Marijuana is safe says leading Dr. Sanjay Gupta

130808181437-marijuana-weed-plant-story-topTo the so-called leaders in Washington and Ottawa: Give it up, you have lost this stupid war on drugs. And thank you Sanjay for having the fortitude and courage of a true scientist. Lou

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent: Why I changed my mind on weed –

Sanjay Gupta: I’ve tried marijuana

  • Dr. Sanjay Gupta says we have been “systematically misled” on marijuana
  • DEA lists marijuana as a schedule 1 substance with “high potential for abuse”
  • Most recent research on marijuana has been on its negative effects, Gupta says
  • Studies on marijuana require approval from National Institute on Drug Abuse

(CNN) — Over the last year, I have been working on a new documentary called “Weed.” The title “Weed” may sound cavalier, but the content is not.

I traveled around the world to interview medical leaders, experts, growers and patients. I spoke candidly to them, asking tough questions. What I found was stunning.

Long before I began this project, I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive. Reading these papers five years ago, it was hard to make a case for medicinal marijuana. I even wrote about this in a TIME magazine article, back in 2009, titled “Why I would Vote No on Pot.”

Well, I am here to apologize.

I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.

Instead, I lumped them with the high-visibility malingerers, just looking to get high. I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have “no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.”

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a neurosurgeon and CNN\'s chief medical correspondent.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a neurosurgeon and CNN’s chief medical correspondent.

They didn’t have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works. Take the case of Charlotte Figi, who I met in Colorado. She started having seizures soon after birth. By age 3, she was having 300 a week, despite being on seven different medications. Medical marijuana has calmed her brain, limiting her seizures to 2 or 3 per month.

I have seen more patients like Charlotte first hand, spent time with them and come to the realization that it is irresponsible not to provide the best care we can as a medical community, care that could involve marijuana.

We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.

Full article:

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Why I changed my mind on weed – CNN.com.

Take the case of Charlotte Figi, who I met in Colorado. She started having seizures soon after birth. By age 3, she was having 300 a week, despite being on seven different medications. Medical marijuana has calmed her brain, limiting her seizures to 2 or 3 per month.

I have seen more patients like Charlotte first hand, spent time with them and come to the realization that it is irresponsible not to provide the best care we can as a medical community, care that could involve marijuana.

We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.

The case Gupta describes of Charlotte Figi is just one example of where doctors didn’t have the research available to them on the drug. That’s because agencies, designed for prohibition, have often suppressed research about marijuana and other drugs’ benefits. Cases like Charlotte’s and 20,000 articles documenting other benefits have led Gupta to his new conclusion that marijuana has great potential medical value that cannot be realized under the current system of prohibition.

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