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Review: Documentary 'Weed the People' looks at cannabis and pediatric cancer

Review: Documentary 'Weed the People' looks at cannabis and pediatric cancer
Mara Gordon, left, and Sophie Ryan in the documentary "Weed the People." (Abramorama)

An urgent cry for help, “Weed the People” explores the effects of cannabis on pediatric cancer, as well as the establishment’s disinterest in researching its efficacy. With the lack of scientific studies available, Abby Epstein’s moving documentary primarily devotes its time to five children and their families who are trying to survive using the alternative treatment.

“Weed the People” doesn’t ease into its multi-story narrative, wasting no time in sharing the stories of these kids with cancer. With parents desperate for their children to feel better, they turn to medical marijuana to ease the pain, as well as directly addressing the cancer cells.

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Without studies and lack of nationwide legalization, there is little regulation in the industry. Enter Mara Gordon, a former process engineer who brings precision and rigor to her medical cannabis company, offering the families hope for healing.

Epstein is an unseen empathetic force, combining intimate footage of the families and interviews with a variety of experts who have seen the impact of marijuana on cancer in their patients. “Weed the People” doesn’t — and can’t — lean heavily on data because there simply isn’t much available, instead relying on the power of the personal. Beyond its plea for research, the documentary is largely hopeful, but for balance could include more anecdotes and details of when the treatment doesn’t have the desired results.

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‘Weed the People’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

Playing: Starts Nov. 2, Laemmle NoHo 7, North Hollywood

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