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Police probe of Brazilian marijuana researcher sparks protests

News Posted Mar 9 2018

The state of São Paulo, Brazil has had an uproar of support for a scientist who was recently put under investigation for discussing his cannabis research at a symposium he organized. At 87 years old Elisaldo Carlini, a retired professor of psychopharmacology, is credited as a pioneer of medical cannabis research. In the 1950's he published several important papers that changed what we know and understand about cannabinoids today and he partnered with the University of Jerusalem in Israel to conduct the first clinical experiment with CBD and epileptic patients. Carlini says he's been researching for 60 years and has never been questioned by law enforcement until last month. Investigators claim he "incited drug crime" during the symposium, but after the investigation became public knowledge was immediately supported by 50 scientific societies signing petitions and gathering 28,000 signatures in a matter of days.

Police questioned Elisaldo Carlini, a retired professor of psychopharmacology at the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp), on 21 February on suspicion of inciting drug crime, according to authorities. They are still investigating the case and have not charged Carlini with anything.

Carlini, 87, is one of the pioneers of medical marijuana research. He has investigated the drug since the 1950s, and has published several seminal papers on the anticonvulsive properties of cannabinoids. “Carlini is an outstanding scientist,” says Raphael Mechoulam, a researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, whose lab first isolated marijuana’s hallucinogenic compound, THC, in 1964.

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