On Monday, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its first cannabis-derived drug. Epidiolex is a solution made with CBD isolate that will be used to treat two forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. These syndromes are rare, severe, and typically begin in early childhood.
GW Pharmaceuticals, the company that developed Epidiolex, expects the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to reschedule CBD within the next few months. In an interview with Leafly, Stephen Schultz, the company’s vice president of investor relations, elaborated on this.
The scheduling is Schedule I through Schedule V, and I think we believe that Epidiolex will be scheduled probably in the Schedule IV or Schedule V categories, which is similar to other antiseizure medicines, benzodiazepines, and products of that nature.
The FDA also granted orphan drug status for CBD to Revive Therapeutics this week. Through the orphan drug designation, the FDA provides financial and regulatory incentives for companies to develop drugs that target rare medical conditions. Revive Therapeutics is developing a CBD-based treatment for autoimmune hepatitis.
The 2018 Farm Bill passed in the US Senate on Thursday. This bill would strike hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, allowing farmers to grow industrial hemp—defined as cannabis with less than 0.03 percent THC by weight—in all 50 states. It would also specifically allow CBD extraction from hemp flowers.
In Oklahoma, a ballot measure passed on Tuesday will legalize medical marijuana in the state. While most states with medical marijuana laws only allow physicians to prescribe cannabis products for a narrow list of conditions, this measure grants Oklahoma doctors the freedom to recommend cannabis whenever they believe it’s appropriate.
According to the head of Oklahoma’s health agency, the state will be ready to begin processing applications for medical marijuana licenses, recipients, and dispensary growers within 60 days.
BIG3, Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 pro basketball league, will allow players to use CBD to manage pain as of this Wednesday.
CBD users in the state of Arizona weren’t as fortunate this week, though. The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that the state’s medical marijuana prohibit cannabis extracts like CBD. According to the ruling, all extracts or concentrates fall under the category of “hashish,” which is illegal under Arizona law.