Epidiolex will be used to treat two rare but severe types of childhood epilepsy.


The US authorities approved on Monday the first drug derived from marijuana for sale in the country, Epidiolex, which will be used to treat two rare but severe types of childhood epilepsy.

Epidiolex uses purified cannabidiol, or CBD, which is one of more than 80 active components of the cannabis plant. (Also read: The cultivation of medicinal cannabis)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug prepared by the multinational GW Pharmaceuticals.

The cherry-flavored syrup is a purified state of a substance from the cannabis plant, but does not include THC, the hallucinogenic ingredient that alters the sensations of those who smoke marijuana. (You may also be interested: Colombia may have 10% of world exports of medicinal cannabis)

 The pharmaceutical company tested the remedy in more than 500 patients with epileptic seizures that resisted other treatments, and obtained positive results.

"This is an important medical breakthrough," said Commissioner Scott Gottlieb of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"But it is also important to note that this is not an approval of marijuana or all of its components, it is the approval of a specific CBD drug for a specific use," he added.

The FDA had already approved synthetic versions of other cannabis ingredients for medicinal use, including to treat weight loss suffered by patients with HIV.

The drug is approved for use against Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome in patients two or more years of age, the FDA says.

Both types of epilepsy cause severe seizures.