This article originally appeared in the Colombian edition of VICE Magazine.
In 1980, a team of investigators from the Sao Paulo Medicine Faculty of Santa Casa published a study that should have changed the lives of 50 million epilepsy sufferers around the world—but never did.
The findings of the investigation, carried out alongside the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, were, at the very least, encouraging. Researchers administered daily doses of 300 milligrams of cannabidiol, the most important non-psychoactive component in marijuana, to a group of eight epileptic patients. Four months into the treatment, four of them stopped having seizures and three others saw the frequency of their seizures decrease.
"Who cared about our findings? No one!" says Raphael Mechoulam, frowning from his sofa. "And that's despite many of the epilepsy patients being kids who have 20, 30, 40 seizures a day. And what did they do? Nothing! For 30 years, no one has used cannabis to treat epilepsy."
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