The amount of research that has been conducted on the efficacy and use of cannabis in the treatment of different forms of epilepsy and other seizure disorders far under-represents the public demand for such information. Although more research does need to be completed, cannabis therapy has proven to be quite successful in the treatment of many different forms of debilitating medical conditions, including childhood and adult forms of epilepsy.
It is the non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD), that has demonstrated the ability to lessen the frequency and severity of seizures in patients of all ages. Parents of children suffering from such conditions in the United States, South America and the rest of the world have organized many rallies to draw attention to the fact that medical marijuana should be available globally. In many cases, CBD oil has been the only treatment that has worked successfully for patients.
After a recent protest in South America’s largest country, the Brazilian government’s Health Surveillance Agency announced that legalizing medical marijuana will be discussed in January 2015. The small protest that sparked this response from the government was in support of legalizing CBD oil to treat epilepsy. This protest came after a decision made by the Federal Medical Council in early December, which approved neurologists and psychiatrists to recommend cannabidiol oil to treat children and teens suffering from epilepsy in Brazil. This authorization came with the stipulation that these patients must have been unsuccessfully treated with the more commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals. This change did not, however, come with any legislation to allow the production or distribution of such medication.
Most seeking cannabis therapy in Brazil obtain their medicine through a secret society of cultivators who make the cannabidiol oil, and then donate it to patients. According to one mom’s statement to the Associated Press, this band of kind, care-giving outlaws will not even allow for patients to cover the cost of shipping. All CBD oil is provided at no cost to the patient. Although these families of patients suffering from epilepsy are excited about the recent measure allowing doctors to prescribe CBD oil, they do not want to have to receive medicine illegally.
Several trials to study the efficacy of CBD in the treatment of epilepsy have just recently been approved in the United States, and the United Kingdom. If medical marijuana is legalized in Brazil, perhaps this will open doors to more medical studies and research on this subject in the future.
This post was originally published on December 22, 2014, it was updated on October 5, 2017.