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Pedro Andrade: “Dehydrated flowers are precisely the means by which I consume cannabis”



Photo: Laura Ramos | cannareporter

Pedro Andrade is 40 years old, lives in the Algarve and was a lifeguard until he was 27, when, on his way to work on his Scooter, he was hit by a car. After 13 months of fighting for his life and recovering from a spinal cord injury in hospital, Pedro would eventually become a paraplegic. Despite being totally independent today and living an (almost) normal life, Pedro suffers from spasticity, associated with his condition of paraplegia. After approval by Infarmed of the first cannabis-based substance or preparation, dried flowers with 18% THC, Cannareporter spoke with Pedro Andrade, to find out how this new product can help him.

Pedro has been using cannabinoids to minimize the symptoms of his pathology and admits that he has already resorted to self-cultivation, so he does not have to buy adulterated cannabis on the parallel market. Could this new product be an alternative?

Can this product solve your problems as a patient?
Yes. Inflorescences or dried flowers are precisely the means by which I consume cannabis. Not being able to specify the percentage amounts of the different molecules present in the cannabis I consume, the doctrine recommends the effect “entourage” for spinal cord injury-related spasticity, so yes, this 18% THC and 1% CBD content could apply to my case.

Given that the price has not yet been announced, what would be the acceptable amount to be paid by patients for this product?
5 to 10 euros a gram, if not reimbursed. Less than 5 euros, if reimbursed. Don't forget that co-payment is part of the Law that we helped to pass…

What other cannabis-based products do you expect to see approved this year in Portugal?
This year I don't know. But in the medium term at least, I expect to see inflorescences or flowers dehydrated with different amounts of the main molecules, THC(A), CBD(A) and CBC(A); CBD and CBD/THC oils; and edible.

How have you done so far to meet your need to get therapeutic cannabis?
Fundamentally resorting to the black market and trying to plant occasionally, with the enormous constraints that come from both ways. I don't want to have problems with the law for using a plant as a medicine, but I am forced to resort to the black market, without any control over the quality of what I buy and, sometimes, unnecessarily subjecting myself to situations of some risk, in addition to incurring the illegality. Alternatively, I have already tried to plant a few times, with all the constraints that come with it. I'm a paraplegic and I don't have anyone to help me, so the chances of success are always low. As if it weren't enough to incur illegality once again, I have to fear even the friend of someone else, because the last time I planted cannabis, they stole my plants!

Given that this approved product already exists, what do you plan to do in the future to get the cannabis you need?
Being a work accident, accompanied by an insurance company, I will have to make sure that the same institution provides the medication. I will face a bureaucracy of my own, but it will go through “finding” a doctor who will prescribe the substance for me as provided for in the Law.


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