An 8 year old girl will soon become the first person to legally use a medical cannabinoid medication in Mexico since the plant was declared illegal 90 years ago, following the International Opium Convention.
Grace Elizalde Benavides (photo below) suffers from a severe form of childhood epilepsy, known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, which causes her to suffer upwards of 400 seizures per day. Since the seizures started, Mayela, Grace’s mother reports that she has only gone backwards in development, and has an extremely poor quality of life.
The physicians treating Grace’s condition have prescribed every pharmaceutical medication on the market, and even performed a brain surgery on the young girl. Grace’s parents report that the holistic therapies they’ve tried have also been unsuccessful. Nothing so far has yielded positive results, and the Elizalde’s feel that medical marijuana is their last hope.
Cannabis, in all forms, is illegal in Mexico, so Grace’s parents have sought permission from the federal government to import cannabidiol oil. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis that has gained national media attention for its success in reducing the frequency and severity of symptoms in those suffering from epilepsy.
The federal government denied the Elizalde’s initial request for permission to import CBD oil, but an appeal to federal judge Martín Adolfo Santos Pérez earned them permission. The Mexican constitution provides citizens with the right to protect their health, so judge Pérez approved the family’s request on the grounds that they are protecting the health of their daughter.
While the Mexican government is not authorizing the importation of “marijuana in any of its forms,” the health ministry will permit them to import Epidiolex, a cannabinoid therapy medication produced by GW Pharmaceuticals of the United Kingdom. Epidiolex is a purified cannabis extract containing only the cannabinoid, Cannabidiol (CBD). It does not contain any amount of the psychoactive cannabinoid, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Relieved after receiving the good news, Grace’s father, Raul Elizalde told AFP,
“We are happy. It’s our last hope.”
“We want to reduce the number of convulsions from 400 per day to none. We hope that she could become more independent, that she could walk and speak and eat on her own.”
Raul met with Mikel Arriola, head of the Commission for Protection Against Sanitary Risk, on Tuesday. Arriola will facilitate administrative assistance necessary to import Epidiolex from either Norway or the United States.