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New Marijuana-Based Epilepsy Drug Has Cincinnati Connection

Courtesy University of Cincinnati
University of Cincinnati's Dr. Michael Privatera was part of the team conducting clinical trials on the epilepsy drug that uses pharmaceutical-grade CBD.

A marijuana-derived drug the U.S. Food and Drug Administration just approved has connections to Cincinnati.

Epidiolex is the first drug containing purified cannabidiol, or CBD, to receive FDA approval. The University of Cincinnati participated in the drug's clinical trials.

Neurologist Michael Privatera, M.D., says Epidiolex treats two severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

He says CBD does not contain THC -- which is responsible for the psychoactive components of marijuana -- and was found to have no potential for abuse.

"It will now go to [the] DEA for scheduling and will probably be available in pharmacies by the end of this year, 2018," he says. 

Privatera calls this a game-changer because a new Drug Enforcement Administration rating will open CBD up for testing in other drugs for other medical conditions.

"We have annecdotal data suggesting trials are needed in things like anxiety or PTSD or chronic pain, things like that," he says. "The fact that this drug will be de-scheduled or down-scheduled makes a big difference in research in all different areas."