Award-winning producer and actress Ricki Lake has thrown herself in the debate on marijuana with the production of her documentary, Weed The People. In a new Daily Beast article, Lake explains her push for legalization of medical cannabis, arguing that it could have saved the life of a young girl who was struggling through chemotherapy.

“If you asked me how I felt about marijuana two years ago, I wouldn’t have had much to say,” Lake writes in the article. “But then I met a very special little girl who stole my heart.”

Weed The People will document various families who have used cannabis oil to help ease the pains of chemotherapy (weight loss, nausea, lack of appetite) for their children with cancer, and for whom marijuana has done wonders. Some even contribute the prevention of further tumor growth to daily doses of cannabis oil they administered to their kids. Since medical marijuana is illegal in most states, Lake felt it was important to expose the reality of medical marijuana’s benefits for cancer patients. The government’s strict regulations and patents on research has prevented plenty of patients and families from accessing what is potentially a life-saving drug. “[R]esearch is indicating that CBD-rich strains of the plant actually have anti-tumoral properties,” Lake writes. “Because the U.S. government classifies marijuana as having no medical value, the clinical research has been blocked. Although significant research is underway in other countries like Israel, UK, and Spain, our doctors and scientists are not reaping the benefits.”

Lake goes on to note that a 7-year-old girl passed away after becoming the center of a push to legalize medical cannabis in Wisconsin:

Hundreds of families like hers have relocated to Colorado in recent months and are living as refugees in order to gain access to medicinal cannabis for their children. It is unconscionable that a child could die rather than being allowed experimental treatment with a PLANT because of political red tape. I believe this is a cause that will affect all of us, as medical cannabis is showing significant benefits for autoimmune diseases, PTSD, cancer, seizure disorders, and MS, just to name a few.

Although marijuana use hasn’t been approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the American Cancer Society notes that certain properties of weed have proven to decrease pain, nausea, and vomiting in people suffering from AIDS or cancer. Other preliminary research has suggested that medical marijuana can reduce tumor growth, improve asthma symptoms, and also be therapeutic to people suffering from epilepsy and seizures. Further research is needed before the medical world can fully understand the benefits of marijuana on cancer and various other chronic disesaes.