The Other Side of Cannabis Screened at SLO Festival

The Other Side of Cannabis: Negative Effects of Marijuana on Our Youth  will  be screened at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival on Wednesday, March 11, 7 pm.   On April 9, the film’s producer will screen a segment from the film and speak at the SAM Summit in Atlanta, as a part of the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit.

Marijuana eduction is profoundly lacking.  Today’s marijuana is not what it used to be, but the perception is that it is a safe, natural substance with no side effects. This ground-breaking film—which illustrates the potential negative effects, can  be used by drug educators, schools, prevention groups, addiction treatment centers, psychiatrists, psychologists and other medical.

The documentary is 72 minutes and features interviews with nearly a dozen marijuana users and numerous researchers and professionals in the field. A 2-part educational series based on the film is in the works, complete with syllabus for school/rehab credits. It will be available through a New York distributor. For information or to purchase the film go to

The normalization of marijuana in society today makes it imperative that we recognize the risks for our youth. By understanding the risks, our youth will be able to make more informed decisions.   Our culture has not kept up with the science. The 70-minute documentary features interviews with Harvard researchers, a neuro-psychologist, rehab directors, counselors and numerous other professionals, as well as many personal stories of those who have experienced the negative effects of marijuana.

Most young people believe the marijuana they are using is medicinal, safe, a natural plant–regardless of its content. They are unaware of the dangerously high levels of THC, the pesticides sprayed on many of the crops, the addiction rate, the potential for mental illness— ranging from depression to anxiety and even psychosis, as well as the physical effects that include lung issues, heart, cognitive and other brain effects. Marijuana as a gateway has become even more pronounced as the drug producers have increased the levels of THC as users’ tolerance levels have risen.

The documentary ends with Recovery and its benefits. Many long-term outcome of the effects are still unknown, according to professionals interviewed.

A HeartsGate Productions Film, by Jody Belsher, this documentary is both educational and personal. Belsher’s own son experienced a traumatic outcome from his use of marijuana. Now in recovery, he is interviewed in the film, explaining some of the difficulties he’s faced as a result of his use. Belsher, a graphic designer and musician, decided to produce the documentary while on the set of one of her recent music videos: Gather The Dreams. The video is an homage to her son’s recovery.

A portion of the proceeds from the film will be donated to programs that assist with youth marijuana issues. The film is an independent project, funded through contributions and not influenced by any organizations or political affiliations. Its sole purpose is to educate.