Arizona Advances Bill To Make Medical Cannabis Available to Patients with PTSD, Autism

A bill that would expand the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis and lower the cost of the treatment was approved by lawmakers in Arizona. 

The bill, SB 1466, was approved on Monday by a legislative committee. If it were to become law, the measure would result in a host of changes to the state’s medical cannabis law––perhaps most notably, the addition of autism and post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of qualifying conditions. 

It was approved by a 7-2 vote by members of the Health and Human Services Committee Hearing.

The outlet AZMarijuana has a rundown of the key points of the bill, which includes: “Reduction of medical marijuana card costs to $50, with renewals every 2 years; 100% waiver of medical marijuana card costs to veterans; Adding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder into statute; Adds Autism Spectrum Disorder as a debilitating medical condition; Alignment of the advertising, packaging, and branding to match the rules in Smart and Safe; Requires protections for children – child resistant packaging, prohibits advertising attractive to children, adds advertising restrictions; Alignment of the definition of marijuana and marijuana products; Codifying the use of telehealth; Updating the details of the requirements in the QR Code and track/traceability; Provide a unified cover sheet for COAs to simplify consumer/patient experience; Removes a government-led lab testing council and replaces with a full public forum.” 

The group Arizona Dispensaries Association has strongly backed the legislation.

“ADA supports SB1466, which gives veterans the ability to acquire a medical marijuana card at no cost,” said Ann Torrez, executive director of the Arizona Dispensaries Association, as quoted by AZMarijuana. “Often veterans suffer from PTSD, insomnia, heightened anxiety and chronic pain. A free medical marijuana card gives veteran patients access to medical cannabis treatment for any of these common conditions.”

“The ADA’s primary mission is to promote and advocate for a safe, consumer-focused cannabis industry in Arizona,” Torrez continued. “We aim to continuously educate consumers on the importance of visiting only licensed dispensaries and consuming only THC and CBD products that have been lab tested and approved.”

The bill is being considered at a time when Arizona’s medical cannabis industry is enduring sluggish sales. 

In October, medical marijuana sales in the state amounted to a little more than $31 million, which was the eighth consecutive month of decline. 

Meanwhile, the state’s adult-use cannabis market, which launched in January 2021, continues to thrive.

In that same month, recreational cannabis sales in Arizona totaled $73.8 million, which was a new high.

As AZ Mirror reported earlier this year, the “crumbling of the medical program follows a pattern other states have seen with medical markets outpaced by recreational sales in the wake of legalization.”

The outlet reported in January: “The state collects 16% excise tax on recreational sales in addition to the standard sales tax; medical patients pay roughly 6% in state sales tax, levied as a Transaction Privilege Tax on cannabis outlets. Local jurisdictions charge an additional 2% or so for all marijuana sales. One-third of recreational taxes collected are dedicated to community college and provisional community college districts; 31% to public safety — police, fire departments, fire districts, first responders — 25% to the Arizona Highway User Revenue Fund, and 10% to the justice reinvestment fund, dedicated to providing public health services, counseling, job training and other social services for communities that have been adversely affected and disproportionately impacted by marijuana arrests and criminalization. The medical market has continued to bleed both sales and participants, following a trend in some states that have legalized adult-use cannabis years after establishing medical cannabis markets.”

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Rat Study Examines Psilocybin as Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Little by little, researchers are exploring the effects of psilocybin on people living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)—and the evidence showing the compound’s promise in treating the condition continues to grow.

There is no cure for ASD or similar conditions, so many families resort to behavioral therapies, with few other options on the table. But a rise in alternative therapies involving cannabis or psychedelics is forming, with notable promise from psilocybin.

A study published in the journal Psychopharmacology examined the effects of psilocybin microdoses on Fragile X syndrome (FXS)—a leading cause of autism. FXS is the most common form of inherited intellectual disability (ID) and the leading cause of ASD involving one gene. 

Researchers gave different doses of psilocybin to test rats and then tested their cognitive abilities. They examined cognitive deficits displayed by the recently validated Fmr1-Δexon 8 rat “model of ASD,” which is also a model of FXS, and how psilocybin plays a role. 

The study, “Psilocybin mitigates the cognitive deficits observed in a rat model of Fragile X syndrome,” examined rat microdoses of psilocybin for 5-14 day periods.

