Review: Weediquette ep 1 – Stoned Kids

This doco’s biggest strength is the range of perspectives it shows

Like many other millennials, I spent a significant portion of my teenage years smoking copious amounts of weed while bingeing on Vice on YouTube. These pseudo-druggy-hipster documentaries were a vital asset in my crusade to convince people who already smoke weed that they should totally smoke weed.

MORE: Weediquette falls flat in the ratings, but so did Viceland

Though the tone of the show has been criticised for its sensationalism and liberal bias, any avenue for people to become more educated on the issues and rewards of ganja is beneficial, provided it is judged with equal parts reservation and open-mindedness. So, needless to say the news that Vice would be releasing a series aptly named “Weediquette” left me both intrigued and sceptical.

The first episode, “Stoned Kids”, explores the effects medical cannabis has had on children living with leukemia. It appears that weed not only makes Disney movies great again but can also alleviate many side effects of chemotherapy such as nausea, appetite suppression and neuropathic pain. Though most of the leukemia patients use cannabis in conjunction with chemotherapy, 17-year-old Olivia ends her treatment early and uses only cannabis: “My counts were getting better but my doctor wanted me to be taking more chemo to kill more, but I told her I was going to be taking cannabis because cannabis kills cancer without killing anything in your body.”

Remarkably, Olivia’s leukemia stays in remission, but at this point her account is anecdotal. The illegality of cannabis has stifled studies pertaining to its long-term effects and only more recently in legal states such as Oregon have studies begun to take place.

Of course every Vice doco has to have its obligatory ‘guy gets stoned and describes his unique feelings to the camera’ section, and this premiere is not exempt from that tiresome tradition. However vaguely entertaining this can be, it’s concerning to think that we still need to entertain people to interest them in the potential benefits of cannabis. In order for medicinal cannabis to be taken seriously we need to firmly define the differences between a stoner culture of recreational use and the meticulous scientific study of a drug that holds medicinal properties.

This doco’s biggest strength is the range of perspectives it shows. In true Vice fashion we get to view this topic from multiple angles: doctors, patients, advocates, and those producing the cannabis oil used to medicate. The central question of the episode is an interesting one: Do the immediate benefits of cannabis outweigh the potential long-term effects? It’s a question that certainly serves as a catalyst for further thought.

To say the least, Viceland has my attention and I look forward to the next instalment of pseudo-gonzo goo.

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