By Laurent Thomet
An eight-year-old girl who endures 400 daily epileptic seizures will become Mexico's first authorised consumer of medical cannabis after the government granted her an exemption to its marijuana ban.
The health ministry announced in a statement on Tuesday (local time) that it would facilitate the paperwork needed to import a cannabis oil that is believed to alleviate epileptic fits.
"We are happy," Raul Elizalde, the girl's father, told AFP by telephone after he met with the head of Cofepris, the health agency that oversees medicine imports. "It's our last hope."
"We want to reduce the number of convulsions from 400 per day to none. We hope that she could become more independent, that she could walk and speak and eat on her own," he said.
Graciela, who lives in the northern industrial hub of Monterrey, has a severe form of epilepsy known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
The girl, whose parents call her Grace, has not spoken a word since saying "mummy" when she was under two years old. She wears nappies, crawls and moves in a pink wheelchair.
Her parents have tried a slew of treatments, including brain surgery, to ease their daughter's pain, but nothing has worked and her condition has worsened.
Out of other options, they asked the government's General Health Council for a special permit to import cannabidiol (CBD), but it was denied.
Last month, a judge gave her desperate parents permission to get the medicine even though Mexico, which is engulfed in a bloody drug war, opposes any legalisation of narcotics.
Elizalde said the doctor must now write a prescription and they would then seek to import the drug from the United States or Norway.