Serotonin insufficiencies during childhood may have an impact on brain patterning in neurodevelopmental disorders, manifesting as behavioral and emotional symptoms, researchers explained in the study. And since psilocybin stimulates serotonergic signaling, it may offer promise as effective early interventions for developmental disorders such as ASD and FXS.

Researchers first gave rats a single large dose of psilocybin and then tested any changes to their cognitive abilities, finding some improvements. Rats that did not have FXS led to reductions in cognitive performance. 

Researchers then gave another group of rats microdoses over the course of five days, giving them cognition tests daily. 

They observed improvements in all of the rats to the extent that their cognition results were nearly identical to rats that did not have FXS. Researchers ran the experiment again, extending it to two weeks, and they found identical results.

“Our results revealed that systemic and oral administration of psilocybin microdoses normalizes the aberrant cognitive performance displayed by adolescent […] rats in the short-term version of the novel object recognition test—a measure of exploratory behavior, perception, and recognition,” researchers wrote.

The data supports existing theories of how psilocybin may affect the production of serotonin and thus help people living with cognitive and emotional conditions.

“These data support the hypothesis that serotonin-modulating drugs such as psilocybin may be useful to ameliorate ASD-related cognitive deficits. Overall, this study provides evidence of the beneficial effects of different schedules of psilocybin treatment in mitigating the short-term cognitive deficit observed in a rat model of FXS.”

The goal is to eventually commence clinical trials of psilocybin on human patients. 

Researchers across the board are experimenting with psilocybin (as well as several cannabis compounds) to treat ASD and other autism-related conditions.

One Canadian research team has studies already underway. Dr. Max Jones and Dr. Gale Bozzo, two professors at University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College (Department of Plant Agriculture), received a Health Canada “dealer’s license” on Oct. 25. The license permits the cultivation of psilocybin mushrooms, and is one of the first universities in Canada to be permitted to do so.

Dr. Melissa Perreault, Professor in Ontario Veterinary College’s Department of Biomedical Sciences, has experience and has previously involved studies of the molecular and cellular mechanisms associated with medical conditions like depression or ASD. Her plan is to examine the signaling pathways that psilocybin might affect.

More research is needed to determine psilocybin’s efficacy for the treatment of ASD in human trials.

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Study: CBD Oil Safe, Effective for Autism Patients

CBD oil may represent an effective treatment option for patients with autism, according to new research published late last month.

The case study, conducted by a team of Canadian researchers and published on August 26 in the journal Cureus, aimed “to demonstrate the use of cannabidiol (CBD) with low-dose tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in managing symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to increase the overall quality of life for these individuals and their families.”

The study centered around a nine-year-old male patient who was diagnosed with nonverbal autism spectrum disorder who “exhibited emotional outbursts, inappropriate behaviors, and social deficits including challenges in communicating his needs with others.”

The nine-year-old patient “required daily insulin injections, which were accompanied by self-injurious actions including head and chest punching,” the researchers said, and he “displayed inappropriate behaviors such as playing with feces and rocking on the floor for self-soothing (stimming).”

“Since the patient was unable to attain independence at school and at home, his condition was a significant burden to his caregivers,” the researchers explained in the abstract. “The patient was treated with full-spectrum high CBD and low THC oil formulation, with each milliliter containing 20 mg of CBD and <1 mg of THC. CBD oil starting dose was 0.1ml twice daily, increased every three to four days to 0.5ml twice daily. Overall, the patient experienced a reduction in negative behaviors, including violent outbursts, self-injurious behaviors, and sleep disruptions. There was an improvement in social interactions, concentration, and emotional stability. A combination of high CBD and low-dose THC oil was demonstrated to be an effective treatment option for managing symptoms associated with autism, leading to a better quality of life for both the patient and the caregivers.”

According to the researchers, the patient “began CBD treatments through a medical cannabis clinic at age 7.5 years starting with full-spectrum high CBD and low THC oil formulation.”

