The Nature of Things Documentaries This Month

On Jan. 28, The Nature of Things with David Suzuki, at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT), followed by Doc Zone, at 9 PM (9:30 NT), present a themed evening investigating marijuana. THE NATURE OF THINGS with David Suzuki reveals disturbing new evidence linking pot smoking and mental illness in teenagers, while DOC ZONE explores the hidden and dangerous business of   Canada’s booming marijuana industry.

Then in February, DOC ZONE explores the frenzied lives of overprotective and overindulgent parents. What are the consequences for their children? And THE NATURE OF THINGS with David Suzuki turns the spotlight on bats; revealing how bats’ unique biology and chemistry are attracting interest from scientists who believe there’s much we can learn from these unfairly reviled creatures.

Thursday, January 28

Is strong pot damaging young minds? That provocative question is at the heart of The Downside of High, airing Jan. 28, at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT), on THE NATURE OF THINGS with David Suzuki, on CBC Television. In this new documentary, the link between marijuana and mental illness is uncovered as scientists reveal that teenagers who start smoking marijuana before age 16 are four times more likely to become schizophrenic. 

Directed and written by Bruce Mohun, The Downside of High tells the stories of three young people from British Columbia who believe, along with their doctors, that their mental illness was triggered by marijuana use. All three spent time in psychiatric wards and still wage a battle with their illness. Today’s super-potent pot may be a big part of the problem, as modern growing techniques have dramatically increased the amount of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that ramps up the threat to the developing teenage brain.

CannaBiz, airing on DOC ZONE, at 9 p.m. (9:30 p.m. NT), tells the story of Grand Forks, B.C., an eccentric border town nestled in the secluded Kootenay Mountains, where draft dodgers and hippies planted the first “B.C. Bud” in the 1960s. Today, marijuana growers are at the crossroads of crime and commerce, as growers battle for a share of profits from an industry worth a staggering $20 billion, amid rising violence and gang trouble. The code of the marijuana industry has taken a drastic change over the last few decades, as Brian Taylor, the “Marijuana Mayor”, and ex-convict Sam Mellace petition for legalized medical marijuana as an answer to the fallout from the escalating crime and mayhem.

With inside access to growers, gangsters and police, CannaBiz untangles the inner workings of the exploding marijuana business and raises serious questions about Canada’s drug laws. 

Thursday, February 4

Bats have been around since the time of the dinosaurs and they have adapted and thrived in virtually every corner of the planet. Bat & Man, airing at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT), on THE NATURE OF THINGS with David Suzuki, shows how scientists have begun unlocking the secrets of the bat, and are now developing potential therapies based on their discoveries, everything from an ultra cane for the blind, to a potential treatment for stroke victims. As Bat & Man reveals, bats are more than merely a hardy and adaptable species—they are scientifically extraordinary creatures.

Kids today are the most overprotected, overindulged and overscheduled in history, making people wonder if all of this attention is giving the next generation a leg up on the competition or creating new problems that will last a lifetime. Hyper Parents and Coddled Kids, airing Feb. 4 at 9 p.m. (9:30 p.m. NT), on DOC ZONE, looks inside the world of hyper parenting, a trend that began in the early 1980s when the baby boomers began to have children. Today’s precious offspring are shuffled around from music lessons, soccer and hockey games by parents who are obsessed with making sure their children stay ahead of the pack. Produced by DreamFilm Productions, and co-directed by Sharon Bartlett and Maria Le Rose, Hyper Parents and Coddled Kids presents a snapshot in time of a great social experiment in parenting whose full results will not be known for years.

About the author