CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta announced this week he has reversed course on his thoughts about the use of marijuana in medicine.
“Long before … I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive,” Gupta said in an article posted on CNN Thursday. “Well, I am here to apologize … I apologize because I didn't look hard enough, until now.”
Gupta has been working on a documentary about medical marijuana, called “WEED.”
According to the CNN article, the film explores marijuana's role in medicine by speaking with medical professionals, patients and plant growers around the world.
“The title ‘Weed’ may sound cavalier, but the content is not,” wrote Gupta.
Gupta said in the essay, which is part apology and part background on the issue, that he had only scratched the surface with mainstream research before embarking on his latest research.
For the documentary, he researched the issue's legal and medical aspects, including why cannabis is classified as a schedule 1 substance 43 years ago.
He argues that the symptoms of withdrawal apparent from marijuana users – including insomnia, anxiety and nausea – and levels of addiction, are not comparable to that of alcohol, tobacco or narcotics like cocaine and heroin.
The rate of addiction among marijuana users is around 10 percent, whereas it is about 30 percent for tobacco users, he states.
“In my quick running of the numbers, I calculated about 6 percent of … current U.S. marijuana studies investigate the benefits of medical marijuana. The rest are designed to investigate harm,” he writes. “That imbalance paints a highly distorted picture.”
The District of Columbia and 20 states – including California – have passed legislation approving the use of medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but the drug is banned by the federal government.
“I hope this article and upcoming documentary will help set the record straight,” he wrote.
The film airs at 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11 Eastern time on CNN, according to the article.
Tell us in the comments section below:• What are your thoughts about the uses of medical marijuana?
• What facts would change your mind about medical marijuana use?