Updated 10:06 AM EST, Fri, Feb 26, 2021

Marijuana Legalization in South America: Support for Medicinal Cannabis Grows After Mexican Girl's Treatment Receives Positive Reviews

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An eight-year-old Mexican girl's positive reaction to cannabis-based medicine could pave a way for those seeking to break Mexico's prohibitionist laws against medical marijuana.

Grace, a child suffering from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, have as many as 400 epileptic fits per day, YourHealth reported from AFP. The girl's parents have witnessed improvements in Grace's condition since she became the first person to be authorized to take medical marijuana in October.

"Her reaction has been very good. Since she took the medicine, we noticed that she could sleep all night," her father, Raul Elizalde, said, as quoted in YourHealth's report. "Her nocturnal epileptic crises have practically disappeared and she's sleeping very well. This was the main change that we saw."

Grace and her family reside in an upper-class neighborhood of Monterrey's northern industrial hub, the news outlet noted. The child has become significant to those looking to legalize medical marijuana in Mexico, a country that has suffered decades of drug cartel violence.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto opposed the legalization of cannabis-based medicine despite the country's Supreme Court ruling in favor of four people who wanted to grow the plant for medicinal use. However, he noted that his administration is open to changes in the coming months depending on the results of a national debate of experts.

The girl's parents secured an exception to the country's laws after they won a court battle in August, pushing health authorities to grant them a right to obtain cannabidiol (CBD), a therapeutic oil, YourHealth added. Grace's mother, Mayela Benavides, said that CBD tastes like chocolate and mint, a contrast from all the other medicines they tried that tasted horrible.

According to YourHealth, the medicine, which costs $250 for 100 milliliters, is not a cure for Grace's condition but it helps in reducing the number and intensity of seizures that the child endures.

Mayela said that Grace's seizures she's "had in the mornings all her life are changing. They're less intense and less frequent. We're on the right path," the news outlet noted.

Doctors told Grace's parents that it would take two months before changes can really be noticed and that the dosage could be increased eventually, YourHealth further reported. Senator Cristina Diaz, a member of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), introduced a measure permitting imports and consumption of medical marijuana, which she claimed could help 5,000 Mexicans.

Diaz said that she's hopeful that the bill will be approved before 2016.

"We are only talking about imports of medicine, not eliminating the ban on making them in the national territory. But it's a first step," Diaz told AFP, as quoted by YourHealth. "For children like Grace and many other people, improving their quality of life is urgent."

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