“Within the first two weeks of starting treatment, the patient was able to fall asleep in 10-15 minutes and sleep for 8-10 hours,” they wrote. “He stopped wearing pull-up diapers as he was able to go to the washroom, wash his hands, and go back to bed without supervision, demonstrating a new behavior. There was reduced anxiety contributing to improved mood and concentration. He was able to practise gripping his pencil and trace letters. He started to follow simple instructions, such as retrieving three separate clothing items. At school, the patient received report cards with better grades and experienced less anger. This improvement allowed him to interact with his peers without signs of aggression. The patient’s mother stated, “Since starting CBD, teachers and (the) principal have noted significant positive changes. He sits for over 30 minutes, holds a marker, and is focused enough to try and trace letters or numbers. The change has been amazing for us to witness.”

The researchers concluded that the patient “responded positively to the introduction of CBD oil treatment with reduced negative behaviors, better sleep, and improved communication.”

“With the increasing clinical studies on the use of cannabidiol in treating patients with mood disorders, anxiety, chronic pain conditions, and other behavioral problems, it should be considered as a treatment option in managing symptoms related to autism,” they wrote. “In the case study presented, the child patient has shown behavioral and cognitive improvements with no side effects reported. Altogether, this study presents a case that motivates further research and clinical studies to understand the molecular mechanism of CBD as well as the dosing regimes for pediatric populations, the etiology of ASD, and how various dosing affect different demographics.”

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Can Cannabis Treat Autism?

Fewer and fewer places in the US remain where it’s still a criminal act for adults 21 and older to use cannabis. Even fewer places deny sick Americans (with the right sickness to qualify them as medical marijuana patients) some accommodation to use cannabis lawfully. But even these 14 cannabis legalization holdouts agree that it’s OK to give marijuana extracts to kids, as long as those kids have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. And with good reason. Miraculous stories are all over the internet, such as children speaking their first words after using cannabis oil, or autistic adults with severe anxiety and near-total social isolation rejoining society after smoking cannabis. So, this begs the question, “Can cannabis ‘treat’ autism?”

A definitive final answer is elusive. However, as a review authored by researchers led by Mariana Babayeva, a professor at the Touro College of Pharmacy in New York and recently published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Bioscience found, a growing number of “clinical studies have shown promising results of cannabis treatment in” autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

How Cannabis Helps Autism

This makes practical and scientific sense. CBD and THC activate the network of receptors called the endocannabinoid system. “Due to its vital role in regulating emotion and social behaviors, the endocannabinoid system represents a potential target for the development of a novel autism therapy,” the study states.

Cannabis does help autism, as this latest review, prior studies and loads of compelling, convincing anecdotal stories say. But what cannabis treatment would work best for each individual case of autism, and how much cannabis should be given in those instances?

“It’s too early for anyone to recommend cannabis as a validated, well-studied type of a substance,” said Dr. Nathan Call, director of clinical operations at the Marcus Autism Center in North Druid Hills, Georgia, in a recent interview.

That’s the final word on cannabis and autism that’s yet to be spelled out. In the meantime, autism and cannabis suffer from the same knowledge gaps plaguing the rest of cannabis-based medicine.

Defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain,” autism has several known risk factors, but lacks a clearly identifiable cause. Treatments generally involve the off-label use of pharmaceutical drugs as a last and final desperate intervention to prevent behavior dangerous to the person or to others, as well as careful education—and plenty of coping skills.

However, as the authors of the Frontiers in Bioscience review noted, “several studies have suggested that dysfunctions in the components of the endocannabinoid system may contribute to the behavioral deficits and neuroinflammation observed in autism.”

Other studies have associated autism with problems with the body’s immune system. And there are endocannabinoid receptors found in immune cells that could “control the movement of inflammatory cells,” meaning if the receptors can be given the right amount of cannabis to generate the right response, that, too, might soothe the symptoms sufficiently to allow the sufferer to enjoy something closer to a “normal” life.

Given the knowledge gaps, studies investigating cannabis’ potential in treating autism have, by necessity, taken a shotgun approach, trying concoctions with low THC, no THC, high THC or ratios of CBD to THC including 20:1.

The 20:1 concoction, hit on by researchers in Israel, seemed to consistently present good results for most participants, with self-injury and rage improving in 67.6% of children in one 53-person study—but worsening in 8.8% of participants. And using cannabis in children is, of course, particularly delicate work.

What We Know, What We Don’t

But despite knowing this much, we still don’t know enough. As Babayeva and her co-authors stated, “there are very limited clinical data on the impact of cannabis on autism”—which, like cannabis, has many different phenotypes. And what works for someone with behavioral outbursts might not work for someone with severe anxiety.

