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cannabis a multi-billion dollar industry is moving from the illicit market into our daily lives creating a stark divide in a country where people are talking about its medical use someone gets arrested for cannabis every 58 seconds a plant demonized to arrest millions now marketed as a medicine my son had a devastating form of epilepsy and a cannabis compound gave him a life how does the vast array of chemicals in cannabis engage a mysterious system in our bodies the cannabinoid receptor is the most abundant receptor in the brain how a single system can influence so many biological processes is surprising will regular even daily use cure us or hurt us if someone were to tell me that i was dependent on marijuana i would have said no way absolutely not smoked dabbed vaped and eaten today’s cannabis is hyperpotent and far from understood these products are coming online much faster than we can actually research them as federal law blocks science an unintended public health experiment is underway really the questions are for what conditions is it beneficial and for what conditions is it harmful it’s not black and white and it’s complicated what’s the right dose who should use cannabis who shouldn’t it is a highly contentious subject but it’s not about your personal thoughts or feelings what does the data tell us what is the science tells truth through science we should know the answers the cannabis question right now on nova [Music] [Music] more than 80 years after america ended one type of prohibition it’s ending another the majority of people now live in a state where cannabis is legal as a multi-billion dollar industry rises our country is at a crossroads cannabis is genuinely one of the most fascinating discussion topics i’ve ever seen because of how emotionally polarizing it is amongst people and it’s very strange because the entire field of cannabis science is very poorly developed there’s not been a lot of research and there’s a lot of things that we don’t understand and yet what we have in society is groups of people that very fervently believe it is this panacea that can cure any disease that exists or it’s the devil’s grass and it’s going to cause the downfall of society not recognizing that the reality of cannabis is somewhere in the middle [Music] [Music] americans everywhere are turning to cannabis seeking relief from a wide range of ailments including veterans like sean worsley who uses cannabis to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder caused by combat in iraq [Music] our sole purpose was to clear the routes for supply convoys that came through looking for roadside bombs that were on the route i was on a mission and we rode over a hole that was in the center of the road and unfortunately it was a ied that went off knocking me unconscious um and when i woke up medic was in my face asking me was i okay could i hear him after his tour shawn struggled with a traumatic brain injury and disturbing symptoms caused by ptsd for me it’s paranoia insomnia seeing things that aren’t necessarily there shadow people as they call them night terrors dreams but these nightmares were very realistic if i was shot in the dream i would wake up grabbing my chest because i felt the pain shawn’s medications for ptsd had troubling side effects so he got a medical cannabis card cannabis at a low dose can help reduce anxiety relax someone and individuals who have ptsd that newly initiate cannabis use report it being life-changing so i can sleep for the first time in two years and i can go to the grocery store without being so intense and on edge that’s why individuals with ptsd heavily gravitate towards cannabis use [Music] for thousands of years humans have cultivated cannabis for its fiber seeds and medicinal properties [Music] ancient hindu texts claim it was brought by the god shiva for the pleasure of humanity [Music] the plant contains over 400 chemicals including cannabinoids which are most abundant in the resin glands of budding female plants [Music] in the 1960s israeli scientist rafael mushulum isolated thc the psychoactive cannabinoid that makes users feel high [Music] the discovery launched a new chapter in neuroscience [Music] cannabis opened the window into the functioning of our body completely unexpected window because what was discovered was that thc binds to receptors in the brain and outside the brain and when it does so when it binds to these receptors the cells now behave differently cannabinoid receptors named after cannabis are found on nearly every organ in the body they bind with our own cannabis-like molecules called endocannabinoids which regulate functions like sleep cognition memory and mood unlike other brain chemicals they travel backwards across the synapse where they control the release of most neurotransmitters [Music] one of the most amazing things that happened was the discovery of the endocannabinoid system every mammal has one and this is a system of chemicals and receptors throughout the brain and body and really the primary goal of the endocannabinoid system is homeostasis keeping things in balance at mount sinai hospital neuroscientist yasmin hurd remembers the first time she looked for cannabinoid receptors in the human brain seen here in vivid red orange and yellow colors the cannabinoid receptor is the most abundant receptor in the brain when we looked at where these receptors were expressed they’re expressed in brain regions relevant for motor coordination cognition memory emotional regulation reward all of these brain areas are key to so many normal behaviors obviously but also psychiatric disorders as well a key role of the endocannabinoid system is to manage stress in fact the first endocannabinoid found in our body was given a sanskrit name anandamide meaning bliss in response to stress our body mobilizes an endocannabinoid signal and so if something aversive happens to us and we suddenly see a threat in front of us our body kind of goes into high alert mode and we shoot up once we’ve been removed from that threat though our body needs to turn that stress response back off and what we have learned is that this burst of endocannabinoids that occurs in response to stress is really critical for that recovery phase scientists suspect this signal goes awry in people with ptsd and that’s why thc which mimics our own endocannabinoids might help [Music] and so when you look at individuals that have ptsd and use cannabis in short-term trials you see very beneficial outcomes but if all they do is use cannabis and they don’t engage in other behavior therapies to help work through their trauma they’re not treating the root cause of the disorder and it’s important to recognize that thc at higher doses increases anxiety cannabis is not a miracle nothing is a miracle and so really the questions are for what conditions is it beneficial and for what conditions is it harmful and for whom is it beneficial and for whom is it harmful so it’s shades of gray it’s not black and white and it’s complicated in 1996 cannabis was legalized in california for medical use but federally it remains a schedule one drug like heroin making research difficult and leaving patients like elizabeth pinkham on their own to cope with her cancer treatments elizabeth has turned to cannabis [Music] when you go through chemotherapy there are side effects that can be like nauseousness you may have lots of appetite you may have difficulty sleeping so i was looking for something that wasn’t another big heavy-duty pharmaceutical on display one can find cannabis-infused teas sodas candies bath salts psychoactive body washes and flour with thc that can ease nausea when smoked the effects are pretty immediate i’ve definitely gotten my appetite back a little bit more it also helps with neuropathy which is like the numbness in your fingers and your toes this is super medicinal you see how like dark and dense that is that’s indicating more of the indica family good for the body good for pain my staff needs to do the best that they can to try and guide people to the products that are going to serve them the best but my staff they’re not trained doctors and really we should have cannabis medicine being taught in every single medical school across the united states and that’s not happening now because of federal law it’s really a voter approved quote unquote medicine so people say oh there’s medical cannabis that’s approved it has not been it has not gone through fda rigorous research process and that’s what’s critical for medicine i think it would be great if there was a bit more science behind us but i think in the meantime you have to do what works for you and you have to figure this out as you go [Music] but it’s challenging scientists aren’t sure whether cannabis sativa indica and rudoralis are distinct species most cultivars grown today are hybrids they have distinct chemicals called terpenes which create flavors and smells and in addition to thc the plant contains over 100 other cannabinoids one called cbd is flooding the market one in seven adults in the united states are using cbd you see cbd everywhere you see it in the pet stores you see it at beth and beyond at whole foods and so there’s a multi-billion dollar industry that’s built on this plant and they’re all these different hypotheses of what these different chemicals can do to help us but these products are coming online much faster than we can actually research them despite cbd’s availability today it took a group of determined parents to bring it to market one quest began in palo alto california where stanford neuroscientist catherine jacobson set out to treat her son ben’s epilepsy [Music] watching your child have a seizure is really really scary it’s awful right it’s awful because you know that brain damage is happening the kids get scared they get confused and with uncontrolled epilepsy we all live with this fear that they’re gonna die about a third of epilepsy patients don’t respond to medications catherine knew the longer been seizures continued the less likely they’d be controlled could you just give it a medicine [Music] and she was not alone berkeley california her friends fred vogelstein and evelyn nusenbaum also felt powerless to control their son sam’s epilepsy i mean the thing about seizures that most people don’t realize is is that there are dozens of different kinds so the the kind of seizure that most people know about are the grand mal seizures where you just lie on the ground and like start flopping the other seizure that a lot of people know about are staring spells sam had a version of those seizures because he would go unconscious for like 15 seconds when anyone has a seizure you could compare it to an electrical storm or an overtaxed electrical grid we all have electricity in our brains and when someone has a seizure the electricity becomes irregular [Music] every single drug we tried didn’t control the seizures and some of them had pretty nasty side effects one time he had hallucinations and thought he had holes in his skin and there were bugs crawling out of them i thought we were going to have to take him to the psych ward and then they were all the medicines that made him a zombie then they stumbled across research suggesting cannabis might quell seizures i knew nothing about cannabis but i did some research and i found out that obviously there are many different chemicals in cannabis the two most prominent are cbd and thc we know that thc makes people high cbd doesn’t do that ready and so my preference was of course to try cbd first cbd doesn’t bind to cannabinoid receptors directly but its presence seems to reduce the impact of thc it also increases levels of anandamide our bliss molecule and interacts with receptors like serotonin which affect our mood yet in 2011 it was hard to find extracts high in cbd and so we would get these vials and sometimes they would work a little bit and then the next vial wouldn’t work so after probably six to eight months of doing this and seeing no benefit to ben i just said look i’m gonna make my own [Music] when sam first took katherine jacobson’s cbd tincture it was clear as day his seizures were going down immediately unfortunately catherine only had enough for five days and so we had this incredible five-day stretch and then we ran out [Music] cbd also helped katherine’s son ben but her next batch of tinctures were too weak to use drug companies get a lot of abuse for their marketing tactics but the one thing that they do really really well is they make every hill exactly the same it’s sanitized it’s quality controlled and i wanted that for my son [Music] then they heard about an english company called gw pharmaceuticals with greenhouses full of cannabis and labs that could make chemically pure drugs since cbd was illegal in the u.s sam’s family flew to london for treatment while ben’s family waited [Music] after four days of taking gw cbd sam’s seizures dropped from 68 to six per day [Music] the eighth day of treatment he only had three [Music] it worked and it worked fast but the other thing about him improving was that i saw this child that i hadn’t seen since he was four years old and started having seizures except now he was 11 and he was clever and funny and wanted to ride a zipline over london [Music] sam is now seizure-free his story led to clinical trials and in 2018 fda approval of the first cbd drug called epidilex in certain types of epilepsy it can reduce seizures by some 40 percent sam is now in college but since seizures cause brain damage is that a seizure for ben help came too late okay okay hey i have no idea whether epidialex given at six months would have changed the course of his disease i feel like it has reduced the severity of the most severe kinds of seizures he has so i feel like it helps but epidialex is not a miracle drug it’s a tool in the toolbox just like every other anti-seizure drug you try it if it doesn’t work you stop it if it works then you know it changes your life [Music] one of the things that’s like super important about a drug like epidiolex is that for the first time you’ve got a drug that’s derived from cannabis that is completely legitimate for mainstream medicine to study and we’re only beginning to see where that can lead scores of clinical trials are now underway including at uc san diego’s center for medicinal cannabis research look at each dot until it explodes fourteen-year-old braelyn has severe autism okay look with your eyes look right here his parents are hoping cbd might help good job is a very sweet boy who has a great personality he gets extremely anxious if he doesn’t know what’s going to happen and if something happens that he didn’t expect he can be very difficult to manage i want you to get up please no thank you we wanted to see what can be done to try to curb that behavior he was hitting being kind of violent and i’d never forget one therapist told me you want to get a handle on it because it affects his learning if you can’t control the behavior it’s going to be hard for him to focus in class children who have autism have different brain wave patterns than children who don’t there is something different about the way the brain develops it causes children to have tremendous difficulty with social interactions with social communication and it appears that one of the problems may be a type of sensory overload there you go touch my finger and then touch your nose to find out if epidialex might treat severe autism trauner is running a double-blind clinical trial keep him out and close your eyes good over two eight-week sessions children will take either cbd or a placebo and researchers will use a battery of tests to see if the drug helps to study cbd’s impact on the brain in another part of the trial allison muatri will work with human skin cells that’s because skin cells can be converted back into master builder cells and then coaxed to develop as brain cells do forming networks of [Music] neurons these brain cells they will actually