Epilepsy Drug Made From Marijuana Plant Gets Backing From FDA Staff

An experimental medication that could become the first drug derived from a marijuana plant approved in the U.S. received a boost from Food and Drug Administration staff.

The treatment’s maker, U.K. company GW Pharmaceuticals Plc, provided “substantial evidence” of the drug’s effectiveness, FDA staff said in a report released Tuesday. The medication would treat seizures associated with two rare forms of epilepsy that typically affect children, according to the report. Although the medication appears to have an increased risk of liver injury, it could be managed, the report said.

“The risk-benefit profile established by the data in the application appears to support approval of cannabidiol,” FDA staff wrote.

GW Pharma’s American depositary receipts rose 4.5 percent to $126 in early trading in New York.

Later this week, a meeting of outside agency advisers will weigh in on the treatment.

The drug is made from a compound in the marijuana plant called cannabidiol, a different chemical

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