Medical pot activists fear epilepsy drug could undercut them

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An experimental epilepsy drug made from cannabis plants grown in England is complicating the medical marijuana debate in hospitals and statehouses.

Epidiolex (eh'-pih-DYE'-uh-lehx) is a nearly pure extract of cannabidiol, or CBD, with little of the tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, that gets users high.

CBD products are the current rage in medical marijuana movement, and activists fear Food and Drug Administration approval of Epidiolex could undercut their political momentum and access to the whole plant.

Anup Patel, a pediatric neurologist at Columbus' Nationwide Children's Hospital, insists Epidiolex contains the optimal known marijuana compound for treating seizures. It will be submitted for FDA approval later this year.

So far, the FDA has not found any botanical form of marijuana to be safe or effective to treat any disease or condition.