NPR, June 25, 2018
Allison Aubrey

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a marijuana-derived drug for the treatment of two rare and serious forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, that begin in childhood but can persist in adulthood.

The drug is made from purified cannabidiol, or CBD, a compound found in the cannabis plant. The drug will be marketed under the brand name Epidiolex.

CBD has medicinal effects, but it does not cause the mind-altering high that comes from THC, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana.

The FDA says this is the first drug approved in the U.S. that contains a purified substance derived from marijuana. The agency has previously approved drugs made from synthetic versions of THC and other marijuana constituents.

"This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies," said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb during a call with reporters about the approval. [...]

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