Sometimes the most powerful stories are the ones you stumble upon without even looking for in the first place. That was the case for Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, the filmmakers behind Weed the People, a new documentary about families navigating the cannabis world in an effort to treat their cancer-stricken children.
“This documentary came to life from a very organic and personal place,” Epstein tells High Times.
Lake was trying to help a sick 7-year-old girl who had become a superfan of hers after watching Lake on the TV show Dancing with the Stars. Lake researched a variety of integrative therapies to help the young girl get through her brutal chemotherapy regime. Ultimately, she discovered studies about the anti-tumoral properties of CBD and THC.
“Next thing I knew, Ricki called me and said she was taking the girl on a plane up to Mendocino, California, to meet a cannabis physician,” Epstein recalls.
Courtesy of Weed the People
Lake and Epstein had previously collaborated on The Business of Being Born, a critically acclaimed documentary about the American health care system and childbirth. This time around, there was no set plan— just a strong hunch that they could be on to something.
“We just started filming on instinct, having no idea where the story was heading,” Epstein says.
Now, more than six years later, they’ve produced Weed the People, which takes a deeply intimate look into the struggles families face as they seek treatment for some of the most vicious and unforgiving illnesses.
The documentary follows five families with their own distinct stories and life experiences. What unites them is their common quest for cannabis-related cancer treatments in an era when research and access are incredibly limited.
“At the time we started filming in 2013, it was quite a small, underground …
Author: Mekita Rivas / High Times