By Steve Elliott
Brazil will soon study the possibility of legalizing the use of cannabidiol (CBD), a marijuana derivative, to treat people suffering from severe seizures.
The country's Health Surveillance Agency, ANVISA, announced that the "reclassification" of the cannabinoid CBD -- which is illegal in Brazil -- will be discussed starting next month, reports the Associated Press.
The statement came on Friday, one day after about 40 people protested in the capital city of Brasilia to demand the legalization of CBD.
Some Brazilians resort to an underground network of illegal cannabis farmers in Rio de Janeiro that extract the CBD and donate it. That network supplies Margaret de Brito with the oil she gives her five-year-old daughter Sofia, who was born with a genetic mutation that causes seizures.
"They won't even let you pay the shipping," Brito said of the clandestine growers' group.
Her daughter's seizures have decreased dramatically since starting the treatment more than a year ago, and she's been able to stop taking another medication that made her drowsy, Brito said.
The Federal Medical Council, which regulates the medical profession in Brazil, earlier this month authorized neurologists and psychiatrists to prescribe CBD to treat epileptic children and teenagers who don't respond to conventional pharmaceuticals. (You'd think a non-toxic alternative would be the first line of treatment, not the last resort!)