“While cannabis might be beneficial in persons with one phenotype, it may have no effect or severe adverse outcomes in persons with other phenotypes,” the researchers wrote in their review.

Simply put, there isn’t enough data yet on specific cannabis concoctions for specific phenotypes of autism, leading parents and practitioners to grope around in the dark, hoping to stumble onto the winning formula.

“More clinical investigations are needed to discover the efficacy, safety and dosing of the therapy,” the report states. “This would be a significant advance in the treatment of autism and could lead to improved functioning and quality of life for the patients and their families.”

Cannabis and Autism: The Final Word, For Now

Dale Jackson lives in Georgia, one of the states where adults can’t use cannabis without risking arrest, but where children with autism—like Jackson’s nine-year-old son Colin—are supposed to be able to access the drug. Without cannabis oil, Colin engages in the kind of self-harm associated with an autism spectrum disorder. Jackson wakes up at night hearing a thumping sound from his child’s room: the sound of Colin knocking his own head against the bedroom wall.

Cannabis has helped, but the problem, as Jackson said recently, is that Georgia’s nice-sounding law is unworkable. There’s “nowhere to buy it in Georgia,” Jackson recently told WALB, which means Jackson must resort to illicit means: underground medicine-makers in Georgia, or legally obtaining cannabis oil in other states and then illegally transporting it across state lines.

These are reasonable acts for a desperate parent with a child in distress, but both are unlawful.

“When you’re a caregiver of a child who’s hurting you every day or hurting themselves every day, you’re willing to try a lot of things to try to make your life a little bit better,” Dr. Call told The Atlanta Jewish Times.

At the present time, seven studies investigating cannabis in autism are in various stages of completion at universities across the US and Israel. Once the new data is presented, more, larger and longer-term studies will be required to present a definitive answer on how much CBD or THC is needed for the exact autism spectrum disorder. Until then, the final word on cannabis and autism is that it seems to help—it may even be a miracle cure. But finding the right mix is a shot in the dark.

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How Cannabis Can Help Autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental and neurological disorder. Autism is a neurodivergence that primarily affects the synapses and connections between brain cells that help with communication, sensory processing and learning. While it is not unusual for one to discover they’re autistic at any age, many find out between ages two and four. And in […]

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Ohio Lawmakers Advance Bill To Allow Medical Cannabis for Autism

A bid in Ohio to allow patients with autism to be treated with medical cannabis gained momentum this week, with lawmakers in the state House overwhelmingly passing a bill on Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by a Democrat and a Republican, passed by a vote of 73-13, according to, and it will now move to the state Senate for consideration. (Republicans hold the majority in both chambers.)

“This bill is a direct result of the needs and wants of the people of Ohio who are on the autism spectrum,” said Democratic state House Rep. Juanita Brent, one of the co-sponsors of the bill. “It will help ensure legal access to a plant-based solution free from costly prescription medications or other outdated and sometimes harmful treatments.”

Should the measure ultimately become law, Ohio would join 17 other states that currently allow patients with autism to receive medical cannabis. Under the Buckeye State’s current medical marijuana law, patients with the following qualifying conditions may be eligible for the treatment: AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, Huntington’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable, Parkinson’s disease, positive status for HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, Spasticity, spinal cord disease or injury, terminal illness, Tourette syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and ulcerative colitis.

The bill would also represent a long-awaited breakthrough for advocates who have tried unsuccessfully for years to add autism to the state’s list of qualifying conditions.

In 2020, the Ohio State Medical Board rejected a petition to include autism and anxiety among the qualifying conditions.

The board received public comments from opponents and supporters of the proposal. Sarah Kincaid of the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association said at the time that the “inclusion of autism and anxiety as conditions has the potential to negatively impact the health and well being of thousands of children in Ohio.”

Carrie Taylor, a mother with two sons who have autism, expressed frustration back then and wondered if autism would ever be covered by the state’s medical cannabis law.

“Our voice is not being heard right now,” Taylor said at the time. “These doctors have this thought in their mind, and they’re obviously set in stone where they stand. We’re not trying to give them something that’s not legalized with other medical purposes.”

