After a large rally in December 2014, composed of parents of children with epilepsy and advocates alike, demanded that the Brazilian Government legalize medical marijuana, the country’s Health Surveillance Agency announced plans to address the topic in January 2015.
Although whole plant medical marijuana was not legalized, the Brazilian Government has announced that cannabidiol (CBD) oil has been rescheduled. Cannabidiol is one of the non-psychoactive cannabinoids found in marijuana. The cannabinoid concentrate is no longer illegal in the largest country in South America. It is now considered to be a controlled substance, and patients found in possession of it no longer need to fear prosecution.
This all came about after a decision made by the Federal Medical Council in early December, which allowed neurologists and psychiatrists to recommend cannabidiol oil to treat children and teens suffering from epilepsy. This authorization came with the stipulation that a patient must have been unsuccessfully treated with conventional pharmaceuticals before a medical marijuana recommendation can be issued.
Currently, those seeking cannabis therapy in Brazil obtain their medicine illegally through a secret society of cultivators who make the cannabidiol oil, and then donate it to patients. One mother described it to the Associate Press as a “band of kind, care-giving outlaws who will not even allow for patients to cover the cost of shipping.” Until now, there was still fear of facing charges for possessing the substance even though it is easily obtained.
Although nothing has been approved to allow for the cannabinoid concentrate to be produced within the country, legislation is being drafted that will allow it to be imported, and at least patients found in possession of the cannabinoid oil no longer risk prosecution.
The Chilean Government just authorized it’s second cannabis cultivation project at the beginning of January. This marijuana program aims to research and potentially establish the first national and international sales market for cannabis, so perhaps Brazilians will be able to import Chilean cannabidiol oil in the near future.