French health authorities have approved the sale and marketing of a cannabis-based medicine for the very first time.
The approval of Sativex, a drug derived from cannabis used to treat multiple sclerosis, was announced on Wednesday, reports The Associated Press. The country’s Health Ministry expects sales of Sativex to begin in 2015.
Sativex is manufactured by British company GW Pharmaceuticals and has already been approved in 23 other countries, most recently Switzerland.
The drug contains a standardized 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC, along with other cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis. Besides treating multiple sclerosis, it is also being trialed in the UK for the treatment of aggressive brain cancer and in the U.S. for cancer-related pain.
Despite the drug’s similarity to medical marijuana, France has yet to recognize cannabis itself as a medicine.
On the other hand, Dronabinol, a pill containing synthetic THC, is legally available for the treatment of chronic pain, reports TIME. The drug is currently being used by approximately 100 patients in France.