"Weed The People" Doc Follows Kids Treating Cancer With Marijuana

By Bryan Le 10/29/18

More than half of Americans now support legalizing marijuana. But for some kids, it’s a life-changing treatment.

Tracy and Sophie featured in Weed the People.
Tracy is doing what she believes is best for baby Sophie, who has a brain tumor. via Weed the People/Faceboook

While the federal government sits on the fence regarding marijuana, more than half of Americans support legalizing it. But for the families featured in Weed the People, marijuana is medicine for their children.

The documentary follows five kids whose parents have chosen to treat their child’s cancer with cannabis oil, either as a supplement alongside other treatments or as an entirely new avenue of treatment after others have failed.

Despite their non-recreational use of marijuana, the families have to overcome legal and regulatory obstacles to get the medicine they believe their children need.

Weed the People is produced by former talk show host Ricki Lake, who was introduced to cannabidiol (CBD) when her late ex-husband was seeking relief for his chronic pain and ADHD. CBD does not induce the high associated with THC, but does deliver the therapeutic and medicinal effects of cannabis.

“I want to get people seeing it as medicine, seeing what it was able to do for these children, and fight for this medicine to be available to everyone who needs it,” Lake said. “It’s a human rights issue.”

Some of the families in the documentary saw their children's tumors shrink, or even disappear, when using CBD—even if they were using CBD in place of other treatments, such as chemotherapy, entirely.

“You can’t say the ‘cure’ word, but how else do you explain it?” questioned Lake.

However, some professionals warn against treating cancers with CBD alone and expecting miraculous results. “Relying on marijuana alone as treatment while avoiding or delaying conventional medical care for cancer may have serious health consequences,” cautioned the American Cancer Society (ACS).

So far, the ACS says, CBD and other such compounds in marijuana have been found to slow the growth of or destroy tumor cells in test animals or tissue samples in dishes, but not humans.

However, some pediatric cancer treatment providers do advocate for allowing the use of marijuana compounds in treatment, especially in the case of pain relief or end-of-life care.

Despite growing support for legalization coming from both health experts and everyday Americans, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, which is defined as having “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

However, one CBD-based drug, Epidolex, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—which is a substantial, if narrow, first step towards legalization.

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter