Two Cannabis Based Drugs Approved for Use in England

November 13, 2019 16:00:10

As the American hemp industry adjusts to the USDA’s interim rule on hemp, people in the UK are also celebrating the approval of two cannabis-based medicines by the National Health Service (NHS). Both of the drugs were developed in the UK using homegrown hemp.

The first drug, Epidiolex, is a brand name prescription drug used to treat two rare and hard to manage forms of epilepsy. Doctors will now be able to prescribe the medication to children with Lennox Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, both of which can cause multiple seizures in a day. It is estimated that there are 5,000 people with Lennox Gastaut syndrome and 3,000 people with Dravet syndrome in England.

Although the drug was approved for use in Europe in September, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) initially said it wasn’t value for money. Each patient will have to fork out between £5,000 and £10,000 ($6425.5-12851) for the medication per year, but the manufacturer GW Pharmaceuticals has agreed to a lower discounted price with the NHS. The guidance from NICE should also apply in Wales and Ireland. Scotland may follow next year.

The other drug is Sativex, and unlike Epidiolex that only contains cannabidiol (CBD), it contains a mix of both CBD and THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol). The mouth spray has been approved as a treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS), specifically, muscle stiffness and spasms common to the condition. Although MS is often characterized by pain, doctors will not be allowed to prescribe the medication for pain relief. It costs patients £2,000 ($2570) per year. Sativex was the first cannabis-based medicine to be licensed in the UK after clinical trials, and it has been available in Wales on the NHS since 2014.

The reaction to the news has been positive. Prof Helen Cross, a consultant in pediatric neurology at Great Ormond Street Hospital, who led the UK trials of Epidiolex, said that “Dravet and Lennox Gastaut syndromes are both complex epilepsies with limited treatment options available, and this news could make a difference to care.”

According to Galia Wilson, chairwoman of Dravet Syndrome UK, many families were interested in the potential of cannabis-based medicines, particularly cannabidiol. She adds that they are thrilled that one is now available on the NHS.

Vaughan Getting, Health Minister for Wales, said, “I’m pleased that Epidiolex will be made available in Wales via our New Treatment Fund, which means it will be available in no more than 60 days.”

Industry watchers see these developments in the UK as good for all CBD industry players, including The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX.V: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) and Sugarmade Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD), since the therapeutic attributes of CBD will be known to more people across the world.

About CBDWire

CBDWire (CBDW) is a specialized information provider focused on (1) reporting CBD-related news and updates, (2) releasing CBDNewsBreaks crafted to keep investors abreast of the latest and greatest in the CBD market, (3) refining and enhancing corporate press releases, (4) delivering end-to-end distribution and social media services to client-partners and (5) constructing effective corporate communication solutions based on the unique requirements of CBD companies. CBDW is exclusively positioned in the burgeoning CBD sector with a proven team of journalists and researchers working to deliver high quality content to an expansive target audience of investors, consumers and industry news outlets. Our dissemination network of over 5,000 downstream distribution points allows us to deliver unparalleled reach, visibility and recognition to companies operating in both cannabidiol and the wider cannabis space. CBDWire (CBDW) is where CBD news, content and information converge.

To receive instant SMS alerts, text CBDWire to 21000 (U.S. Mobile Phones Only)

For more information please visit

Please see full terms of use and disclaimers on the CBDWire website applicable to all content provided by CBDW, wherever published or re-published:

Do you have a questions or are you interested in working with CNW? Ask Our Editor

Denver, Colorado
303.498.7722 Office

CBDWire is part of the InvestorBrandNetwork.