Singapore allows first use of medical marijuana to treat girl with epilepsy

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Singapore has opened the door, in the tiniest possible way, to medical marijuana.

In the first known case of its kind, the notoriously anti-drug country has granted a young girl access to a CBD-based drug to treat her epilepsy. The decision required the approval of four separate government organizations, according to Mothership.

Singapore has some of the strictest cannabis laws in the world. Possession or consumption of the drug can result in up to 10 years in prison, a hefty fine and a caning. Attempts to smuggle the drug into or out of the country can be met with the death penalty.

But according to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the young patient had tried all available medications and nothing was helping her condition. Her doctor asked the country’s Health Sciences Authority — after submitting supporting evidence from clinical tests conducted elsewhere — to grant access to the drug, believed to be Epidiolex.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex — the first prescription drug made from marijuana — last year for the treatment of two rare forms of epilepsy in patients two years and older. The strawberry-flavoured syrup contains a purified form of CBD, a chemical in cannabis that offers medical benefits without the high typically associated with the drug.

The girl reportedly received access to the drug earlier this year, though it is unclear if it had the desired effect. It is hoped this case will help the approval process become more streamlined in the future to allow more patients access to the drug in Singapore without forcing residents to relocate to gain access to life-changing medication.

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