JUN 30, 2020 9:47 PM PDT

UK Loosens Regulation on Prescription CBD for Epilepsy

WRITTEN BY: Angela Dowden

Epidyolex—the epilepsy drug that contains the non-psychoactive cannabis chemical cannabidiol, or CBD—has been changed from a controlled drug to one that's available over the counter by the UK’s Home Office, signalling a big uptick in official confidence in the medicinal cannabis category.

It comes two months after a similar de-scheduling in the USA—in April 2020 the Drug Enforcement Agency announced that Epidiolex (the American and European spellings are different) was also no longer a controlled substance. US physicians can now prescribe the medicine free of the requirements of state prescription drug monitoring programs.

The UK regulatory relaxation of the drug is a particularly big deal given Epidyolex was only accelerated into the UK’s National Health Service late last year (recreational cannabis is illegal in the UK). The medication is licensed for the treatment of severe intractable forms of epilepsy such as Lennox Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

On appearing in Britain’s national formulary Epidyolex was a schedule 2 controlled drug, putting it in the same category as methadone and diamorphine (drugs that not only require a doctor’s prescription but also have strict record keeping and storage requirements). The announced change—to schedule 5—is game-changing as schedule 5 is the least strict category, for medications that don’t even require a prescription and can be bought over the counter in pharmacies.

The move appears symbolic—a tacit nod to CBD being safe. There are many CBD products on the UK being marketed as food supplements, but there has been an uneasy relationship with regulators who still clamp down heavily on any products found to contain more than a tiny percentage of the main psychoactive in cannabis, THC.

CEO of UK cannabinoid supplier Grow Pharma, Pierre van Weperen, believes the move to make Epydiolex schedule 5 is a move in the right direction but that the country’s regulators need to ease up on the THC ban for further progress. “The two most important regulations for the UK to be changed are the very strict limitations on importing THC or THC-containing products, which create issues around availability and cost for patients that could easily be resolved,” he told labiotech.eu. “The other issue is in terms of allowing the UK to export CBD- and THC-containing products. The UK could very well become a leader in European medicinal cannabis if these regulations were relaxed.”

Sources: Labiotech.eu, GW Pharmaceuticals, High Times

About the Author
BS hons
I'm a journalist and author with many year's experience of writing for both a consumer and professional audience, mostly on nutrition, health and medical prescribing. My background is food science and I'm a registered nutritionist.
You May Also Like
JUL 18, 2022
Neuroscience
Maternal Milk for Preterm Infants Linked to Better Academic Performance, Lower ADHD Risk
JUL 18, 2022
Maternal Milk for Preterm Infants Linked to Better Academic Performance, Lower ADHD Risk
Babies born preterm who are fed maternal milk have greater academic achievement, higher IQ’s, and a lower risk of ...
JUL 23, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Antibiotics Affect Gut Microbiome of Male and Female Rats Differently
JUL 23, 2022
Antibiotics Affect Gut Microbiome of Male and Female Rats Differently
Antibiotics induce sex-specific effects on the gut microbiome of male and female rats. The corresponding study was publi ...
JUL 26, 2022
Cardiology
Only 20% of Americans Have Optimal Heart Health
JUL 26, 2022
Only 20% of Americans Have Optimal Heart Health
According to the AHA's updated metrics, only 1 in 5 Americans has "high" cardiovascular health.
JUL 26, 2022
Microbiology
Child Hepatitis Cases Linked to Viral Co-Infection
JUL 26, 2022
Child Hepatitis Cases Linked to Viral Co-Infection
Between April 5 and May 26 of 2022, hundreds of cases of viral hepatitis in children were diagnosed in 33 countries, acc ...
JUL 28, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
FDA Approved Cannabis Drug Products
JUL 28, 2022
FDA Approved Cannabis Drug Products
The FDA has approved some cannabis infused drugs for medical usage. Here's what they are.
JUL 28, 2022
Technology
How Does Blue Light from Digital Screens Affect Us As We Age?
JUL 28, 2022
How Does Blue Light from Digital Screens Affect Us As We Age?
Digital screens are now ubiquitous in our society. Whether T.V.s, laptops, or phones, we engage with screens essentially ...
Loading Comments...