Valeria Salech, president of Mamá Cultiva, promotes Argentina's Law 23.350 in May 2019
Valeria Salech, president of Mamá Cultiva, promotes Argentina's Law 23.350 in May 2019 | Photo by Leonardo Rendo

Mamá Cultiva promotes benefits of medicinal cannabis in Argentina

Before Emiliano was born, I used cannabis recreationally. No more, no less. Who would have thought that it would change my son's life and, therefore, mine?

Valeria Salech
Interview Subject
Valeria Salech is the founder and president of Mamá Cultiva Argentina.

Inspired by the positive changes she saw in her son’s health when she began administering medical cannabis, she founded Mamá Cultiva with a goal to inform and promote self-cultivation and the regulation of cannabis for health and quality of life.
Bacjground Information
In 2015, Valeria Salech and Mamá Cultiva helped sparked the debate in Argentina on the need to sanction a regulatory framework for the use of medicinal cannabis.

Two years later, Congress enacted Law 27350, which aims to “establish a regulatory framework for medical and scientific research on the medicinal, therapeutic and/or pain palliative use of the cannabis plant and its derivatives, guaranteeing and promoting comprehensive health care.”

However, Mamá Cultiva continues to advocate for changes to the law, namely for it to include provisions for “self-cultivation, solidarity cultivation and community cultivation.”

Follow Mamá Cultiva on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina—My son was diagnosed with epilepsy and autism at birth. To deal with his symptoms, he took countless pills every day.

When we got back from the doctor, I agreed to stick a calendar on the fridge with all his prescribed medications. Until then, I used to forget about things, but for Emiliano’s health, that had to change.

That schedule, located in the most visible place in the house, became my declaration, my commitment that we would handle this hurdle.

Traditional medicine, our savior and worst enemy

Until he was 9, Emiliano took pills religiously: three anticonvulsants, psychiatric medication, others to help him fall asleep, and more to protect his digestive system, damaged by all the other pills.

The days passed, and my son did not have seizures. Though he seemed stable, he was also cut off from the world. his gaze unfocused. Despite all my efforts, our connection was so weak; pain and sadness invaded me anytime I thought about it.

As the years went by, the pill schedule changed according to his weight, height, and his needs, but he did not improve.

Doctors used to tell me that this was the disease and that nothing could be done. From day one, they told us he would not reach adolescence. Beyond the short life expectancy, they predicted a terrible quality of life for him.

They didn’t know how wrong they were.

Cannabis transforms my son’s life

Before Emiliano was born, I used cannabis recreationally. No more, no less. Who would have thought that it would change my son’s life and, therefore, mine?

Once, I was talking to a friend who grew cannabis herself. She told me about the medicinal benefits and gave me a cannabis resin.

I thought about it and finally decided to try it. Of course, I tested it on myself first and didn’t suffer any negative side effects. The next step was to test it directly on Emiliano. The first time, we gave a minimal dose.

As the hours passed, his gaze began to shine, and he pet our two dogs, which he never did. I had never seen him like this; remembering the emotions I felt that day still gives me goosebumps. Small moments like that were, for us, part of a big change.

From that day, at the age of 9, until today, Emiliano takes only one anticonvulsant pill per day. He doesn’t need the others thanks to the medicinal cannabis. Thanks to this treatment, he no longer depends on sleeping pills or pills to relieve his gastric pain.

Bringing Mamá Cultiva to life

In 2016, we created the non-government organization Mamá Cultiva. Through this, together with a group of specialists, we help people who are suffering.

Some who come have Parkinson’s disease, depression, or very deep, chronic pain. Medical cannabis offers each of them a possible treatment for their symptoms, and we are here to accompany and advise them.

I can tell hundreds of inspiring stories that moved me, but none of them compare to the mothers who lost their children and continue to fight for our cause. Those souls walked to their deaths with a smile thanks to cannabis.

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Natalia Medina is a journalist and producer who works in graphics and radio who is always looking for stories to tell.