As marijuana use continues to become decriminalized across the United States, doctors, researchers and patients are pushing to make it an accepted part of cancer treatments.
The new film Weed the People, executive-produced by Ricki Lake, follows families as they discover the benefits of marijuana for their child’s cancer and chemotherapy.
“When your kid’s got cancer, the rulebook goes out the window,” the mom of an elementary school-aged kid says in the trailer. “I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t explore everything that there was.”
One researcher explains that the federal government is in a catch-22, because it will not allow further research on the benefits of cannabis against cancer because there’s not enough research. But doctors are seeing the benefits.
“It’s the same as any other drug,” says one doctor. “There are chemical compounds in the plant that interact with the cells in our body, and have certain reactions. There’s enough research for me to know that one, it happens to be a very safe medication, and two, it works. Why as a society are we denying people the use of something that I have seen over and over and over again be helpful?”
One mom adds that doctors are putting her son on all kinds of addictive medicines — from fentanyl to methadone — that left him with an opioid dependency. She instead switched him to cannabis.
“I started reading about the anti-tumor properties of cannabis oil,” she says. “It’s all about supporting the side effects, and helping the chemo to do its job. I just find it staggering that with the billions of dollars that is spent on cancer research, that the medicine we rely on is made in somebody’s kitchen.”
“The whole drug reform issue is a human rights issue at its core,” adds one researcher.