News First lab-synthesized CBD isolate developed in UK, approved by US FDA for epilepsy treatment

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FDA approves first drug comprised of an active ingredient derived from marijuana to treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy

I've been watching this one for awhile, and just lost track of it.

GW Pharmaceuticals was able to successfully synthesize CBD - the non-psychoactive compound in marijuana. It was a huge breakthrough in chemistry, as it simply hadn't been done successfully. All prior attempts at duplicating either CBD or THC in a lab resulted in things that were sort-of-but-not-the-same-as the real thing, and their efficacy rates clearly showed it.

This CBD, brand name Epidolex, is different. It was developed directly from CBD and, from all I've read, it behaves exactly as CBD does.

Why is this such a big deal?

When you obtain any CBD compound on the market right now, there is
No regulation - meaning, it could consist of anything, really. There's very little oversight involved in 'supplements', it's just up to the company that's selling them, to guarantee their product.
No absolute consistency - we're talking about extracting an active compound from a plant that is constantly changing it's bioavailability, even (especially, actually) after the plant is harvested.
No such thing as pure, isolated CBD.

That last one is the biggie, in my book. The CBD product you purchase will have some (small) amount of THC present. There isn't an extraction process currently available that will completely isolate the CBD from the THC.

Epidiolex is pure cannabidinol, with no THC and with absolute dosing consistency.

If you're in the UK, it's been around for a bit. In the US, it's expected to be available in the fall. (I'm sorry, I don't know other regions).

It's prescribed as a med for a specific kind of epilepsy. Many drugs for epilepsy are already used as psych meds, some approved, and some off-label. I suspect Epidiolex will eventually go in that direction, for all the various applications that CBD is useful for (not just psychiatry)

This article from The Verge is a good piece, it outlines some bigger questions around the future of cannabis and its drug classification in the US.
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