The First Marijuana Prescription Drug

The First Marijuana Prescription Drug

It is a shame that it took this long for the medicinal benefits of marijuana to make it to the mainstream as well as conventional medicine. For years many people could have benefitted from it’s calming, pain relieving, appetite enhancing effects when applied to so many afflictions conventional medicine failed to successfully manage.

Yet, the government needed to keep their agents employed after prohibition was lifted so marijuana became the next target, registered as a schedule one drug right up there with heroin and cocaine.

However, politics aside, marijuana is finally being given it’s medical light of day. It now goes beyond the stigma attached to it simply being a recreational high linked to hippies, The Grateful Dead and harder drugs sought as a result of its use.

In addition to public medicinal and/or recreational worth now legalized in over 20 states, now the New York Times has reported of the possibility of the first marijuana prescription drug.

It looks like the many acres Big Pharma has set aside for marijuana cultivation just for this day may pay off.

Easing Epilepsy 

About 30% of 500,000 children and young adults are challenged by epileptic seizures as a result of a rare disease called Dravet syndrome which conventional medicine cannot successfully treat.

Marijuana has been linked to easing epileptic events for many years. Since it has become medicinally legal in certain states, some families afflicted by Dravet syndrome (and other related epileptic symptoms) are relocating to these legalized states for treatment.

Now, a company called GW Pharmaceuticals has found a way to extract a compound called cannabidiol from marijuana and produce it in a pharmaceutical form.

The formula, called Epidiolex, does not contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) the chemical responsible for it’s psychological effects. Instead, its high cannabidiol levels have been showing significantly positive results in preliminary studies with a 39% seizure decline in users.

Lead researcher of the study of Epidiolex, Dr. Orrin Devinsky of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at New York University Langone Medical Center, commented in the NY Times,

“I’m very proud and happy about this study because it is science — we did things the way they should be done,…I would strongly advocate that in the United States we need to do systematic assessments of medical marijuana.”

Charlotte’s Web

For several years now, another formula called Charlotte’s Web has is being used for epilepsy in medical marijuana legal states.

According to Leafly,

“Charlotte’s Web is a Cannabis sativa L. strain with less than 0.3% THC that has gained popularity as an option for treating seizures as well as a range of other medical conditions. This medical potency is due to its high-CBD content, which was specifically cultivated by Colorado breeders The Stanley Brothers for a young epileptic patient named Charlotte.”

Successful anti-seizure reports of children taking Charlotte’s Web in oil or capsule form have been staggering. Some children taking this therapy are 99.9% seizure-free with minimal, if any, side effects.

Pharma Choice vs Natural Choice

With this new prescription drug potentially coming to market, many families are fearful about using it. Epidiolex still has some hurdles that cannot yet compete with Charlotte’s Web, namely side effects that include drowsiness, diarrhea, decreased appetite, fatigue, fever, vomiting and upper respiratory infection.

It is interesting to watch Big Pharma attempt to take the lightning out of the bottle and try to put it into their own. Yet, GW’s stock soared 130% after the news of the success of preliminary trials. In fact, the company is going to attempt to ask the FDA to take these trials as GW’s only merit in bringing Epidiolex to market.

It’s a shifty game in the world of pharmaceuticals vs natural remedies which has been in flux for decades. In the end, it is often the original formula that wins out but only if it can survive the many attempted modifications forced upon it.

The first marijuana prescription drug will be one of many to come. Yet, the question is how many manifestations for how many ailments will be invented from a plant that may very well need no tampering whatsoever?

In the meantime, many will continue to rely on the proven track record of Charlotte’s Web and the many other marijuana strains that have been helping people with serious disorders for years.