U.S. approves first marijuana plant-derived drug

An epilepsy treatment from GW Pharmaceuticals Plc on Monday secured an approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, becoming the first cannabis-based drug to be approved in the country.

The drug’s approval permits its use in patients aged two years and older with Dravet Syndrome (DS) and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS), rare childhood-onset forms of epilepsy that are among the most resistant to treatment.

The drug, Epidiolex, is derived from cannabidiol (CBD), one of the hundreds of molecules found in the marijuana plant, and contains less than 0.1 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component that makes people high.

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