Dr. Sanjay Gupta has figured out what a lot of people know already – smoking weed can be a good thing. Yes, Dr. Gupta says the sticky icky, the oooh weee and hip-hop’s favorite mood adjuster is sometimes OK, and he’s hosting an hour-long TV show to prove it. “Weed,” airs on CNN on Sunday, August 11 at 8 p.m.
“I learned a lot. I think sometimes you have to dig deep on these stories, sometimes you have to travel the world, you have to go pay attention to people who very few people pay attention to, you have to listen to the patients, the legitimate patients who talk about this who have legitimate problems and need legitimate treatment, and part of the reason I have changed my tune a little bit is actually doing this work,” Dr. Gupta told the Tom Joyner Morning Show.
“The patients really hit home for me. Not only does cannabis work for them, it works for them when nothing else did.”
In “Weed,” a 6-year-old suffering from 200 to 300 epileptic seizures per week was helped by medical marijuana when other drugs had little impact. Now, she has just 2 seizures a month. Gupta says that medical marijuana is a little different from the marijuana most recreational users smoke.
The active ingredients in marijuana are THC and CBD. THC gives uses the “high” feeling some enjoy, while CBD has more medicinal qualities. The child was treated with oil developed with a higher concentration of CBD that was placed under her tongue. “The impression one should be left with is not that young kids are getting high,” says Gupta. “But that this is a very legitimate medication.”
Gupta worked on the documentary for over a year, traveling to places like Amsterdam where marijuana is used openly and other places where it’s medicinal properties are heralded. He says opening up to places where people had gone beyond the drug’s stigma to find its healing properties was eye-opening, particularly since Gupta had once been a fervent critic of marijuana use.
“If you were to search through scientific journals on marijuana, you’d find 20,000 articles. But the vast majority of them are designed to look at the harm. Very few people were looking at the benefits of it as a medicine.
What I found when I looked at other countries, particularly Israel, for example, they’ve been doing some amazing research. And they’ve gotten to a point where in hospitals and nursing homes, they will allow patients to use marijuana medicinally. I think there’s a lot to learn from the rest of the world.”
Gupta said his own experiences with marijuana left him anxious but that he now endorses it for medical reasons, especially given the amount of people who die from accidental prescription drug overdoses.
“No one I can find has died from an accidental marijuana overdose. This needs to be a serious discussion.”