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‘Medicine in Marijuana’ aims to ‘open the dialogue’


It’s a hot topic across the country.

 Ben Daitz

Ben Daitz

That’s why Ben Daitz and Ned Judge made the documentary “The Medicine in Marijuana.”

It will have its broadcast premiere at 8:30 p.m. Feb. 1 on New Mexico PBS.

The film tells the stories of patients, practitioners and researchers and provides the latest scientific information – what is and isn’t known about the most popular new medicine in our country.

This year, 55 million Americans will spend about $55 billion on the medicine in marijuana.

In 31 states and the District of Columbia, they will use it for a variety of medical conditions.

They will depend on so-called bud tenders to give them anecdotal advice about the frequency and dosage of cannabis, a plant with more than 400 different chemical molecules, and still classified as a Schedule I drug, having no medical use and a high potential for abuse.

It’s a cannabis conundrum – a messy mix of medicine, policy and politics. In the interest of the public health, the prestigious National Academy of Sciences was tasked with looking at the scientific evidence for the use of marijuana as medicine. The academy’s 2017 report is the best information we have about what we know, and what we don’t.

Judge says the documentary takes it from there.

“Chronic pain, cancer, PTSD and epilepsy are the most common conditions for which people use medical marijuana, and we tell their stories,” Judge says.

Daitz is a doctor in the pain clinic at University of New Mexico and has seen many patients who have chronic pain.

“When I first started hearing from my patients about 10 years ago, I didn’t know why it helped,” he says of cannabis use. “Then I became interested in finding out more.”

Daitz and Judge worked on the documentary for more than a year, though it wasn’t constant work.

“We looked at long-term studies,” Daitz says. “We hope that the documentary furthers the discussion about cannabis. There’s a lot to it that is misunderstood. This helps open the dialogue so that we can discuss it more freely.”

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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