Krishna Andavolu tackles a controversial issue in the first episode of his new show Weediquette: Parents who turn to concentrated cannabis oil to fight cancer.
Weediquette, which airs weekly on the Vice Media's new channel Viceland, launched a TV segment where Andavolu called his mom to share some good news.
"I got the new show," Andavolu told her. "It is about weed."
"Oh no," she replied. "Don't smoke it on camera."
The exchange sets the tone for the show: Andavolu allows the audience to witness private moments as he deals with a tough subject matter.
Weediquette, which has been online, works because of Andavolu. He appears genuine and treats the sensitive subject of the show with respect and the audience benefits from it.
Fans of Vice Media may be familiar with Andavolu and Weediquette, which has run as a web series. One of the webisodes featured Andavolu smoking a joint with the then-President of Uruguay Jose Mujica as they talked about the South American country legalizing marijuana.
In the first episode, "Stoned Kids," Andavolu goes to a family BBQ for kids with cancer who medicate with marijuana. This is not a typical story about a child and weed. These kids are stoned.
Kids taking highly concentrated doses of cannabis oil is a great first episode for a TV show about weed. One of the most often debated issues about the legalization of marijuana is the impact on children.
Somewhere out there Helen Lovejoy is screaming, "Won't someone please think of the children?"
"Seeing stoned kids still weirds me out," Andavolu said.
Weediquette is obviously a show about cannabis, but it feels more like a show about people.
The show embraces science. Andavolu's history degree came in handy as he thought through cannabis treatment for children.
After reminding viewers that chemotherapy was developed from a WWII mustard gas disaster, Andavolu suggested that using marijuana isn't that radical an idea.
"If mustard gas, then why not weed?" Andavolu wondered.
Andavolu spoke with Dr. Donald Abrams, the chief of Hematology-Oncology Division at San Francisco General Hospital.
"I recommend cannabis to patients on a daily basis," Abrams told Andavolu.
A constant theme throughout the show is how hard it is to do clinical studies, leading to a lack of research. One mother acknowledged that her child "is a guinea pig." With marijuana being federally illegal, there can be no FDA regulation of the medicine.
The show acknowledged the possibility that some may take advantage of desperate people and sell them "snake oil." Andavolu even took samples to The Werc Shop and their cannabis testing machines.
"I like to think of myself as a cannabis testing machine," Andavolu jokes to Mark Raber, co-Founder of The Werc Shop.
That is really all Andavolu could verify until meaningful research into the positive effects of marijuana are done.
Andavolu did take his mother's advice and did not smoke in the first episode, but he did get high. The episode dealt with cannabis concentrate oil and children being treated with it. Andavolu tried a small beginner's dose of THC oil. He shared his high with the audience.
"I am being hugged by my highness," Andavolu said.