The first FDA-approved Cannabis-based drug will be available across the US

Photo Credit: GW Pharma Ltd.

For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration has given approval for a cannabis-based medication that is available in all 50 states.

The drug, Epidiolex, is officially approved as a treatment for people with two types of epileptic syndromes: Dravet Syndrome, and Lennonx-Gastaut Syndrome. It was recommended for approval in April and approved by the FDA in June, but then the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Agency had to reclassify it before it could be legally prescribed.

Doctors are also allowed to prescribe Epidiolex for other conditions.

Dravet Syndrome is a rare genetic dysfunction of the brain that starts affecting patients in the first year of life. Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome is a form of epilepsy and symptoms usually start between the ages of three and five. Epidiolex is approved for patients age two and up.

GW Pharmaceuticals, which makes Epidiolex, says the average list price is $32,500 a year, but most insurance plans will cover the drug.

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