, and Roberta Cilio, MD, PhD, at University of California, San Francisco. Both are expected to monitor the progress of 25 patients, but they may enroll more with approval from the FDA. Additionally, Cilio will conduct two individual studies as well.

“GW Pharmaceuticals will provide researchers with their latest “pure CBD” product – Epidiolex.”

GW Pharmaceuticals, the British company responsible for the cannabis-based spray Sativex, will provide researchers with their latest “pure CBD” product – Epidiolex. The drug will come in the form of a viscous liquid to be dispensed in syringe droppers. Additionally, there will be two strengths available: 25 milligrams per milliliter and 100 mg/ml.

According to GW, Epidiolex contains no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychotropic component in cannabis. It is said to contain more than 98% cannabidiol (CBD) and trace amounts of other cannabinoids. GW chairman Geoffrey Guy, MD, told O’Shaughnessy, “Our definition of pure is no THC.”

Guy believes the studies will help provide “better understanding and experience in what cannabidiol does in these different children groups, what benefit we can see, and how the results can best be measured.”

Considering anecdotal evidence that cannabis can help treat epileptic seizures, and nearly 5 years of pre-clinical trial data from GW Pharmaceuticals, Guy expects more studies to come in the future.

“In the coming months, if the FDA is comfortable about how things are going, there will be a number of senior epileptologists in major university centers throughout the U.S., each treating a couple of dozen patients with various epilepsies,” he explained.

The contact information for the head researcher of each study is listed below:

Orrin Devinsky, MD – Director of NYU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center
223 East 34th Street 
New York, NY 10016 
Phone: (646) 558-0803 
Fax:
 (646) 385-7164

Roberta Cilio, MD, PhD – UCSF Neurology Department
505 Parnassus Ave, Moffitt
San Francisco CA 94143
Phone415-514-8415
Fax: 415-502-5821
Emailmaria.cilio@ucsf.edu

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