For the very first time a prescription drug made with marijuana will be available in Kansas. The FDA approved Epidiolex nationwide to treat certain types of epilepsy.
It’s a strawberry flavored syrup and it looks like any normal prescription drug. But for some Topeka families, it’s a big deal.
JJ Krentz has Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that brings on frequent seizures. JJ’s mom Tiffanie says that means he’s using a lot of different drugs.
“A whole laundry list. I think I’ve counted it up and we’ve trialed 23 different epilepsy medications over the years,” Krentz said.
But none of those medications has been entirely effective for JJ. This new drug does not have enough THC to get users high. But the CBD oil has the potential to help people like JJ and it was approved by state lawmakers last year. Alexandra Blasi works for the Kansas State Board of Pharmacy.
“We did that sort of proactive scheduling in this case to make sure that as soon as it’s available patients will be able to take advantage of that and get that important medication that can change their life,” Blasi said.
Tiffanie says this is only a first step.
“As a community we’re super thrilled that the FDA has finally recognized that there are medicinal true benefits to cannabis,” Krentz said. “We’re concerned that everybody might say that’s good enough and not continue research and studying whole plant options.”
The Krentz family is realistic about the drug, and the impact it could have for JJ.
“Do i think it’s going to be the miracle drug for our son? Probably not at this point the way it is,” Krentz said, “However there is a lot of enthusiasm about the fact that the FDA can now say it supports a whole plant medicine. I do feel that a lot of families are going to benefit.”
Epidiolex is not available just yet. It’s being moved from the trial phase to the production phase. There’s no exact timeline on when the new drug will be sold in Kansas.