Japanese officials have approved the CBD brand Epidiolex, marking the first time such products have been approved by the Japanese government.
The trials, to be tightly controlled in a hospital environment, are exempt from Japan’s Cannabis Control Act, which bans cannabis compounds generally.
Japan is tough on cannabis. Attitudes towards CBD and hemp oil however have really softened. In 2015 First Lady Akie Abe expressed a love for hemp oil saying she would love to farm some of her own if permitted. “While it is not yet permitted in Japan”, she went on to talk about her love of all things holistic. First Lady Akie Abe is known for embracing progressive causes.
Not long after Abe’s endorsement, Elixonal an Australian company, began selling CBD oils in Japan.
“Japan has a very strong cultural connection with hemp, and its use by our people dates back to ancient times,” said Elixinol Japan CEO Makoto Matsumaru.
“Japan has the third largest consumer economy in the world, and the audience is both sophisticated and health conscious,” said Paul Benheim, CEO of Elixinol Global Limited.
The Asian market looks primed and ready for CBD products. The approval of Epidiolex for clinical trials is seen as a landmark event in Japan, as the Land of the Rising Sun looks set to embrace the emergence of CBD.
Epidiolex, manufactured by UK-based GW Pharmaceutical, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year.
Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare officials recently announced the trials during a meeting of the Okinawa-Northern Task Force, a research and development agency.
Epidiolex is the first cannabis-derived prescription drug to gain federal approval in the United States.
This development shows a newfound openness in a country that has been stubborn to social progress.