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DEA relaxes rules for the only federally approved drug derived from marijuana


The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Monday made it easier for patients to access the only federally approved drug derived from marijuana.

GW Pharmaceuticals manufactures Epidiolex, a pharmaceutical intended to treat some very rare forms of childhood epilepsy. Epidiolex is a purified form of cannabidiol, or CBD, extracted from the marijuana plant.

On Monday, the DEA notified GW Pharmaceuticals that it no longer considers Epidiolex a controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substance Act. The change is effective immediately. The move means that Epidiolex is still a prescription medication but that doctors who prescribe it do not have to be in the DEA’s drug-monitoring program.

“This decision is a lightening bolt of sanity,” said Martin A. Lee, director of California-based Project CBD and author of Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana. “De-scheduling the drug will allow it to be prescribed off label.”

Epidiolex is an expensive drug. A year’s treatment can run up to $32,500 a patient without insurance. It remains the only CBD drug approved by the FDA.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Sam Wood on The Philadelphia Inquirer
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