- In the documentary how, specifically, was cannabis and cannabis users stigmatized?
The documentary describes that marijuana was stigmatized by a man named Harry Anslinger, the United States’ first drug Czar. Seeing a way to increase his department’s budget, Anslinger targeted weed, spreading propaganda about the drug. He claimed that it made its users crazy, and cause them to harass people. Furthermore, the documentary mentions a film called Reefer madness which established many of the stereotypes people believe about cannabis users, by portraying them as lazy, insane bottom dwellers. By the 1970s, the government had classified cannabis as a dangerous drug with no benefits.
- What ‘myths’ about cannabis do you think you have been taught about cannabis in your lifetime? Why do think these untruths have been taught?
I have been taught that cannabis has dangerous immediate effects, or that it could lead to be fatal if abused. I have no doubt that the stigmatization of the drug has played a big part in the things I’ve been taught, but I also believe it has been done to prevent people from using it. If the effects are exaggerated then it is less likely that someone would think to use it. Of course, this could also be a result of the stigmatization of the drug mentioned earlier. Regardless, it is likely these untruths are spread to prevent the use of marijuana.
- What part of the documentary was specifically relevant to the health of cannabis users your age?
The part about marijuana’s effects on the brain. It mentions how the chemicals in marijuana react on the parts of your brain responsible for reward, pleasure, and hunger. It causes a release of dopamine and alters your perception. It helps them be more creative and carefree, while causing paranoia, disorientation, panic attacks, or causing one to become overly analytic. It disrupts memory and inhibitory control, and slows cognitive functioning. The part that is most affected it the prefrontal cortex, where there are many receptors that marijuana acts on. As for teens, the documentary mentions that in undeveloped brains, the white matter of the brain is impaired. People who start smoking earlier are slower, less intelligent, and higher risk of strokes. It pretty much damages young brains.
- What health issue from smoking cannabis were not talked about in the documentary?
Possible lung damage from the smoke or what the smoke could do to your teeth is not addressed. These problems are probably why the family in the beginning of the documentary didn’t want their daughter smoking it.
- Why do you think that the more powerful drugs that were prescribed to the patients in the documentary are prescribed by doctors.
Marijuana hasn’t been researched as much as other drugs, so it is possible many doctors aren’t willing to risk prescribing it and possibly deal with the consequences later on. The stigmatization of marijuana is likely also a factor to this. Furthermore, the marijuana industry isn’t as big as other drug industries since its use as medicine is an idea many people did not ponder for a long time. Other drugs have been used for a long time, people know they work somewhat. It is safer to the doctor for them to prescribe something traditional over something more unorthodox like marijuana.
- Do you think recreational ‘pot’ advocates help or hurt medical marijuana research and usage? How so?
They can do some of both. They advocate the drug so they can cause more people to buy marijuana or they could buy it themselves, so they put money into the marijuana industry which can be used for research. However, I’m sure many of them spread false information about the drug to promote it, which could be harmful to people who use it. For example, it is likely many people who smoke or ingest marijuana tell others it’s harmful or natural, while in reality it could cause mild to severe brain damage depending on the use. So, it really depends how you look at it, but it can go both ways.
- In a paragraph answer write a review on the Dr. Sanjay Gupta documentary ‘Weed’. What did you learn? What surprised you? What do agree/disagree with you.
While I learned many of the things covered in the Weed documentary on my own beforehand, I did learn some new things. First of all, I learned that marijuana can be made into an oil for medical use. This is really interesting to me and opens up possibilities for the use of medical marijuana without having to smoke it, since that could lead to lung damage. Another thing I learned about which was not completely related to marijuana was Duvets syndrome. This was the first I’d ever heard of such, and it was interesting as well as shocking to see the lengths the Figgys were forced to go to in order to find relief for their daughter, which ties into what surprised me. I was surprised at how reluctant many people were to use marijuana medically. Even trained medical professional preferred dangerous and potentially fatal options over the relatively safe marijuana. While I do have some ideas for why this is the case, which I covered earlier, I was still surprised that they wouldn’t even consider trying it and that the families were forced to take action themselves.
I agree with many of the things mentioned in Weed, but I did have some gripes with it. For most of its runtime, the documentary seems very bias. For one thing, it does not go over the potential lung damage that could occur from smoking marijuana. However, this is pretty minor since it goes over many of the mental effects marijuana can have on someone, so it does still educate both sides of the argument for and against marijuana. Overall, I thought Weed was very informative and interesting.