Hands up if you’ve had a ‘cannabis kills cancer’ story pop up on one of your feeds in the past few months? Perhaps you followed it up with a Google search. You probably found a lot of information out there… Maybe too much?
Within the white noise of the internet, research can provoke symptoms of dizziness, sweaty palms and loss of orientation at the best of times, let alone on a topic so emotive as this one. Such white noise was one of the reasons compelling the British director of new documentary Project Storm to explore the subject.
The documentary follows Bud Buddies’ Jeff Ditchfield as he criss-crosses the country advising six patients on how to make cannabis oil and administer it effectively. He explains that he is following the science behind the claims that cannabinoids (THC/CBD) can reduce tumours and kill cancer cells.
The film got a grand premiere in mid-December, playing to a packed audience at The Prince Charles cinema on London’s Leicester Square. The packed audience included the press, a sprinkling of celebrities and poignantly family members (the ‘Stormies’) using cannabis oil as a therapy that are featured in the film.
Where this film differs from the likes of Rick Simpson’s Run From the Cure is its objectivity. “I wanted to cut through the hyperbole,” explains director, George Wilkins. “To make a film that was transparent, one that those who have no experience with cannabis could watch and make up their own minds.”
Project Storm was simultaneously premiered in a number of cinemas around the world and is now on general release on Youtube . Produced by Panopticon Films, the documentary follows the lives of patients, ranging in age from six to 74, using cannabis oil with the help of medical marijuana action group Bud Buddies.
“Our object with this film was to make something that you could show your Mum and Dad,” says Jeff. “People on the cannabis scene know what a nonsense the legal situation is, but the wider population needs to realise. We hope that real people’s stories will bring an emotional response that is hard to ignore.”
Project Storm does not make the claim that cannabis kills cancer. And for this reason it is a bold film that asks as many questions as it answers. The subject matter is compelling, because we are watching real patients, very sick people with stage 4 cancer (‘there isn’t a 5’ one of the Stormies says grimly to camera).
Many people watching this film on Youtube will feel the power of the documentary, but the communal experience of the cinema proved how much emotional weight this film brings. We all know cancer – personally or through the experiences of friends and family. It is the great leveller. This was poignantly illustrated in a snapshot from the night.
The film had finished and the audience was milling around outside. Amongst the crowd was the husband one of the patients featured in the film. He told how his wife had remained resolute, taking daily doses of cannabis oil until the day she died. Originally quite sceptical, he explained the dramatic change the therapy had had on her, restoring a quality of life that had resonated with the whole family.
As he was explaining this, a young woman who had been in the audience came up to thank him, give her condolences and to tell him that she too had recently lost a close family member to cancer. As they talked, eyes suddenly welled up and in the next moment these two strangers were sharing tears and hugs in a city renowned for its stiff upper lip.
And that speaks volumes about the power of this film. It is in this spirit that Project Storm is likely to become a reference point for hundreds and thousands of cancer sufferers seeking the freedom to pursue this line of therapy. It is a form of therapy that clearly has the ability to change lives for the positive yet remains illegal under present laws in the UK.
To find out more about Project Storm, visit the website www.projectstormthefilm.com