Now and again a programme comes on the telly that you feel glad to have watched. This certainly was the case with the recent Channel 4 documentary, STEPH & DOM: CAN CANNABIS SAVE OUR SON.
Gogglebox stars Steph and Dom Parker, invited us further into their world as we learnt about their eighteen-year-old son Max. Max has severe epilepsy which entails him having over one hundred epileptic seizures a day. As a result, brain damage has occurred which means Max has the mental age of a five or six-year-old.
The purpose of this documentary was to explore the ongoing debate around cannabis oil being used to treat severe epilepsy. This debate being particularly significant in the UK right now, due to it still being unavailable.
What we got was a superb personalised view of this heart-wrenching condition. Regarding this and the debate about the medicinal uses of cannabis oil - it was a documentary that was informative, educational and profoundly moving. Dom spoke of his hope one day of being able to hold a conversation with Max.
Hope is the one thing that kept Steph and Dom going. It was this that saw them travel to America to visit a boy called Sam and his family. We heard how medicinal CBD cannabis oil had led to a vast reduction in the number of daily epileptic seizures that Sam now had. As Steph pointed out to us, anecdotal evidence is so crucial to hear given the lack of scientific evidence that there is out there.
In terms of balance, we could have heard more views that were very opposed to the medicinal use of cannabis oil. For instance, why are some UK medical professionals against its usage?
The juxtaposition of them feeling hopeful about soon being able to try Max on CBD cannabis oil, compared then to their downright despair months later with it still being unavailable in the UK, was striking and powerful stuff to watch.
We never got told specifically though what was holding the whole process up? It would have been insightful to have had somebody from the government recorded on camera, explaining to them and to us as to why it is still unavailable?
Nevertheless, a brilliantly put together documentary that was emotive throughout. It was well produced which further echoed the emotional quality of the content. The tone of it was pitched exactly right, meaning that it never went over-the-top when it so easily could have done.
An enlightening documentary that will hopefully lead to greater awareness.
- Watched on Channel 4. 28/01/2019