Governor signs Assemblymember Jim Wood’s AB 710 allowing FDA-approved cannabinoid medications to be prescribed

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

SACRAMENTO–On June 25, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued approval of a new drug, Epidiolex, to treat seizures associated with two severe childhood-onset epilepsies, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome. Epidiolex is the first prescription, plant-derived cannabinoid (CBD) in the category of anti-epileptic drugs and has been approved to treat children two years of age or older.

“That was great news but we discovered a problem that would have prohibited patients from receiving it,” said Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa). “Prior to this bill, any product that contained CBD was considered a Schedule I Controlled Substance under California statute, and because of that doctors wouldn’t be allowed to prescribe it, but AB 710 fixes that.”

The bill treats Epidiolex, as well as any newly approved prescription medication that contains CBD, and is controlled under a federal rule, like any other pharmaceutical medication. As a result of AB 710 becoming law, California will adopt the scheduling of the federal government allowing prescriptions to be written.

“Approximately 1 in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment option and about one million people live with uncontrolled or intractable seizures,” said Wood. “Most patients with these severe forms of epilepsy need multiple medications and a majority of them are resistant to currently available medications,” said Wood, “so I am pleased that these patients will now have access to a medication that can help and improve their quality of life.”

Epidiolex must be rescheduled from its Schedule I category before it can become available to patients. That is expected to happen within a 90-day period.

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