self-arrange and form what we call a brain organoid and as they mature over time they start to become more and more electrically active that activity is captured by electrodes placed beneath the cluster of brain cells when their neurons fire they create electrical signaling comparable to a developing brain next the brain cells are treated with different doses of cbd to see if the drug has any impact one of the biggest surprise that we see is that by adding cbd in the culture we actually silence or quiet the activity of these brain cells over time this is not permanent we can wash it out cbd from the system and we see that the brain is able to restore the electrical activity [Music] so what are you going to do in the morning wake up wake up wash up wash up but will cbd calm excess neuronal activity in the brains of children with autism [Music] yes the study is still blinded but braelyn’s parents are certain cbd helped him in phase one of the trial it was dramatic it was like like day so i could be wrong but you know i we both saw the difference having eight weeks of really no hitting no perseveration and things like that was wonderful and then when we went on the second half of the trial he was back to his normal self so i’m hopeful first brown with the cbd here i need to take this take your medicine what we are hearing from the parents is pretty remarkable and we don’t know whether they were on placebo or cbd but it’s really important to get good data that demonstrates whether cbd is effective and whether it’s safe because we’re talking about long-term treatment [Music] treatment that uses hundreds of milligrams of epidiolex [Music] not the small amounts of cbd you can buy in a dispensary as little as four percent and maybe as great as 20 of the cbd that you consume orally actually gets into your body and so it seems like you need to take around about 100 milligrams of cbd oil orally for there to even really be a signal in your bloodstream that you have cbd on board most of the products being sold are like 10 and 20 milligrams and some people say that they benefit from that and even if it’s a placebo effect i’m actually fine with it but what i’m worried about is that the cbd that they’re taking has other chemicals generally only products in legal states that contain thc not cbd are regulated before they can be sold they must be tested in licensed labs for potency and contaminants like pesticides molds and heavy metals using untested cannabis is dangerous but when it comes to assessing risk a key factor is your age because the endocannabinoid system which cannabis targets changes over our lifespan as we grow from being a fetus into becoming an adolescent eventually an adult and an elderly person the endocannabinoid system follows us and at each of these stages of our life serves a slightly different purpose during adolescence our natural endocannabinoids reach their highest levels as the brain rapidly changes it’s also a time when many first try cannabis [Music] so when one consumes thc you’re basically indiscriminately activating all your cannabinoid receptors in your entire body and the entire brain so thc it’s like a hammer on all of these receptors our natural endogenous cannabinoids are never these hammers to understand the impact of cannabis clinical psychologist joanna jacovas has scanned over 1 000 teenage brains to search for differences between those who use the drug and those who don’t today she’s evaluating angel who has smoked cannabis at least once a week for the past year and is curious to learn about its impact [Music] all i needed to really hear is like hey oh you do you want an mri of your brain yes like that to me that’s like really cool i know it’s nerdy but like the substance you’re doing you don’t get to see what it does to your brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging jacobis can study brain structures that are critical for healthy development in young adults the brain is rapidly changing from infancy through childhood adolescence into young adulthood two types of tissue are rapidly changing that support cognitive development so gray matter contains the cell bodies and makes up the cerebral cortex so the outermost lining of the brain and white matter allows gray matter regions to communicate quickly and efficiently [Music] during the teenage years white matter increases and gray matter diminishes as weaker neural connections are eliminated and new ones form to make the brain more efficient jacobus has found that teen cannabis users have a thicker cerebral cortex suggesting that this pruning of synapses has been disrupted now i’m going to read the same list again and it’s not just physical brain changes i want you to tell me as many thousands of cognitive tests reveal that teens who use cannabis regularly struggle more on learning and memory tasks than those who don’t bowl dinner mug it made me realize that memory is probably the biggest thing that impacts me with cannabis but definitely if i stop for a little bit i have a feeling that like it would be easy to remember those things research shows after a period of abstinence cognitive performance can bounce back and the brain changes other studies link them to alcohol or genetic and environmental influences it is possible that cannabis itself is not the culprit that these differences that we see in