Documentary filmmaker Ezra Soiferman’s film “Grass Fed” follows Canadian actor, comedian, wrestler and musician Mike Patterson on a mission to lose 50 pounds before his wedding day four months away. Although Patterson jokes continually about the state of his body and his appearance – he weighs in at an uncomfortable 250 pounds when the show begins – his health is proving to be no laughing matter. He’s dealing with the daily struggles of chronic back pain from sciatica, which in turn prevents him from doing any physical exercise to lose weight and alleviate his pain. He’s looking to find relief from the catch-22 of his health condition when a friend suggests offhandedly that he try medical cannabis to shed some pounds.
At first glance, Patterson is incredulous. The idea of shedding pounds while getting high is counter-intuitive to Patterson – who is decidedly not a cannabis enthusiast (he’s much more of a beer drinker) and scoffs at the idea of a weed regime for weight loss. The plot soon thickens when Patterson, a lover of sweets, agrees to use cannabis-infused edibles to help him lose his unwanted weight.
Patterson is a likable character and peppers this documentary with whimsical banter, natural playfulness and continuous wisecracks as he narrates his stony sojourn through Cannabis 101. At first, he wonders if this respite from the pain by using marijuana could be the relief he needs to get back into the gym. To investigate he talks to a series of people connected to cannabis – from cultivators to fellow patients to the doctor who grants him a medical marijuana card over Skype.
Though the documentary broaches some pretty intimate topics throughout the film – like how depressed Patterson feels about depending on his sweet and helpful fiancé to help him put on his socks in the morning – there are moments of levity that make for enjoyable viewing. What begins as a self-deprecating sob story by a beer-drinking, night owl soon turns into a quirky adventure with an unconventional hero on a quest to improve his health through good medicine.
Viewers follow Patterson to Denver, where he watches cannabis chocolate bars being made, and to Los Angeles, where he meets with the infamous Dr. Dina and is treated to a world of assorted non-smokeables, including dermal patches, savory cannabis-infused meals, lozenges and topicals.
The film, which had its premiere showing on Canadian TV with the CBC’s Documentary Channel against the backdrop of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pledge to legalize marijuana in Canada, can now be streamed or downloaded in the U.S and Canada via iTunes.
For moviegoers interested in seeing firsthand the healing effects of cannabis – and watching as a medical marijuana naysayer becomes a true-believer – this mellow and lite documentary may be just the right prescription needed.
TELL US, what is your favorite documentary about cannabis?