One company has made it their mission over the past year to expand access to cannabinoid-based products to people across Latin America. Since summer of 2014, Medical Marijuana, Inc. has been the first company to have cannabis products approved for import and use in three separate countries, Brazil, Mexico, and Paraguay, and has shown that is eager to develop additional untapped markets for future development.
Mexico has recently added 22 new patients to its list of those approved to import Real Scientific Hemp Oil™, a form of cannabidiol (CBD) hemp oil sold by Medical Marijuana, Inc. that has shown beneficial effects in those with a number of conditions, including intractable epilepsy, that resist traditional treatments.
Of the 22 patients approved to import Real Scientific Hemp Oil™ or RSHO™, most are adolescents suffering from epilepsy. With little hope in expensive traditional treatments that have proven to be ineffective, the families of these patients have sought out RSHO™ after hearing about the results from other families with epileptic children in Mexico and abroad.
Medical cannabis in Mexico, a country of 120 million residents, represents a significant potential market, estimated to be worth up to $12 billion annually. As the country awaits a second vote on medical marijuana, Medical Marijuana, Inc. is pressing forward with efforts to expand access to their CBD hemp oil products, which provide many of the same benefits as medical cannabis, without the high of marijuana.
“With its more than 120 million residents, Mexico represents a potentially vast market for Medical Marijuana, Inc.,” the company’s CEO Dr. Stuart Titus said. “Our company’s goal is ‘access for all’ and we have already made great strides in Mexico to get our products to the people there suffering with debilitating medical conditions.”
However, medical cannabis wasn’t even a discussion in Latin America before the growth of the CBD hemp oil market.
The conversation started with Medical Marijuana, Inc.’s RSHO™ and a little girl in Brazil. Anny Fischer was born with a severe form of childhood epilepsy. Her mother, Katiele, desperate for a solution, heard about a family in Texas that had experienced previously unheard of success with CBD hemp oil for their daughter’s epilepsy. The mother of that family was Penny Howard, who had been giving her daughter Harper RSHO™ for years.
While the Fischer family fought for right to import RSHO™ to Brazil, Medical Marijuana, Inc. created HempMeds® Brasil to educate local health officials and lawmakers on the benefits of CBD hemp oil and help patients learn how to access RSHO™ for themselves. The Brazilian government has now extended the indications approved for RSHO™ to include epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and chronic pain and migraines.
When the discussion over RSHO™ next began in Mexico, Medical Marijuana, Inc. was on hand. The company participated in public forums and sponsored educational events. Through its local division, HempMeds® Mexico, they worked with government officials and partnered with local nonprofits like the Por Grace Foundation to spread awareness for CBD hemp oil. What started as a conversation quickly became a movement, and in April of 2016, President Peña Nieto announced that Mexico would take a radical new approach to cannabis regulation.
Even though President Peña Nieto’s cannabis reform legislation in Mexico has been stalled, patients already approved for CBD hemp oil in Mexico can continue to import it. Those interested in applying for an import certificate can learn about the process at the HempMeds® Mexico website.
This model of legalization seen in Brazil and Mexico has already begun to take hold in Latin America, with Paraguay being the most recent country to allow RSHO™ CBD oil to be imported into their country for a child with epilepsy.
Observing the vast medical potential for the use of cannabinoids, the Medical Marijuana, Inc. portfolio of companies is actively developing cannabinoid based pharmaceuticals to further safe access to as many patients as possible.
Kannalife™ Sciences received the first licenses from the U.S. government to develop patent 6,630,507, awarded to the National Institutes of Health. The patent covers the use of cannabinoids as both antioxidants and neuroprotectants, and Kannalife™ Sciences is using it to create novel treatments for hepatic encephalopathy, a brain condition linked to alcohol and pill abuse, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is caused by repeated head injuries and often seen in NFL players.
Another Medical Marijuana, Inc. investment, AXIM® Biotech, created the chewing gum delivery system for cannabinoids, which it has developed into CanChew™ gum, a CBD hemp oil supplement, and MedChew™ RX, a combination THC/CBD gum seeking approval for the treatment of pain and spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis. AXIM® is also beginning proof of concept trials on a cannabinoid-based topical treatment for eczema and psoriasis.
Medical Marijuana, Inc. is also looking to complete clinical trials in Brazil for all approved indications to support the use of RSHO™ as a prescription.
Access to alternative healthcare in Latin America has never been more important. Latin American countries reliably spend less per GDP on healthcare than most comparable countries, and the proliferation of universal healthcare has done little to bring equitable care to patients in Latin American countries. This has created a need for alternative treatments and affordable healthcare options in countries like Mexico, and RSHO™ CBD oil goes a long way to fill that need.
While the value of the potential medical cannabis industry in Brazil hasn’t been calculated, based on comparably sized markets, the country of 200 million could top $20 billion if medical marijuana were legalized. The currently accepted conditions of epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and chronic pain and migraines cover some of the most difficult to treat conditions healthcare encounters. 38% of those with epilepsy in Brazil had inadequate care; 19% were on no treatment at all.
Mexico’s medical cannabis market has been estimated to be worth up to $12 billion. Like in other Latin American countries, healthcare coverage is often deficient. Although CBD hemp oil has only been approved for epilepsy in the country, it constitutes an enormous need. The global epilepsy market is expected to grow to $5.4 billion by 2022.
Dr. Titus concluded, “Despite the pause on a definitive agreement from Mexico legislators, Medical Marijuana, Inc. and our partners in Mexico will continue to fight for Mexican families to expand and ensure legal access to medical marijuana for all those in need of it. In the meantime, RSHO-X continues to be available via a doctor’s prescription as the first legal cannabis-based product within Mexico.”
Although Medical Marijuana, Inc.’s products are now being accepted by select Latin American countries as prescription medications, their CBD hemp oil products have long been available for purchase and shipment across the U.S. and in over 40 countries in Europe, Asia, the Americas as dietary supplements. In these markets, anyone can buy CBD hemp oil supplements without a doctor’s prescription or recommendation and have them shipped directly to their home.
Anyone in the U.S. interested in the health benefits of cannabinoids can get started today by shopping online at medicalmarijuanainc.com/store.