the brain are pre-existing and that they come before a child ever picks up their first joint you’re going to release your breath to unravel the role of drugs genes and the environment over 11 000 children are being tracked through their teenage years in the adolescent brain cognitive development study and would you say that’s definitely a no kind of no nih researchers will evaluate the children’s physical and mental health academic achievement and drug use with tests of saliva and hair so far few of the children have tried cannabis but there is data from surveys about their parents use one of the things that we were most interested in was prenatal exposures and we saw that there were a fair number of mothers in this study just like what we’re seeing in the general population that used cannabis during their pregnancy and we were able to look and see among those children whose moms used cannabis during pregnancy did we see any difference in their developmental outcomes and one questionnaire that really stood out to us was the psychosis-like experiences assessment and although you couldn’t see anything or anyone did you suddenly start to feel that an invisible energy creature or some person was around you oh yeah yeah okay and did that bother you oh no not so much and this dataset gave us an opportunity to roll back the tape to a period of time in an individual’s life where they’re being exposed at a time when their brain is exquisitely vulnerable did you start to worry at times that your mind was trying to trick you or wasn’t working right oh yeah okay so among kids who were exposed to cannabis following their mother’s knowledge of their pregnancy they experience more psychotic-like experiences they experience more depression and anxiety-like behavior they’re breaking more rules they have more attentional thought problems experiences are associated with an increased risk for mental illnesses like schizophrenia and depression we know that the use of cannabis during pregnancy is increasing we’ve seen advertisements online social media targeting women saying this is something that’s safe for you to use during pregnancy for things like nausea or insomnia and these women are not trying to harm their babies they’re just trying to get through what can be a challenging time as you know we’re interested in looking at rogers and agrawal are now scanning 250 babies to see if brains exposed to cannabis during pregnancy are different from brains that were not thc crosses the placenta so we know the baby’s brain is exposed to it we also know that the receptors in the brain that thc binds to develop very early during pregnancy the endocannabinoid system is critical for hard wiring of the brain during development so if cannabis comes on board while the endocannabinoid system is regulating neural circuits that are laid down how the cells communicate as they’re being developed obviously can have an impact on that and that is the thing that is critical for people to understand cannabis is not a benign drug [Music] while scientists worry about the risks most agree that far greater harm has come from criminalizing cannabis starting in 1937. treasury department intends to pursue the despicable culture harry anslinger head of the bureau of narcotics stoked racism towards mexican immigrants by demonizing their word for cannabis marijuana and claiming the evil we corrupted users [Music] if you look at the way that they talked about marijuana part of the strategy was to make cannabis something that wasn’t acceptable make it foreign and create the hysteria to put laws in place that control a group of people that were not white and push forward a narrative that the government is keeping us safe in the 1970s richard nixon ignored an expert panel recommending decriminalization and declared a war on drugs soon drugs would become the key reason for being arrested in the u.s [Music] since 2000 over 14 million people have been arrested and some 40 000 americans are now behind bars for cannabis mainly for possession charges someone gets arrested for cannabis every 58 seconds in a country where we are now legalizing cannabis people are talking about its medical use in the midst of covet 19 it is an essential service cannabis is one of the driving forces fueling mass incarceration in this country and it is disproportionately targeting poor people and communities of color in every single state in the united states whether cannabis is legal or not black people are arrested for cannabis related offenses more than white people despite the fact that all government data shows that usage is equal across races although many americans believe the war on cannabis is over for black people especially like sean and ebony worsley it’s a war that’s still going on to manage his post-traumatic stress shawn had gotten a medical cannabis card in arizona but as he and relaxocig vaporizer ebony began a cross-country trip to see family they would drive through states where cannabis is illegal and racial profiling common [Music] needed gas you have no idea especially in a place you’re not familiar with when is the next place you’re going to be able to stop for gas i get out of the car as i’m walking away a vehicle pulls in front of my wife’s car and it is a police vehicle and all of a sudden i’m approached by an officer it startled me when i looked up and he’s like you know where are you heading and i’m like we’re heading to north carolina and then he begins to speak into my husband who’s outside of the vehicle he asked me about any weed being in the vehicle and i just was honest and i told him sir you know i’m a medical cannabis patient from arizona and i do have my cannabis but it’s zipped up and it’s in the trunk at that point he puts me in handcuffs and proceeds to search the vehicle i give him my ids and he said well you won’t need these where you’re going the officer found a third of an ounce of medical cannabis he charged them as severely as he could with possession for other than personal use and that was because sean had with him a grinder and he had rolling papers and he had a scale um all of those things were recommended by his doctor if you smoke marijuana medically it’s not uncommon for a doctor to tell you to use a scale so you know how much you’re smoking ebony and sean spent six days in jail before getting a hearing at the pickens county courthouse they were charged with multiple felonies after struggling to pay a bondsman and in pound fees for the car the couple returned to arizona the fines and the fees became astronomical by the time we made it back to arizona we literally couldn’t afford to pay our rent our bills and we ended up evicted we were homeless under stress shawn had a stroke eventually ebony’s charges were dropped but due to prior minor convictions shawn was sentenced to five years and put on probation probation requires a stable address it requires you to pay money and one of the conditions of sean’s probation is that he needed to get drug treatment and the va looks at him and says you have a medical marijuana card man we’re not going to treat you you don’t qualify because you don’t have a drug problem probation and parole they’re just traps to send you right back to keep you in their grasp you want to lock me up for not having a job you want to lock me up for not having a place to stay how am i supposed to get these things if i can’t get a job because you have me labeled as a felon [Music] in march 2020 sean was extradited to alabama to serve the remainder of his sentence behind bars i see the harms of the war on drugs every single day in all of my patients lives it is so clear there’s not a single family that i know that doesn’t have some member who’s been arrested or incarcerated and what i see is that what happens in society the arrests the incarceration the poverty dramatically affects people’s health their lives their quality of life [Music] as criminalization destroys lives [Music] at the same time the cannabis wellness industry is thriving one entrepreneur is eugene monroe a former football player who believes cannabis can help address chronic pain playing in the nfl was a lifelong dream i love the sport that explosive power to propel my body and essentially flatten people each time that happens each time your brain rattles in your skull you pay a price the job creates a need for pain relief inherently so i was given a lot of opioid drugs which would let you go into a game with acute injuries and perform because you don’t feel that i was taking my oxycodone just as prescribed and saw my daughter walking down the hallway and didn’t recognize her and i realized that they were causing a serious issue and i stopped taking them and that’s the point where i decided that cannabis is a better option cannabis didn’t just allow me to cut back on opioids to allow me to eliminate all pharmaceutical drugs [Music] it hasn’t cured my injuries but what it did for me was alleviate my pain so i felt motivated to go in the gym and work out and take care of my body we know that cannabis leads to less pain and it alters people’s ability to tolerate the pain it affects the immune system and reduces inflammation it’s certainly safer than other medications that we’ve been using for decades monroe is now a partner and consultant for one of the nation’s largest cannabis companies yet while many praise the benefits of cannabis some scientists warn there are risks especially for those who use it daily about nine percent of users will develop a cannabis addiction one is paul i was in my junior year of high school and it was a 400 freestyle relay the last leg of the race always you go just as hard as humanly possible and as it came up from the flip turn and i snapped my head up i just felt this twinge just right in between my shoulder blades and it just killed me but it wasn’t until i went into college that it became a recurring detrimental thing and i started using cannabis to alleviate a lot of the pain and to help me sleep at night because i could never get a full night’s rest [Music] cannabis seemed to cure paul’s insomnia i loved how calming it was i’d have the best night of sleep that i’ve ever had in my life and i said this is amazing it would be fantastic if we have a drug that could actually calm you when you need it that it makes you feel groovy more social and there’s no negative consequences it’ll be extraordinary but that’s not the case biology basically adapts to stimuli that you give cannabis is less addictive and safer than tobacco heroin cocaine and alcohol which kill hundreds of thousands each year but you can take too much we’re seeing an increase in the number of people that end up in emergency departments with a full-blown psychosis because of the high content dhc dependence can impair memory mood and motivation paul didn’t know he had a problem until he needed a drug test for a job and so i quit cold turkey and almost immediately i noticed a big change in my mood they get irritable they get aggressive and they can feel depressed there were stretches of weeks that i slept for maybe two to three hours a night every night and that was all i could get we looked at sleep architecture and what we found was that when people quit using marijuana slow wave sleep which is the kind of sleep that makes you feel rested the next morning was significantly disrupted okay hi paul how are you good morning in a new clinical trial deepak d’souza hopes to harness the endocannabinoid system to prevent cannabis withdrawal uh when the brain is repeatedly flooded with thc it reduces the number of cannabinoid receptors once a person is dependent on cannabis abruptly quitting triggers withdrawal [Music] to replace thc d’souza is testing a drug that increases our own cannabis-like molecule anandamide there was a two-week period where i was taking either the placebo or the study medication and still smoking at the same time and then i had to quit cold turkey and the day that i quit i thought that there was no way i was going to sleep that night i had no issues it was very very easy i’ll never forget that first night that i was able to sleep after after not smoking i woke up the next day in absolute shock and awe paul doesn’t know if he got the study drug but an earlier trial showed that it helped people quit [Music] and pet scans revealed that after cannabis is stopped the brain’s own cannabinoid receptors come back our endocannabinoid system is really powerful and that’s why we shouldn’t really play with it that much a drug may be fine for one person but it isn’t for everyone dose matters when you take it during development matters we need to really understand what these drugs do in the brain even if they will and i do believe have some medicinal benefits so what does the future hold for cannabis as a medicine moving on to the skywalker og to find out stacy gruber is following adults who buy cannabis from dispensaries to treat a range of ailments this is fantastic for the afternoon chronic pain is the number one condition anxiety is probably number two ptsd difficulties with sleep and we have patients who come to us and say you know i use these types of products for this problem and then we go we should look at that how’s the anxiety in all honesty how is it things are going really good gruber’s study has yet to be peer reviewed but two years of clinical and psychological tests show patients improving wow so that’s a decided change yes reduced symptoms of pain reduced anxiety improved sleep and improvements across the board on a number of different cognitive tasks that require executive function the question is why it may very well be that the restorative sleep that people are starting to get once they find something that works for them is the key to the improvement i think this was the most important document back in alabama leah nelson is working with ebony worsley to get her husband sean parold alabama’s war on cannabis has failed people like sean and particularly black men are paying this horrific price for doing something that is already legal in states where half of americans live [Music] [Laughter] in november 2020 sean was released from prison and placed on parole it’s time to go you ready it was scary being inside it rocked me to the core it was probably one of the most difficult things i’ve had to do [Music] i would pick going back to war before going back to prison most definitely [Music] it’s set us back so far it’s supposed to help and rehabilitate individuals [Music] instead it’s putting us in positions where we need so much more mental help we need much more financial help we need so much more than we needed before [Music] it is past time for us to end the war on drugs we need to legalize cannabis we need to be pumping money into research to actually learn more about this substance this moment is about building new responses to drugs that are based in science and that are based in the rights of people [Music] there are still many questions to answer should cannabis be marketed as candy should the thc potency of products have limits from reducing harms to expunging convictions and ensuring equity getting legalization right is as complicated as the plant itself [Music] cannabis is not one thing our recreational consumers have a different goal for using cannabis than our medical patients our medical patients say i’m not looking necessarily to change how i feel i just want to address this set of symptoms but we have frighteningly little data on the long-term effects of medical cannabis use the plant is comprised of over 400 compounds 400 if people turn to it we should know the answers [Music] [Music] discover the science behind the news with the nova now podcast listen at nova now podcast or wherever you find your favorite podcasts to order this program on dvd visit shop pbs or call 1 800 play pbs episodes of nova are available with passport nova is also available on amazon prime video [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Music] [Music] you

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