Articles What if Cannabis Cured Cancer? A film by Len Richmond

What if Cannabis Cured Cancer? A film by Len Richmond

What if Cannabis Cured Cancer? a film by Len Richmond

In the world of pot films there are two main camps: the pompous and the preposterous. The former category includes all those documentaries about the dangers of smoking marijuana. The second includes things like Reefer Madness.

Recently, however, a third category has emerged: films about the medical benefits of cannabis, and while it, too, includes a wealth of documentaries (including a couple produced by the folks at National Geographic), the newest, most refreshing edition is a film by Len Richmond, a self-described "sixties hippie type" who marched in anti-Viet Nam war protests as a younger man. Later, after his mother was diagnosed with cancer, he decided he had to do something.

Thus his film What if Cannabis Cured Cancer? was born. Well, actually, Everything Bad is Good: Healing Yourself in a World of Medicine Gone Mad was the former BBC comedy writer's first foray into medical documentaries, and it was all about using natural methods to cure diseases. Of course, the research led him to cannabis, and another project was born.

Researching cannabis and its medical benefits is not without difficulty or controversy, however. At one point, Richmond related in an interview with "Cannabis Culture" magazine, he received an old article about marijuana as a cause of testicular cancer.

"I started investigating the research done on the study and even the doctor was who hired to conduct the study said donít read too much into it, the results arenít conclusive, the amount of people in the study were so small it is difficult to even pinpoint a correlation, and of course we donít know if the control group was telling the truth about their past drug use," Richmond said, adding, "But thatís not the way the press reported it. And, of course, the study was funded by the folks who wanted to prove that pot is bad for you."

In any case, Richmond's film goes into a lot more depth than that article. His interviewees included Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather, who explained to him that even if you're not a pot smoker, "Öyou have marijuana-like substances in your body. It is naturally in your body, you are born with it, and it is called the endocannabinoid system."

A good portion of Richmond's film then, is an exploration of these endocannabinoids and what they do. As he explained in that same Cannabis Culture interview, "Endocannabinoids are found in our nervous and immune systems and have an almost identical structure to cannabinoids found in cannabis. These two compounds act as a sort of lock and key for each other in your body Ė a chemical reaction Ė that becomes beneficial, forming into modulators of good health. Endocannabinoids act as tumor regulators, mood regulators, anti-depressants, anti-inflammatories, and the list goes on."

The film goes into greater depth, of course, and is also incredibly candid. It's narrated by Peter Coyote and includes interviews with medical researchers, physicians who prescribe marijuana to their patients, and of course, patients themselves. It was featured at the Sausalito Film Festival, and in Whole Life Magazine, and is available for purchase from

The bottom line is this: if we're ever going to accept the use of medical marijuana not just in this country, but worldwide, and if we're ever going to de-stigmatize use of marijuana at all, we need more films like What if Cannabis Cured Cancer?, and more filmmakers like Len Richmond.

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Guest | Oct 18, 2012
Thats good that more information about cannabis cancer cure is published.I hope that people in goverment will put the bullshit aside and take a seriouse look at the plants benifits.
Guest | May 9, 2012
iTunes and Amazon Instant Video now offer digital downloads of "What if Cannabis Cured Cancer" to rent or buy. Open iTunes to preview, buy, and download this movie for $14.95. Watch now on Amazon Instant Video: Rent$2.99 Buy $14.96
lindzzz | Aug 25, 2011
That is crazy. Watching Reefer Madness, I can't believe that people would buy into that crap. I understand that it was the late 1930's and they didn't have any drug education, but anyone who has ever seen someone high and not even used it themselves knows that marijuana just isn't that harmful.
chronic sufferer | Jun 10, 2011
Truly the movie REEFER MADNESS was so much of the problem in the country years ago. I grew up with parents who kept telling me over and over the REEFER MADNESS was indeed a true and fact filled movie to stay away from the horrible weed. Yet we all know that is really a bunch of bull. If cannabis really could cure cancer, well it would be a fabulous thing. But think of all the people who have died because of no cure and that our government may have held the key to their lives all along. How awful.
Guest | May 25, 2011
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Kushie Q | May 6, 2011
What a wonderful thing if cannabis did indeed cure cancer. But the point right now is that it does aid in the treatment of not only cancer but so many other problems that we don't have the room to name them all. The ironic thing would be for this to be just one more time our government got something slapped in their face. Get with the program world this is a good thing.
Guest | May 5, 2011
MORE ON "WHAT IF CANNABIS CURED CANCER" YouTube Trailer: Film Website: Available on Amazon: Follow on Facebook: Profile on Cannabis Planet TV: Panel Discussion at the Sausalito Film Festival: Profile in Whole Life Times Magazine: Interview in Cannabis Culture Magazine: Dr. Andrew Weil on the Huffington Post: "Stony Award" ceremony:
Chief | Mar 25, 2011
This sounds great. I must admit, though I am ashamed to do so, i have yet to see Reefer Madness. But I have heard that it is so over the top in making marijuana look bad that is laughable. The great thing about this is that not only does there need to be more research done on cancer but if it is discovered that it actually does cure or help cancer then it will boost production tenfold. I can't wait to watch this documentary.
lindzzz | Mar 18, 2011
If it turned out that cannabis was the cure to cancer, then our government would be responsible for an immense number of wrongful deaths. The fact is that cancer makes pharmaceutical companies and doctors rich. According to information released by the National Cancer Institute in January 2009, 10 years worth of treatments for breast cancer (which may be intermittent) cost an average of $21,000, while prostate and lung cancer hovered around $40,000. Source: This film looks really great, I can't wait to see it and what they have to say about how marijuana. I hope that marijuana does cure cancer, so they can develop less destructive ways to force it into recess. My grandmother died from lung, lymph node and colon cancer, and I have seen how painful chemotherapy and the current medicines can be.
HolyKush | Mar 15, 2011
We really do need to de-stigmatize marijuana. It has been given a bad name by the media and those who have influence over society. I hope that they will accept the benefits that this plant can give the world. It needs to be praised not shunned.
Medicator | Mar 11, 2011
I am so excited to hear about this film and can't wait to see it. The facts regarding endocannabinoids in our bodies is so interesting and may finally lead to more research. It makes sense that we may even crave cannabis for this very reason. Cheers to Len Richmond for getting this film made and to Peter Coyote for lending his voice as narrator.
PhilosopherOG | Mar 11, 2011
The endocannabinoid system?? I actually knew some things about cancer and how the cancerous cells emerge as a result of cell corrosion or mutation. what I didn't know about were the endocannabinoid system and it's regulatory abilities and the similar associations with MJ properties. I would lve to view this film. Thanks Cannabisserch, you are my favorite MMJ site.