Episode 39 - If Cannabis is Saving Lives, Why Doesn’t the Government Want People to Access it?

That’s the question scientists and advocates have been asking for decades. Ricki Lake’s moving new documentary, Weed The People, seeks the answer.


If you've been following this podcast you know that cannabis doesn’t cure cancer. Nothing does -- cancer is a broad description of over 200 different disease states that can be treated with varying rates of success. But you also know that cannabis does do amazing things like cause some cancers cells such as glioblastoma (a fast-moving brain cancer that oncologists call “The Terminator”) to commit suicide. It also works synergistically and somewhat mysteriously to up the life extending outcomes of certain chemotherapies.

What isn’t known is why the US government restricts access to cannabis meds and why it wantonly bans most of the research in this country.

Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein’s new documentary, Weed The People, examines this cruel reality by following the lives of 5 kids with brain cancer (and their fraught families). In other words, kids with death sentences for whom conventional chemotherapies have failed. The filmmakers followed these families for upwards of 7 years. Four of the five kids are alive today. Some of them are thriving. 'Nuf said.

The film was spawned when Ricki’s husband, Christian, received a cancer diagnosis. He passed away, but in their search for alternative therapies, he came upon some remarkable cannabis healers, among them Mara Gordon, founder of Aunt Zelda’s (she is featured on Episode 5 of our podcast). Ricki made it her mission to finish Christian's search and tell the story of so many others in the same situation.

She, of course, is no stranger of advocacy film making. In 2008 she and Abby made the groundbreaking and widely heralded The Business of Being Born about the institutionalization of childbirth, which caused millions of women to shift to home birth.

As of this writing, the Weed the People is showing in just a few markets (100% on Rotten Tomatoes so far), but the filmmakers are making it available to people who want to hold screenings in communities around the country. Listen to our great interview for details on how to arrange a screening and be sure to watch the trailer.

And of course, please share this podcast widely to spread the word.

Joe Dolce