DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Speaking by phone, Anthony Fabrizio was on a roll about his career in cannabis research when he suddenly fell silent. You could hear the San Francisco–based research director stammering, then grunting. Silence again.
Fabrizio returned to the conversation more than 10 seconds later. He chose his next words gingerly, like someone trying to find a light switch in a dark room, placing one hand in front of the other.
“I … just had a seizure,” he said. The research director for Terra Tech Corp., a public company based in Irvine, California, suffers absence seizures (sometimes called petit mal seizures) due to epilepsy. He credits smoking marijuana with reducing the number of seizures from about 20 a week to one every few months. Fabrizio, 27, a biochemist, has since become an evangelist for medical marijuana, which is legally available in 23 states and the nation’s capital, with legislation underway in other states.
Despite the growing momentum for pot legalization, marijuana remains one of the most difficult substances to study in the United States.