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Paulo Fleury, Brazil

Dr. Paulo Fleury, Brazil

1. Who is Paulo Fleury Teixeira?

Paulo Fleury Teixeira is a graduate of the Federal University of Minha Gerais (1986), with a specialization in Preventive and Social Medicine at the Hospital das Clínicas of the UFMG. He also holds a Master's degree in Philosophy from the Federal University of Minha Gerais (1993) and a PhD in Philosophy from the same institution (2003).

He is a researcher and clinical expert in cannabinoid medicine and a pioneer in cannabinoid research and its use in the treatment of autism. He is also a prominent speaker and advocate in the field of cannabinoid medicine. Initially, Paulo began studying cannabis in patients with epilepsy, but quickly focused his research on the treatment of autism. Through an initial study with 18 autistic children in the region of Belém (Pará), he observed excellent results with the use of cannabidiol oil.

 Paulo Fleury: A story about the persecution of cannabis medicine in Brazil

2. What happened?

Paulo Fleury Teixeira is currently facing lawsuits from the Regional Medical Councils of Bahia, Minha Gerais and Parana for prescribing marijuana products to his patients, as well as for his activism on this issue. Paulo believes that treatment with cannabis derivatives, which is highly effective and safe, could represent a major transformation in the field of medicine.

The Regional Councils argue that they disagree with a resolution of the Federal Council of Medicine (CFM) issued in 2014, which states that cannabidiol (CBD) can only be prescribed for two types of congenital epilepsy and exclusively by doctors specialized in neurology and psychiatry. In addition, they accuse Paulo of spreading treatments without scientific evidence and of violating the Penal Code by promoting the cultivation and free consumption of marijuana in Brazil. This publication has not been able to assess whether his practice is fully supported in scientific evidence. "I tried to disseminate this information as widely as possible because from the beginning I saw evidence of the effectiveness of the plant and its active components in the treatment of various health problems, even in serious cases. This evidence came from the growing medical literature in the field, as well as from my own clinical practice. Moreover, both medical literature and clinical experience support the safety of cannabinoid use, demonstrating its low risk in any age group or health condition", Paulo wrote in his public defense first published in Outra Saúde, a Brazilian media specialized in health issues.

3. How does this situation affect access to health or the right to health?

Cannabinoids present in marijuana are chemical compounds that activate cannabinoid receptors, proteins that allow the interaction of these substances with cell metabolism.

The medicinal use of cannabinoids is now permitted in some states in the United States and in countries such as Holland and Belgium to alleviate symptoms associated with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and Tourette's syndrome (which causes involuntary movements). In Brazil, the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) has authorized the prescription of cannabis products since 2015.

While there is no exact number of people using these medicines in Brazil, approximately 41,100 people have authorization to import CBD derivatives. Only 0.2% of Brazilian doctors prescribe cannabis in the country, and it is estimated that around 4 million people could benefit from its effects. The problem lies in the fact that the production of cannabinoids is prohibited in Brazil due to the ban on cultivation of the plant, which makes the products considerably more expensive, with prices ranging from R$ 600 to R$ 2,700 (approximately US$ 120 to US$ 540).

4.  The Campaign 

Currently, there is no campaign in support of Paulo Fleury Teixeira and there is no specific organization supporting him. However, he is looking for support among his patients and in the networks of producers and consumers of cannabinoid medicines. Paulo Fleury is committed to providing evidence-based treatments and improving the quality of life of his patients through the responsible use of cannabinoid medicines. In addition, he seeks to raise awareness of the therapeutic potential of these medicines and establish collaborative partnerships with other health professionals, researchers and advocates of cannabinoid medicine. 


Video Credits and Acknowledgements 

Paulo Fleury: A story about the persecution of cannabis medicine in Brazil


Dr. Paulo Fleury was one of the pioneers in the prescription and diffusion of Cannabis Medicine in Brazil. He traveled all over the country spreading the word about the therapeutic potential of cannabis - and helped the mothers of many patients with the regulation of various associations that produce the medicine through judicial authorizations, a long and bureaucratic process. Paulo Fleury is committed to providing evidence-based treatments and improving the quality of life of his patients through the responsible use of cannabinoid medicines. Today, medicinal oil made from the plant can be bought in pharmacies, with a doctor's prescription, but they are imported - because the cultivation of marijuana is prohibited in Brazil by the Anti-Drug Law - and are very expensive: a bottle can cost as much as R$ 2,400 (approximately US$ 540). The regulation of marijuana for medicinal use and cultivation of the plant is being debated in Brazil's National Congress.


Fleury is currently being sued for disclosure and prescription of cannabis-based compounds by the Regional Medical Councils of the states of Bahia, Minas Gerais, Parana and Rio Grande do Norte - and an anonymous complaint to the Public Prosecutor's Office with an accusation of drug trafficking. The Regional Councils argue that Fleury's work of "spreading treatments without scientific evidence" is at odds with a resolution of the Federal Council of Medicine (CFM) that states that cannabidiol (CBD) can only be prescribed for epilepsy and autism, when other forms of treatment prove ineffective.


"There is still an ideological, political and religious prohibition that is deeply rooted in society and medical institutions," Fleury points out.


People's Health Movement

Health workers under attack Gallery

Reference: Brazil: The Paulo Fleury case

Title: "Why do I prescribe marijuana?" -- A story about the persecution of cannabis medicine.

Language: Portuguese - English subtitles

Time: 00:12:11:00

Web documentary by: Rôney Rodrigues

Camera and sound: Gabriela Leite

Video Editing: Lucas Scatolini

Production: Gabriela Leite and Rôney Rodrigues

Outras Palavras / Outra Saúde 


A People's Health Movement Production


The content of this video is the sole responsibility of its authors and in no way reflects the views of the organizations that finance it.


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