The first FDA-approved prescription drug made from pure cannabis is expected to hit the market in the next couple months and, unless lawmakers act, Colorado may be the only state that can’t sell it.
The drug may be the only hope for some children with Epilepsy, like Vienne Weinert Wood. Her mom, Chris Wood, says they’ve tried seven drugs, a special diet, and pacemaker for the brain. Options are running out.
“They say once you’ve failed two drugs you’re at about a one percent chance of something else working so we need every option available to us,” said Wood.
A new drug called Epidiolex offers hope. It’s made of pure CBD – the non-psychotropic chemical in cannabis. But in Colorado, pharmacies can’t sell cannabis and dispensaries can’t sell FDA-approved drugs.
So Epidiolex – when approved – won’t be available here.
“Which would have meant these kids would not have access,” said Rep. Lois Landgraf, a Republican representing Colorado Springs.
She and Rep. Janet Buckner, a Democrat representing Aurora, are sponsoring a bill that would allow pharmacies to sell Epidiolex, and dispensaries to continue to sell other CBD-based products that some children with Epilepsy already use.
“Parents can still go to those dispensaries and get the product for their child. The other option now is that they can get a prescription from their doctor that a pharmacist can legally fill and this would be a regulated product.”
Wood says she hasn’t decided if Epidiolex is right for Vienne, but she wants the option of filling a prescription in Colorado, “The way it is right now in Colorado, I can get dog biscuits with CBD but I can’t get an FDA approved cannabis-based drug.”
Vienne isn’t giving up, “We want to get the Epilepsy away. I want to get it off myself. I want to go skiing again. I can’t ski anymore.”
Her mom wants that too, “She does have a shot at having a normal life if we can stop the seizures. This journey is not easy but she makes it a lot easier by being who she is.”
The FDA approved some synthetic cannabis treatments for nausea in cancer patients. But this would be the first drug made of pure cannabis. It’s also shown promise in treating Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and anxiety.