Chile har­vests first med­i­cal mar­i­juana crop with a goal of treat­ing pa­tients of can­cer

The China Post - - LIFE -

Work­ers in Chile be­gan har­vest­ing the coun­try’s first med­i­cal mar­i­juana crop Tues­day, break­ing new ground in can­cer treat­ment in a na­tion where cannabis is outlawed as a hard drug.

With the bless­ing of lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, the Daya Foun­da­tion, a char­i­ta­ble group, be­gan har­vest­ing some 400 plants sown last Oc­to­ber un­der a spe­cial per­mit to ex­tract cannabis oil to be given free of charge to 200 can­cer pa­tients as pain treat­ment.

The plants were sown in a small field mea­sur­ing about 100 square me­ters (1,100 square feet) in La Florida, an af­flu­ent dis­trict of the cap­i­tal San­ti­ago.

They were taken to a heav­ily guarded en­clo­sure af­ter the har­vest, and will be dried and sent to a labo- ra­tory for pro­cess­ing.

The first doses are ex­pected to be sent to doc­tors in Jan­uary 2016.

“This is about the dig­nity of pa­tients who are dy­ing ev­ery day in pain and with very ex­pen­sive med­i­cal bills,” said Rodolfo Carter, the mayor of La Florida, at a cer­e­mony mark­ing the har­vest.

Cecilia Hey­der, a 47-year-old woman with lu­pus and breast can­cer, said she has been ar­rested sev­eral times for us­ing mar­i­juana to ease her pain.

“I’m not a crim­i­nal or a drug traf­ficker. I didn’t ask to get sick,” she told AFP.

She wel­comed the project to give pa­tients like her legal ac­cess to the drug, which she says spared her from un­bear­able pain.

“I don’t have to use a wheel­chair any- more. It changed my qual­ity of life. I’m not go­ing to get bet­ter, but I’m not in pain,” she said.

The har­vest came as Chile’s Congress de­bated a bill that would le­gal­ize the cul­ti­va­tion of up to six cannabis plants for pri­vate recre­ational or medic­i­nal use.

Ap­proved Mon­day by the con­gres­sional health com­mit­tee, the bill would take mar­i­juana off the list of hard drugs in the so­cially con­ser­va­tive coun­try and make it a soft drug like al­co­hol.

But it would main­tain the ban on us­ing mar­i­juana in public and limit the amount a per­son can pos­sess to 10 grams.

Cur­rently, Chileans are al­lowed to con­sume mar­i­juana in pri­vate, but it is il­le­gal to sell or grow the drug.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.