The United States has approved, for the first time, a compound derived from marijuana to treat certain types of epilepsy. The ruling may spell good news for autism research.
The approval of Epidiolex, the new drug, will require a change in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s classification of marijuana compounds as Schedule 1 drugs — meaning they have no medical use and strong potential for abuse — to something more benign.
Epidiolex has been approved to alleviate seizures in two epilepsy syndromes: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has previously approved synthetic forms of marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, THC, to treat certain conditions. But this is the first federal approval of a product derived from the marijuana plant.
In the meantime, many parents have turned to dispensaries for marijuana to treat their autistic children, despite the lack of evidence.
[One] trial is looking at CBD’s effect on anxiety in autistic children with high intelligence quotients.
As these trials gear up, they raise big questions about what aspects of autism marijuana-derived compounds treat, and what dosage might be best.
For example, results from a preliminary Israeli study suggest that a 20-to-1 ratio of CBD to THC alleviates aggressive outbursts in autistic children.
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