One of the clearest takeaways that Dr. Gupta’s Weed revealed to me was that the drug, almost inherently, is associated with controversy and doubt. Because of this, I thought that Dr. Gupta’s efforts to show some of the success stories associated with marijuana and the benefits it can cause were extremely compelling and positive. While most of the marijuana users Dr. Gupta spoke to were convincing in their own way, the most compelling example of the upside of marijuana was certainly the story of Charlotte Figi. Charlotte, who suffered from a very rare and potentially fatal disorder from birth, had lived much of her early life in a severe and nearly permanent catatonic state. Her struggles to find medication or treatment that helped alleviate her issues were vast and Weed showed just how much her parents struggled to try and keep her alive.
The reason that Charlotte’s story was particularly compelling for me was that her situation was incredibly unique and brought with it a looming possibility of death. At an extremely young age, Charlotte had to be exposed to drugs that many adults struggle to take because of the side effects. Her ongoing seizures, which occurred as frequently as twice every hour every single day, limited her possibilities to live any sort of life. The reality of Charlotte’s condition was heartbreaking, and to hear about the drastic changes that occurred when marijuana was introduced was incredible. The idea that those changes were coincidental is a reflection of the senseless opposition people have towards marijuana simply because of what it is.
As an individual, one of the most important things I can advocate for is accepting and understanding real-life results that arise from the use of any type of medicine. Regardless of whether prescription drugs or marijuana is used, I believe that the most important information that should be examined are the results of that drug use. Before watching Weeds, I had previously heard of some of the circumstances under which marijuana had been used as a medicinal treatment. I was aware of some of the successes it had on patients and the rarity with which it was directly linked with causing serious side effects or drawbacks. Because of this, my understanding of the legality of marijuana, from a medical standpoint, was that it should be entirely legal. Furthermore, specific strains of marijuana should be cultivated and regulated by the medical industry to raise the rate of research on marijuana and understand the extent of effects it can have on diseases. I also extended my openness of marijuana to recreational use, as I have seen that its adverse effects are quite limited. Rates of dependence are quite low, with the highest possibility for dependency being for users who begin marijuana use before the age of 18 (NIDA 1). Furthermore, I believe that there is a sense of responsibility every person has when they take a drug, whether prescription or otherwise, to know that they should not engage in behavior that can endanger themselves or others.
Speaking from a medical standpoint, I believe that Weed has only served to reinforce the opinions that I had about marijuana from before. One of the biggest concerns raised in the film was regarding the question of potential addiction in early users. Unfortunately, the reality of any drug use, including those given in hospitals like morphine or Vicodin, is that there is always a risk of potential addiction. The film notably pointed out that drugs like alcohol have much higher rates of addiction despite their legal status and lack of health benefits, and I once again raise the issue of personal responsibility and accountability. With regards to recreational use, Weed strengthened my opinions about the right that people have to access and enjoy marijuana at their convenience. Access to drugs like tobacco and alcohol, both of which have proven drawbacks on individual and group health, is entirely unrestricted and socially acceptable. The rates of dependency for these substances are proven to be much higher and more immediately dangerous. Ignoring these dangers and restricting the rights of people is fundamentally wrong, and therefore I firmly believe that recreational marijuana should also be legalized.
Gupta, Sanjay. “Dr Sanjay Gupta's CNN Special ‘WEED’.” Youtube, 11 Apr. 2013, https://youtu.be/Z3IMfIQ_K6U.
NIDA. "Marijuana." National Institute on Drug Abuse, 28 Apr. 2017, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana. Accessed 15 Jul. 2017.