Marijuana is getting more popular – be medical or recreation. Medical marijuana has been made legal in a large number of states and as many as 62% of Americans support marijuana being made legal. This has been a debatable issue for long.
Weed the People, a documentary recently released features medical marijuana as a potential remedy for cancers in children. It also shows the various regulatory obstacle to the use of cannabis. With Ricki Lake as the executive producer, the film presents five families that use cabbies oil for treatment of cancer in children. For some children, cannabis along with chemotherapy and for other convention method is used.
Lake started working on medical marijuana when her late husband Christian Evans, was working on researching cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is a compound in marijuana that does not cause high if the consumer has any health issues such as chronic pain ADHD. Evans died last year. Lake and Evans met a girl with a tumour. Her family was looking desperately for treatment. They helped the girl’s family by introducing the girl to a medical marijuana specialist. Lake and her team were inculcated with a spirit to find families in similar condition and those shown in the film. They made Weed the People to discuss how effective medical marijuana is and the regulatory challenges the family and the people in research need to face,
Lake likes to people to get marijuana as a medication that can do good to children and would make sure that the medication is accessible to all because it is an issue affecting human rights.
The film depicts cannabis oil’s effectiveness in combating cancer. Some children show tumours subside to a great extent and in some children, the tumour vanishes. This is despite they were using only cannabis oil alone and not conventional chemotherapy.
However, the reality is different – it has been proved and it may not in the good for the health of the children. There are some cases that show marijuana can lessen chronic pain and the side effects of the chemotherapy. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS) depending only on marijuana and delaying and avoiding regular medical treatment of cancer in children can have harmful effects. There are some cases where marijuana can decelerate the growth of a tumour or it can destroy it. However, evidence with respect marijuana oils is not sufficient.
Additional research required to know more about the possible effects and the shortcomings of the cannabis. This has clearly depicted in the documentary Weed the People. Added to this is the regulation by the authorities makes it more complex.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classified the marijuana a Schedule I drug. This makes it a drug that may become a substance of abuse and it cannot be accepted. However, recently the FDA gave consent the first drug made from marijuana. It’s a purified form of CBD known as Epidiolex for the treatment of epilepsy in children and adults. Following this, the DEA moved it to the Schedule V. Thus, now it has the minimal restriction. Researchers wishing to study the cannabis must have Schedule I license. With this, they need to submit the site visit and background checks from the DEA.
The DEA permits only one institution – the University of Mississippi to crop marijuana for research. DEA sources say additional licenses are being granted to grow the plant. This does not include vapes and edibles. The regulations on the handling of marijuana are stringent. Even the researchers are restricted to use it.
Because of this, all families wishing to use cannabis (those in the film as well) have to buy it from the popular medical stores and they have to trust it to be safe. It is shocking that the medicines being researched by spending in billions are made in an ordinary way – as told by Angela Smith (in the film) whose son uses cannabis oil for cancer.
Chen (not in the film) is peeved at the existing regulating on marijuana and is moved by the potential of cannabis during the early part of his career. During the period, he met a patient having epilepsy. She was being treated with CBD. Then Chen called Child Protective Services to intervene lest it is harmful. Later Chen came to know about CBD benefits.
The film also presents funding challenges for marijuana research. Chen faces it in his research. He rues that a lot of funds be allotted to explore marijuana but its benefits study is ignored.
Such obstacles have forced the researches including those in the film to relax the regulations. However, DEA rejected such requests in 2016. The government is trying to create obstacles in the studies on cannabis. This has been alleged by people including those in the film.
Today, regulations are fewer. Research approve marijuana has been allowed. This shows the prospects of US researchers getting better access to the plant. Along with this, less stringent regulations will be of great help. For this, the drug should be rescheduled and manufacturers should be ready to take the task. Lake says such a collaborative approach between industry and researcher is important. She opines her documentary will get a great amount of public support. The film intends to bring out a change in the mindset of the people by making them get ready to struggle to get access to the plant.