|Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Arguably the most well-known doctor in the United States this week has announced that he is now in favor of legalizing medical cannabis and that he was wrong to speak out against medical marijuana in the past.
CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanja Gupta says that five years ago, the research he was seeing just wasn’t there to prove that cannabis was a beneficial substance in America. At the time, Gupta rallied against cannabis, even penning an article in 2009 titled “While I Would Vote No on Pot”. But he now says his position was flawed, and it was mostly at due to his own willful ignorance on the matter.
“I didn’t look hard enough, until now,” Gupta wrote yesterday. “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.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”
Among the very real things that helped changed Gupta’s mind was meeting six-year-old Charlotte Figi, who we have told you about in the past here at TokeoftheTown.com.
Charlotte suffers from a rare disorder that caused her to have as many as 300 seizures per week by the time she was three-years-old. Her parents, desperate for anything to help their suffering child, eventually turned to medical cannabis. It was only then that they saw an amazing turnaround and a high-potency, low-THC oil has now reduced her seizures to just two or three each 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,” Gupta wrote. “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 move represents a radical shift not only in Gupta’s personal philosophy over the last few years, but likely a shift found in a large number of Americans who increasingly support medical cannabis laws in polls. And Gupta – who is seen by millions each week as a medical expert on CNN – will no doubt help change a few minds about cannabis through his documentary, which airs August 11.
Gupta says his documentary will bring light not only to the prohibition of the plant but how that prohibition has stifled scientific research since 1970 – more than 40 years of setting the country behind in researching what might be the most valuable therapeutic substance we have.
As for his own cannabis use, Gupta told CNN’s Pierce Morgan on Wednesday night that he once tried cannabis “a while ago” but didn’t enjoy the anxiety it caused him.
Check out a preview of the special from CNN below: