GW Pharma CEO on new cannabis drug Epidiolex launch in United States


Knowing the difference between real, federally-approved medicine and alternative treatments is key when it comes to cannabis, says GW Pharmaceuticals CEO Justin Gover, whose company’s cannabis-based epilepsy treatment launched Thursday in the United States.

“We think it’s’ really important to distinguish between what is medicine and what is not,” Gover told CNBC’s Jim Cramer in an interview, responding to a question about whether Canadian marijuana producers should label themselves as “medical” marijuana companies.

“[The Food and Drug Administration] make[s] that determination, and where there are products that don’t meet FDA standards and have not been approved by [the] FDA, we don’t believe that they should be appropriately termed as medications,” Gover said on “Mad Money.”

Epidiolex, the drug GW pharma launched in the U.S. on Thursday, uses molecules from the cannabis plant called cananbinoids to reduce seizures in two forms of childhood epilepsy.

Gover said that his global pharmaceutical company’s commitment to “real science” helped get Epidiolex re-classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration to the lowest level of controlled substance in late September.

“What this reflects is an understanding within the DEA and FDA and other circles of federal government that when you do real science, you produce data that provides evidence of safety and efficacy, and you manufacture product in a consistent way where you know exactly what is in it day in, day out,” Gover said.

Now, physicians have a level of “assurance” that if they prescribe Epidiolex, they’re giving patients a federally-sanctioned, standardized form of medication, the CEO said.

“They know exactly what is in it, they understand the dosing, they understand its interactions, its safety profile and which patients to use it,” he told Cramer. “So we believe that the Epidiolex responds absolutely to that need and that our future products can similarly respond to needs in other parts of the medical community.”

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