GW Pharmaceuticals, a British drug maker formed in 1998 specifically to “capitalize on the medical benefits of cannabis,” is doing just that, following more successful tests of its cannabis-derived epilepsy drug, according to Reuters.
Cannabis-based Epidiolex has now successfully treated children with severe epilepsy in three stages of clinical trials. That’s propelled things forward quickly enough for the company to announce plans to try to market the drug in the United States, a process it could start next year, Reuters reported.
Epidiolex, which was first given to children at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco, is derived from cannabidiol, or CBD. One of the cannabis plant’s many hundreds of cannabinoids, CBD does not give users the same psychoactivity as THC — which is one reason why lawmakers in even red states are passing laws allowing access to CBD and CBD-derived products, though no FDA-approved pharmaceuticals are yet available.
GW Pharmaceuticals already produces and markets a cannabis-derived drug — called Sativex — in 20 countries, but not in the U.S. Sativex is a sublingual spray that’s had success in treating sufferers of multiple sclerosis.
If the Food and Drug Administration approves Epidiolex, it would become the “first U.S.-approved prescription to be extracted from cannabis,” Reuters reported — a huge deal that’s already started the markets moving.
Shares in GW Pharmaceuticals jumped nearly 25 percent on the news, trading at more than $126 per share on Monday, up from $107 on Friday — and way, way up from $36 a share, where the stock was trading in March.
While we’re still waiting on the plant to become a government-approved cure, cannabis is already making people very, very rich.
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