Kids Should Have Access To CBD Oil (According To Ricki Lake)

Actress and talk show host Ricki Lake has produced several documentaries, such as The Business of Being Born and Breastmilk, both directed by Abby Epstein, which examine the birth industry and the difficulty of breastfeeding.

Lake and Epstein’s latest is Weed the People, which documents the lives of five children with pediatric cancer, whose families have experimented with cannabis oil (CBD), as well as established cancer therapies, to treat or even cure the disease.

Lake says her interest in children with cancer and cannabis was inspired her late husband, Christian Evans, who experimented with cannabis to treat his bipolar disorder, but eventually committed suicide. She was also drawn to the subject by Evans’ grandfather, who battled cancer, and a young girl she met through Dancing With The Stars.

According to Epstein, the parents in the film use the drug to treat epilepsy and pediatric cancer, though CBD oil has also been shown to alleviate ADHD and anxiety, and as an alternative to Ritalin and Adderall. In the film, a scientist treats an autistic 17-year-old boy who has never spoken with CBD oils. One day, his mother asked him what he would like for breakfast and he answered, “I would like some eggs,” which are his first words ever.

Still most doctors do not subscribe to the curing effects of CBD oil. They view it simply as a naturopathic supplement, rather than medicine since no clinical trials, which cost millions of dollars, have been conducted, Epstein says. She believes the billion dollar pharmaceutical industry and the government are standing in the way of CBD’s acceptance as a viable treatment.

“The problem is that it’s considered a Schedule 1 drug in the US so they aren’t able to do the necessary research. It’s exciting that in Canada, that they are able to do the research now because cannabis is legal both medicinally and recreationally,” Lake says.

In one scene in the film, a child who had been taking eight Oxycontin pills a day starts taking CBD oil and within 48 hours, he has stopped taking all the pain medicine. According to Lake, “Kids who are battling cancer are being given opiates and narcotics to manage pain, and they’re becoming physically addicted. It makes no sense—your body is trying to battle cancer and you’re taking painkillers that are shutting down your organs.”

The filmmakers didn’t worry about giving parents false hope since many families are desperate to relieve their child’s suffering. Though they admit they’re not experts, they believe that if CBD oil works, then why not?

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“The film isn’t trying to prove a case. It’s more trying to show why this needs more research. It didn’t work for all the kids in the film, but in the majority of the families we studied, the results are so compelling. And there’s no toxicity to the substance, you can’t overdose on it,” Epstein says.

Given that cannabis is increasingly gaining acceptance in society, the filmmakers are convinced that CBD oil will also be accepted as treatment for many illnesses in the future, though it will still be a struggle getting there.

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