Facts & Resources
Meet the Filmmakers
Documentary for Health & Social Justice
"The National Institute of Drug Abuse is the only legal source of Cannabis for doing research in the country, and they are not prone to fund studies that might demonstrate that Cannabis has a beneficial therapeutic effect." Dr. Donald Abrams
CANNABIS: THERAPEUTIC POTENTIAL takes an insightful look at the medicinal properties of the cannabis plant and the hurdles it faces towards legalization for medicinal use and research. A recent national poll shows that 73% of Americans support legalization for medical use, and since 1996 thirteen states have legalized the plant for medicinal use. Despite this widespread public acceptance, cannabis remains illegal on the federal level for medicinal use. This legal limbo has far reaching consequences for physicians, researchers, and American medical patients.
Cannabis: Therapeutic Potential addresses the obstacles surrounding the legality of medical cannabis. It examines the role that the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 has had on clinical research of this plant as a medicine and the erroneous scheduling of cannabis as a schedule 1 drug, which gives it the same legal status as hard illicit street drugs such as heroin and ecstasy.
Produced in collaboration with Americans for Safe Access, the largest grassroots medical cannabis advocacy group in the country, the film examines some of the many illnesses and conditions for which cannabis has shown realized and potential medicinal value. Although its legal status makes it difficult to access or research, cannabis is gaining a large following of doctors, patients, and research advocates who recognize its medical potential and demand it be reclassified by the federal government to allow unimpeded clinical research.The film also presents the story of a patient's struggle with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, and her discovery that cannabis is the most effective form of treatment for her condition. Also examined are the efforts of Americans for Safe Access to advocate for more research and accessibility to this promising medicine. Logical, concise, and urgent, Cannabis: Therapeutic Potential raises many interesting ideas and issues surrounding medical cannabis and questions the erroneous position of the federal government on this vital issue.
- Uses and benefits of medicinal marijuana
- The need to build on existing marijuana research
- Advocating for a re-classification of marijuana by US Federal Government in order to advance research on the medicinal properties of cannabis
- Where have you gotten your information about marijuana? How was it presented to you?
- How is marijuana viewed in your home? In your community? In your state?
- Dr. Abrams stated a few of the benefits of medical marijuana. What were they?
- The film talks about difficulties in researching medical cannabis. What are some of these difficulties? What role has the scheduling of drugs played in the research of cannabis as a medicine?
- What are your opinions about alternative medicines and practices? Have you practiced any in the past or know someone who has? Would you be willing to try one in the future?
- Beth mentions that taking Valium for her condition is extremely uncomfortable. Do you know someone that is HIV positive, has cancer, is suffering from multiple sclerosis, or diagnosed with a serious illness?
- How do their prescriptions affect them? Have they heard of the medicinal properties of marijuana?
- Thirteen states have now legalized marijuana for medicinal use.
- What do you think are some of the difficulties medical cannabis patients might face in a state where the use of cannabis is strictly prohibited?
- In the film Beth describes the pain she suffers due to her condition. What problems do you see if she were to travel outside of her home state of California to a state that does not recognize marijuana as medicine?
- Do you know where to go to find your state's status in regards to medicinal marijuana?
- What are some ways you can foster debate on medicinal marijuana in your community?
Americans for Safe Access
"Americans for Safe Access is the nation's largest organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research." Learn about the scientific research on marijuana, the past and current legislation, and ways to get involved in their own community. The site also provides discussion forums and links to other resources.
Waiting to Inhale: Marijuana, Medicine and the Law
"The first film to examine the movement to legalize cannabis for medical use."
This site provides information surrounding the medicinal use of marijuana, current news involving the film and web links.
Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana
Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) is an organization seeking to educate the general public regarding the medical usefulness of Marijuana, and to insure that seriously ill patients have access to a safe, natural supply of Marijuana to treat their individual medical conditions as prescribed or recommended by their physician, and to document the medical efficacy of Marijuana through scientific observations.
Cannabis Patient Network
Mark Pedersen, a medical marijuana patient, provides visitors with an array of testimonials from medical marijuana patients who lay out the problems they have had with other drugs and the illnesses that they suffer from.
Meet the Filmmakers
Cannabis: Therapeutic Potential
A Film by Michael Crammond, Adrian Paulus, Jordan Wright, & Aaron Ornelas
Michael Crammond is currently a graduate student in visual anthropology at San Francisco State University. His last film focused on the artist in residency program at the San Francisco dump. His next major project will be in Tanzania focusing on the migrant Maasai population. Outside of academia, Michael likes to b-boy (aka breakdance) and play claw-grab machines (see picture). The future is unknown for Michael. He started his undergraduate career in electrical engineering in Illinois, graduated with a degree in kinesiology and is now in San Francisco getting his masters degree in visual anthropology. Perhaps next is a PhD is something different. His dream is to create an interactive piece of multimedia detailing the history of street dance in America, focusing especially upon hip hop dance communities (breakin', poppin', lockin', rockin', and various social dances).
Adrian Paulus, a Bay Area native, began developing an interest in film making when she was at Diablo Valley College where she made her first short film. After transferring to SFSU as a cinema student, she began to practice production skills through the creation of several short films under the name "Street Kid Films". She then worked as a production intern for a successful media company in Sausalito, where she did some P.A. and minor voice talent. While always passionate about health and social justice issues, she was eager to work on Cannabis: Therapeutic Potential, her first documentary film. Adrian will be graduating this winter with a B.A. in Cinema, and wishes to continue her strong interest in production and post-production within the Bay Area film community and beyond.
Jordan Wright, 24, is currently finishing his final year of an impressive tenure at San Francisco State University that saw him pursue double majors in Cinema Production, French, and a minor in international relations. An avid filmmaker as a child, his passion has only increased and matured in response to the myriad influences and interests in his life. An avid and aspiring big wave surfer, he regularly braves the dangerous waves of mavericks in half moon bay California. Jordan has traveled around the world to over 18 countries, learning languages, interacting with the local cultures, shooting films, and surfing. Jordan finds passion and drive in examining issues relating to the environment, sustainability, third world development, and areas of societal social constraint. He has worked on a variety of documentary projects, from surfing localism to the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis. He is currently in pre production on a film about the lack of adult sex education in American society. Some of Jordan's future projects will take him to Fiji, Sweden, and Africa. An insatiable thirst for knowledge, immense creative skills, and many diverse interests, promise him a bright future as an active agent of social change.
From a young age Aaron Ornelas was drawn to the creative arts. His love for photography in high school evolved in college into a fascination with cinema. Currently a senior at San Francisco State University, he is working to earn his BA in Cinema and graduate in the spring of 2009. Aaron's interest in documentary film motivated him to join the Documentary for Health and Social Justice class where with his fellow teammates created Cannabis: Therapeutic Potential (2009), his first documentary. Being involved in several film student projects so far this year has kept him busy working and motivated to continue in this demanding field after college, hopefully overseas. Until then he continues to study, work, and live in San Francisco.
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The information on these pages is provided by the student film makers and does not represent an endorsement or verification of statements from the Health Equity Institute