Brent, the sponsor of the bill that passed out of the House this week, said in January that “if the legislature does not address the public outcry for change, I know it will be brought to the ballot box.”

In addition to Brent’s bill, the Ohio state Senate passed its own bill in December that could also open up medical cannabis treatment to patients with autism.

Under that bill, which was brought forward by a GOP state senator and is now being considered by a state House committee, physicians in Ohio could “recommend marijuana for treatment for any condition if the physician, in the physician’s sole discretion and medical opinion, finds either of the following”: “that the patient’s symptoms may reasonably be expected to be relieved from medical marijuana” and “that the patient may otherwise reasonably be expected to benefit from medical marijuana.”

The bill would also explicitly add arthritis, migraines, autism spectrum disorder, spasticity or chronic muscle spasms, hospice care or terminal illness, and opioid use disorder to the list of qualifying conditions.

Should that bill become law, it would be the biggest change to Ohio’s medical cannabis program, which launched in 2016.

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South Carolina Senate To Debate Medical Cannabis Bill

South Carolina senators will debate a bill to legalize the medicinal use of cannabis this week after an eight-year effort to bring the proposal to the floor of the state Senate. If passed, Senate Bill 150 would allow patients with certain debilitating medical conditions to use medical cannabis products. A companion measure, House Bill 3361, is also pending in the South Carolina House of Representatives.

Last week, Senators unanimously agreed to assign special order status to the bill, which faces strong opposition in deeply conservative South Carolina. As a legislative priority, senators will be required to approve or reject the bill before moving on to other legislation. Debate on the bill is expected to begin Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, according to media reports.

The measure, known as the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, was first proposed in 2015 by Republican Sen. Tom Davis. In 2018, the Senate Medical Affairs Committee advanced the bill to the Senate floor but senators opposed to the measure blocked the legislation from coming up for debate. At the close of the 2021 legislative session, Republican leaders promised Davis that the bill would come up for a vote this year.

“If you pound at the door long enough. If you make your case. If the public is asking for something, the state Senate owes a debate,” Davis told The Post and Courier. “The people of South Carolina deserve to know where their elected officials stand on this issue.”

South Carolina Medical Cannabis Bill Contains Strict Limits

The Compassionate Care Act would allow patients with one or more qualifying health conditions to use cannabis medicinally. Qualifying debilitating medical conditions include cancer, multiple sclerosis, a neurological disease or disorder (including epilepsy), sickle cell disease, glaucoma, PTSD, autism, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, cachexia, a condition causing a person to be home-bound that includes severe or persistent nausea, terminal illness with a life expectancy of less than one year, a chronic medical condition causing severe and persistent muscle spasms or a chronic medical condition for which an opioid is or could be prescribed based on accepted standards of care.

Smoking cannabis would not be allowed. Instead, patients would have access to medical marijuana products including vaporizers, topicals, and patches. Patients would be allowed to purchase up to a two-week supply of cannabis products at a time.

The bill also establishes rules for physicians to recommend medical cannabis and regulations for the production and sale of medical marijuana, including a requirement that cannabis dispensaries complete a licensing process every two years. Dispensaries would be required to contract with a state-licensed pharmacist, physician’s assistant or clinical practice nurse with training in the medicinal use of cannabis. Cannabis products would be subject to testing and labeling requirements and a seed-to-sale tracking system would be established to monitor transfers of medical marijuana products. Davis said the legislation would create the nation’s strictest medicinal cannabis program.

“I want to empower physicians. I want to help patients who could benefit from cannabis to alleviate their medical conditions,” Davis told reporters. “But I want it to be tightly regulated and controlled. I don’t want it to be a precursor to adult recreational use.”

Advocates Back Legislation

The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act is supported by medical cannabis advocates including Jill Swing, the founder and president of the South Carolina Compassionate Care Alliance. She believes her daughter would benefit from medical cannabis.

“Mary Louise shouldn’t have to continue to suffer and other patients across the state shouldn’t continue to suffer when this medication is available in 36 other states,” said Swing.

“I genuinely hope that every single Senator that walks into that chamber opens their minds and their hearts,” she added.

But Davis’ bill is opposed by law enforcement leaders, who cite public safety issues and the fear that permitting medical marijuana will lead to the legalization of recreational cannabis.

