The first Food and Drug Administration-approved drug containing an ingredient derived from the marijuana plant went on sale Thursday in the United States. Epidiolex is a twice-daily oral solution, cannabidiol, or CBD liquid made by Britain-based GW Pharmaceuticals.

Item is approved for use in patients two years old and older with two types of epileptic syndromes, Dravet syndrome, and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. "Because these patients have historically not responded well to available seizures," Justin Gover, CEO of GW Pharmaceuticals, said in a written statement.

The FDA approved Epidiolex in June. CBD is derived from the cannabis plant but it does not create any "high" in users. CBD oils and other CBD products have become popular across the United States in recent years, for the treatment of pain and other issues.

This was the first time the FDA approved such a product for any medicinal use, however. In a statement, agency Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said regulatory approval and oversight important to safeguard patients.

"Because of the adequate and well-controlled clinical studies that supported this approval, prescribers can have confidence in the drug's uniform strength and consistent delivery," he explained.

Low doses proved effective

CBD, Although oil has too trendy Become cure-all, treatment of epilepsy is the only use That has garnered significant scientific evidence supporting ITS usefulness. Epidiolex made headlines in May when a clinical trial found that even low doses of the drug could help patients with epilepsy.

In the trial, patients taking a 10-milligram (mg) daily dose of pharmaceutical-grade cannabidiol experienced a nearly as great a reduction in seizures as patients on 20 mg, and with fewer side effects, said the lead researcher of that study, Dr. Orrin Devinsky. He directs NYU Langone's Comprehensive Epilepsy Center in New York City.

This was the third clinical trial to show that Epidiolex is useful in treating two rare forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and Dravet syndrome, Devinsky said. GW Pharmaceuticals funded the clinical trial. It compared two different doses of Epidiolex head-to-head and against an inactive placebo, Devinsky said.

A total of 225 patients suffering from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome were divided into three groups. Those taking 20 mg of Epidiolex a day had 42% fewer seizures, on average, compared with 37% fewer seizures in the group 10 mg of the drug, and 17% reduction in the placebo group.