(Reuters) – U.S.-listed shares of GW Pharmaceuticals rose 8 percent on Thursday as its marijuana-based treatment Epidiolex cleared the last hurdle after the Drug Enforcement Administration labeled the drug as having a low abuse potential.
The company said it would bring the drug to the market within the next six weeks.
The DEA gave Epidiolex a “Schedule V” classification, the lowest of the five schedules into which controlled substances are categorized, marking the drug as a chemical with medicinal properties and a low potential for abuse.
Marijuana, from which Epidiolex is derived, is classified as a Schedule I substance. “We know there is excitement for a standardized version of cannabidiol that has undergone the rigor of controlled clinical trials and been approved by the FDA,” Chief Executive Officer Justin Gover said.
In June, the U.S. Food And Drug Administration approved Epidiolex to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy, potentially driving more research into cannabis-derived medicines.
Epidiolex is made up of cannabidiol (CBD), one of the hundreds of molecules found in the marijuana plant, and contains less than 0.1 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component that makes people high.
The firm grows its own supply of cannabis in specialized glass houses in the United Kingdom to ensure uniformity in the genetic composition of the plants, which are then processed into a liquid solution of CBD.
(Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)