“If marijuana is medicine, it should be regulated as every other medicine is regulated. We are aware of no other medication that has to be approved by the General Assembly,” said Jarrod Bruder, executive director of the South Carolina Sheriff’s Association. “This (bill) includes a lot of other things — including vaping, including edibles. This is not going to your local pharmacy — it’s going to a dispensary. This is not being treated like every other medicine is.”

Kevin Tolson, the executive director of the law enforcement group, said in a statement that legalizing medical cannabis in South Carolina would lead to increased traffic accidents and financial crimes by cannabis businesses.

“I understand supporters of this bill are seeking to bring comfort and relief to friends and family members who are suffering from debilitating illnesses,” Tolson wrote. “But I can’t endorse or even ignore the attempt to provide relief through illegal methods, especially when those attempts will jeopardize public safety.”

Davis, however, believes that public opinion is on the side of reform. In December, a poll of 300 registered voters found that 54 percent favored legalizing the medicinal use of cannabis, with another 14 percent undecided on the issue.

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Everything you should know about CBD and how it can help you

Having questions, whether you’re an old or new cannabis user, is completely normal. It’s confusing when we talk about hemp, cannabidiol, CBD, cannabis and THC, and how they can all have different effects — especially when they are all linked back to cannabis. Here, we’ll go over everything you should know about CBD, and how […]

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CNN’s Sixth WEED Documentary Features the Benefits of Medical Cannabis for Autism

CNN announced on November 22 that it would be airing the sixth installment of its cannabis series, WEED 6: Cannabis and Autism, which explores the benefits between medical cannabis and symptoms of patients with autism in its debut this weekend. 

Featuring CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta, this segment follows the traditional format of the previous WEED series to introduce viewers to firsthand experiences with medical cannabis benefits. “Autism, ASD for Autism Spectrum Disorder, is by definition a wide array of behaviors. Whether mild or severe, two core symptoms are social communication challenges and restrictive or repetitive behaviors,” CNN states in a press release. “In WEED 6: Cannabis and Autism, viewers will meet researchers, doctors, and families, some of whom are coming out publicly for the first time, and will see in real-time how life-changing the plant can be for them.”

The first WEED documentary released in 2013, and opened up an entirely new discussion on the stigma of weed. The honest headline of Gupta’s 2013 CNN article “Why I changed my mind on weed” directly opposed his 2009 TIME article “Why I would vote No on Pot.” 

In his 2013 article, Gupta apologizes for letting the cannabis stigma prevent him from seeing the plant’s true potential. “Well, I am here to apologize,” he wrote. “I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.”

In WEED, he brought the spotlight to Charlotte Figi, a young Colorado girl suffering from Dravet syndrome, who found relief with medical cannabis. She sadly passed away in 2020, but her example has inspired many other parents to seek out medical cannabis for their children.

It’s been eight years since that original documentary released, and Gupta has produced a total of six documentaries with a unique perspective on cannabis. In WEED 2: Cannabis Madness (2014) he dove into the complexities of politics when it comes to medical cannabis. WEED 3: The Marijuana Revolution (2015) continued to review the benefits of medical cannabis. WEED 4: Pot vs. Pills (2018) tackled the devastating effects of the opioid crisis, and how medical cannabis can help. Finally WEED 5: The CBD Craze (2019) explored the boom of CBD and the dangers of an unregulated market.

Since 2013, Gupta has been a strong proponent of medical cannabis, but his involvement isn’t limited to the WEED series. Most recently on October 13, 2021, he appeared on an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience where he discussed his stance change on cannabis, and how he publicly came out stating that he was wrong about medical cannabis.

Gupta also provided insight about the problem with many medical studies now being conducted on cannabis. “If you’re just looking at papers—well, this one potential long harm, this one possible addiction, this one gateway—you know, you’re seeing all those individual studies, but at a broader level, one step upstream, you realize that most of the studies that are getting funded are designed to look for harm,” Gupta told Rogan. “When I saw that, that was the first time I thought, ‘well, why are the studies that are getting out there, why are they all designed to look for harm?” he said. “Then I started looking at other countries, and some really good research out of places like Israel in particular.”

WEED 6: Cannabis and Autism will debut on November 28 at 9 p.m. ET on CNN live, and can also be watched on the channel’s live streaming service, CNNgo.

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