Pubdate: Thu, 31 Oct 2013
Source: Montgomery County Sentinel (Rockville, MD)
Copyright: 2013 Montgomery Sentinel Publishing, Inc
Author: Bonnie Katz


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved clinical trials of 
a cannabis-based drug and its effects on epilepsy. The treatment, 
Epidiolex, is 98 percent purified cannabidiol (CBD) made by GW 
Pharmaceuticals based out of the U.K.

There are around 60 known chemicals contained in cannabis called 
cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, is the main 
component responsible for the drug's psychoactive nature. CBD, 
however, is the second most abundant cannabinoid in the cannabis and 
provides medicinal benefits without the "high." Epidiolex will come 
in a viscous liquid form to be dispensed from syringes. A 25 
milligram per meter or 100 milligram per meter will be the two 
strengths made available to those in the trials.

The FDA has approved of intermediate-sized clinical trials sponsored 
by two doctors. Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a professor in the Department of 
Neurology, Neuroscience and Psychiatry in the New York University 
School of Medicine and director of the NYU Comprehensive Epilepsy 
Center, and Dr. Roberta Cilio, a pediatric neurologist at the 
University of California, San Francisco, are set to follow 25 
patients using Epidiolex as treatment for pediatric epilepsy.

On Oct. 4, at the NYU Langone Medical Center, Devinsky led a 
conference entitled, "Cannabidiols: Potential Use in Epilepsy & Other 
Neurological Disorders." During the affair, Devinsky and Cilio led a 
presentation on planned trials on CBD in children with treatment 
resistant epilepsy.

The D.C. - based Marijuana Policy Project's Communications Director 
Mason Tvert responded to the news of the approved trials. "We've long 
known that marijuana has a variety of medical benefits," Tvert said. 
Tvert added that the federal government clearly recognizes 
marijuana's medicinal benefits and it's a shame they hindered most 
research of it.

Maryland's new marijuana law came into effect on Oct. 1, but its 
miniscule scope won't have much effect. It deals with a small number 
of patients that would enroll in state-approved clinical studies. 
However, with no hospitals signed up to hold these studies, no 
visible changes are set to occur in the near future.

Now the country will wait and see if CBD can live up to the hype, and 
if the epileptic patients can find any relief from their disease.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom