A new documentary slated for release later this month takes an in-depth look at the science behind cannabis as medicine, from the groundbreaking researchers who first discovered the curative power of cannabinoids to the pioneering patients whose lives have been transformed by the plant. The documentary from Mad Machine Films, CBD Nation, will be available in North America via multiple viewing platforms on August 25.

The film by director David Jakubovic features leaders of the medical cannabis movement, including scientists, patients, and activists such as Steve DeAngelo, the co-founder of Harborside Health Center in Oakland, the largest and one of the first medical marijuana dispensaries in the country.

CBD Nation brings you the real science that decades of U.S. government-sponsored misinformation have hidden from public view,” DeAngelo said in a press release for the documentary. “Watch it, and learn why cannabis may just be the most valuable medicine ever discovered by human beings.”

The film explores the work of Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli organic chemist who, with other scientists, was the first to isolate, describe, and synthesize delta-9 THC, and is widely considered the father of cannabinoid research. He notes that cannabis has been known to have medicinal properties for decades, but the development of the plant’s potential was greatly hindered until patients and families led the way.

“We published our findings thirty-seven years ago: cannabidiol (CBD) blocks epileptic attacks in patients. What happened? Nothing for thirty years,” said Mechoulam, who serves as the president of the Multidisciplinary Center for Cannabinoid Research at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “Nothing happened until desperate parents like those in this film did their own research and found out that cannabidiol can help children with epilepsy. But epilepsy is just one of many conditions that we know cannabis medicine can treat. If the world chooses to not look at all of the science, it is not ignorance—it’s negligence.”

Determined Patients Lead The Way

The film also follows the journeys of patients whose determination to access a medicine that makes them well when others can not have made them spokespeople for a movement. People like teenager Rylie Maedler, who at age 7 was diagnosed with a rare degenerative bone disease called aggressive giant cell granuloma that caused tumors that ate away at the bones of her face. Following treatment with CBD, she became the only person with the disease whose bones have regenerated.

“I hope that U.S. doctors, educators, and politicians see this film,” said Maedler, who worked closely with legislators in her home state of Delaware to pass Rylie’s Law, a measure granting children with qualifying conditions access to medical cannabis. “Because I’m living proof of the fact that cannabis and CBD have a place in modern medicine.”

Director Jakubovic said that creating CBD Nation forced him to confront the stigma that continues to be associated with cannabis, a stigma that only serves to obscure the true value of the plant.

“Over the course of this project, I came to realize that cannabis is far from a gateway drug; for many, it’s actually an exit drug from pharmaceuticals and narcotics,” said Jakubovic. “And in the U.S.—which has 5% of the world’s population consuming 75% of the world’s pharmaceuticals – we can no longer afford to be in the dark about the facts. Facts can save lives.”

CBD Nation will be available in North America from video-on-demand platforms and streaming services including Amazon and iTunes on August 25 through a distribution deal with Gravitas Ventures. A trailer for the documentary can be watched on YouTube.

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