CNN’s “Weed” Looks At Marijuana Debate – Legitimacy Of Medical Use

States that have partially legalized marijuana shown in green
States that have partially legalized marijuana shown in green

The much awaited CNN documentary “Weed”, hosted and narrated by Dr. Sanjay Gupta (CNN’s chief medical correspondent), aired on Sunday.

Weed aims to be an impartial look into the facts behind the divisive herb, and also gives us a sneak peak into the lives of its users.

Has Dr. Gupta achieved his mission?

Can marijuana really be considered a medicine?

Is weed really really bad for you?

Let’s take a look

The program starts out by getting into the history of marijuana, explaining its origin, its uses, and how in fact it got all the way from the jungles of central Asia, to the shores of the US.

It is also here that we are introduced to Charlotte, the daughter of  a military family, who is suffering from a particularly severe form of epilepsy known as gervais syndrome. Viewers are given a first hand look into the suffering of this girl, and by extension, her family making this point in the documentary quite unnerving to say the least.

This is then magnified by her father’s decision to to include the consumption marijuana into the medical diet of his 5 year old (daughter), as a last stitch effort to treat her ailment. Though initially uneasy, it is not too difficult to sympathize with a  family on a desperate quest to cure their suffering daughter.

The documentary then takes an abrupt shift away from the heartbreaking story of Charlotte and her family, and begins to tackle the general issues surrounding marijuana use in America.

Gupta interviews an assortment of characters including artists, addicts, patients, and doctors, getting their opinions on marijuana use as well as taking a short, but enlightening, trip to a research facility where they discover (I am sure that Dr. Gupta is already quite aware) the effects of marijuana on the human brain.

 It is here that we learn (well some of us) that marijuana does indeed help with creativity, but also that it can also be  quite an addictive substance as well.

The documentary then, just as abruptly, shifts the focus back onto Charlotte and her family, now showing her physical and mental state after being medicated with cannabis and, surprise surprise, she is cured (well treated anyway).

The program then ends with a quick trip to Israel where researchers are now finding conclusive evidence pointing to the legitimacy of  cannabis use for medical purposes.

Analysis

Surprisingly to anyone who has read any of  Dr. Guptas recent public statements on the subject, “Weed” is not in any way a howling approval of the full legalization of cannabis, but instead, focuses more on its legitimacy as a prescribed medicine.

The documentary takes a responsible look into both the positives and negatives of marijuana use stating, wherever possible, the available facts along the way.

It has, in my opinion, conclusively shown that marijuana can indeed be used as a legitimate medicine and that claims of “successful healing” should be taken more seriously by the FDA and the other relevant regulatory bodies.

I was also quite interested to learn that Israel, a country many consider extremely conservative, is now at the forefront of marijuana research.  America on the other hand, responsible for so many great advancements in science and technology, is comparatively behind when it comes to research into this field.

The Bad

One thing I would have liked to have seen from “Weed” is a more in-depth look into marijuana addiction and the effects it has on the individual, their family, and the society at large.

Many people, especially young people like myself and, the proverbial “potheads”, do not believe that marijuana can be addictive and see no problem with  consuming it on a regular basis. I know (from personal experience), as well as many others, that marijuana addiction is a real issue and should not be taken so lightly.

Ask yourself this, if marijuana is not addictive then why do “potheads” exist? Why do they consume the amount of marijuana that they do on such a regular basis? Is this not the act of individuals who are indeed addicted?

 Another question that I would have liked to have answered is concerned with its consumption.

Why do the majority of medical marijuana users consume their medicine through smoking? This seems, to me, to be a pretty unhealthy way to consume something that is branded as medicine, but a great way to consume when trying to get stoned.

Final thoughts 

“Weed” touches on all the major issues surrounding marijuana and takes an unbiased tone in doing so. I encourage both medical marijuana skeptics and “potheads” alike to give this a view as both  could stand to gain new knowledge about this forbidden fruit (well plant) colloquially coined as “Weed”.

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Adrian Gordon is a Jamaican freelance writer with a finger on the pulse of the current hot topics. Technology enthusiasts, entertainment junkies, bookworms and shopaholics can sign up for his email alert or, instead, follow him on social media for the latest news, reviews and tips meant save you a few extra $$$.