DW Documentary, 2018
Cannabis, also known as marijuana or weed, is being legalized for medicinal use in a growing number of countries. Perceptions towards cannabis are changing.
The list of diseases that the drug cannabis can reportedly alleviate or even cure is long: multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic pain - even brain tumors. But has research really documented the effectiveness of medical marijuana? Cannabis has long been held to have healing properties, and has been used as a medicinal and recreational drug in world cultures for thousands of years. It wasn’t until the 20th century that marijuana was branded a corrupting influence and banned in many countries. Cannabis was seen as a stepping-stone to harder substances, and possession became a punishable offence. Because of weed’s association with criminal activity, even scientific research into marijuana was off-limits. But in recent years there’s been a turnaround, with increasing numbers of patients using cannabis for medicinal purpose. Today therapeutic use of cannabis is permitted in more than 30 countries. In the United States, families with children suffering from epilepsy are even moving to states that have decriminalized the drug cannabis for medical use. As a result of these developments, scientific research into the therapeutic uses of cannabis is booming. Recent studies confirm that cannabinoids may offer an alternative to conventional treatments for multiple sclerosis, Crohn's Disease, epilepsy and certain forms of cancer. They’ve also been shown to alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy. The growing medical interest in this miracle weed appears to be winning over pubic opinion too. This report delves into the facts about this controversial plant and lets scientists at the forefront of cannabis research have their say.