A LEAF OF FAITH — Documentary Review

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a leaf of faith posterDocumentary filmmaker Chris Bell has built his career on investigating drug-related issues that plague athletes and the general public. Best known for Bigger, Stronger, Faster, a bold expose of steroid use by top competitive athletes — including his own ‘doping’ to gain muscle in his pursuit as a body builder — Bell is back with a documentary that addresses wide spread addiction worldwide, and especially in the US, to opioid painkillers. Having reached epidemic proportions, opioid addiction is currently one of the top causes of death in the U.S. — ranging from heroin (an opioid) overdose to abuse of synthetic opioids to withdraw from heroin addition and prescription of addictive opoids to relieve chronic pain.


Bell’s documentary reveals the staggering statistics, and goes on to describe and advocate for an alternative substance — the Kratom leaf, harvested from a plant, Mitragyna speciosa, that grows abundantly in Southeast Asia, where it has for centuries been brewed into tea and used for mood elevation and to ease pain, without reported incidents of addiction or death.


The documentary chronicles Bell’s quest for a full status report on Kratom’s standing with physicians, pharmacists, marketers, patients and various government agencies including the FDA and DEA. He finds varying opinions about the effectiveness, safety and need for regulation of Kratom, which is currently being sold over the counter in health food stores and head shops. The bottom line is that there have not yet been clinical tests to determine the effects and effectiveness of Kratom, so all opinions — including commentaries based on personal experience with the leaf — are is somewhat speculative, but it is generally agreed that there must be regulations regarding product authenticity and quality, and the requirement for accurate product labeling put into place.


As an advocate, Bell does a good job of boosting public awareness about Kratom by presenting a balanced view of its benefits and dangers, and committing to further study of Kratom in the future. This informative documentary is essential watching for anyone who suffers from chronic pain and/or is concerned about the marketing manipulations of big pharma in the U.S. If you are in pain, it is welcome news about a possible safe solution for relief.


Title: A Leaf of Faith

Directors: Chris Bell

Release Date: May 29, 2018

Running Time: 108 minutes

Language: English

Screenwriter: Chris Bell

Distribution Company: The Orchard


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