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GRACIELA ELIZALDE BENAVIDES

The first Mexican patient to
use medical cannabis legally.

Graciela Elizalde Benavides, whom we affectionately call Grace, is currently 14 years old and was born in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico. Since she was little, she was diagnosed with a rare and serious form of childhood epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS). She had up to 400 seizures a day and they were likely to persist as an adult.

LGS patients suffer from moderate to severe cognitive impairment

Treatment options were limited and we explored them all. Grace had seen many doctors and tried many medications to control her epilepsy, but none of them succeeded in reducing her seizures.

Doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Mexico performed a callosotomy, a surgery that consists of cutting three-quarters of the corpus callosum of the brain, with the aim of controlling generalized seizures. Unfortunately, we did not see the results we expected: Grace did not improve and even increased the intensity of her seizures.

We want Grace to live better, so we continued to seek more treatments. We found that in the United States, Canada, Spain, Uruguay, and Brazil, many children with this disease had been treated with Cannabidiol (CBD), an oil derived from the cannabis plant, which has no psychoactive effects. In various studies, more than 84% of the patients had seen noticeable improvements and the negative side effects had been zero, unlike the medications that Grace had been prescribed so far

THE ANECDOTIC EVIDENCE IS PROMINENT;

Many families in Mexico are speaking about the improvements in the quality of life of their children thanks to cannabidiol. While these stories are both hopeful and promising, we know that more research is needed to secure this treatment option. That is why The Por Grace Foundation asks the Mexican authorities to allow medical research regarding cannabis and cannabinoids.

Grace is not alone

In Mexico there are hundreds of people with illnesses and diseases who, like Graciela, see their right to health obstructed by the morality of health authorities. To change this, these cases need to be made visible. If you know of other cases like Grace’s, or others that have seen their access to CBD obstructed, get in touch with us.

MOMENTS IN THE LIFE OF GRACE

Grace’s story in
Photographs