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CNN Medical Correspondent Apologizes for Doubting Medical Marijuana

Posted by Lindsey Steinberg on 08/09/2013 in Medical Marijuana Studies

CNN Medical Correspondent Apologizes for Doubting Medical MarijuanaIn 2009, CNN’s medical correspondent and highly respected medical expert Dr. Sanjay Gupta, wrote an article published by Time Magazine called, “Why I Would Vote No On Pot.” Now four years and some significant strides in medical research later, he takes a complete 180 on his stance of marijuana as an alternative medicine.

Gupta came out publically with a formal apology in his op-ed piece this Thursday entitled, “Why I changed my mind on weed.” His primary reason for apologizing was because he felt we as Americans have been, “terribly and systematically mislead for nearly 70 years in this country…and I did part of that misleading.”

In an interview with Piers Morgan, Gupta said, “If you look at all the papers that are written in the United States about marijuana, the vast majority of them are about the harm. We fund studies on harm; we don’t find studies on benefits nearly as much so it gives a distorted picture.”Gupta, admitted he hadn’t properly executed the scientific research necessary to make the bold claims he’d published in his Time Magazine article.

After having written his initial article, he now admits,“ I didn’t look at labs in other countries that are doing some incredible research…I didn’t listen to the chorus of patients who said not only does marijuana work for me, it’s the only thing that works for me.”

Shown in that same interview is a clip from Gupta’s upcoming documentary. Chaz Moore, a 19 year old from Colorado Springs, was diagnosed years ago with an incredibly rare disease entitled Myoclonus Diaphragmatic Flutter. His condition affects his speech production, leaving each word spoken sounding like a short-breathed hiccup. And from the dozens of prescription pill cocktails he’s been given, only one medication has truly worked - and instantly - at that. That medication is marijuana. When he convulses for up to ten minutes at a time, his go-to treatment is just a few tokes away in his glass pipe. After just one hit, he speaks with great clarity and fluidly, telling Gupta, "And i'm done, that's it."

Specifically for his condition, Chaz chooses strains high in Cannabidiol or CBD, which reaps all the beneficial medical effects of marijuana without leaving its users with the “stoned” feeling.

Both scientific and clinical studies have indicated that CBD rich buds are effective in easing sympomts of an incredibly wide range of seemingly uncontrollable conditions, including: rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, alcoholics, PTSD, epilepsy, antibiotic-resistant infections and neurological disorders. Its anti-cancer potential is currently being further explored by several academic research centers, globally.

Gupta’s primary regret, he says, is that he, “…took the DEA at their word when they said it was a schedule 1 substance, and has no medical applications. There was no scientific basis for them to say that.” He added, “The science is there, it isn’t anecdotal.”

In that same interview, Gupta recognized that the proof is becoming increasingly and undeniably clear. “I think it is irresponsible for the medical community not to offer this as an alternative.”

The most frequent concern regarding the legalization of medical marijuana is the fear of unsafe addiction. However, in separating fact from fiction, prescription drugs are amongst the most dangerous alternatives to treating pain. During the filming of Weed, Gupta noted zero overdoses from marijuana while, conversely, prescription pain killers such as morphine, dilaudid, oxycotin and vicotin were causing lethal overdoses every 19 minutes. As both Morgan and Gupta agreed, we are undoubtedly demonizing the wrong medicine.

In the past year, Gupta has been putting together a documentary called Weed in which he travels globally, gaining insight behind the truth regarding the actual benefits or harms of medical marijuana. Highlighting the unknowns of the cannabis world from cultivators to sellers in foreign countries, Gupta hopes that his efforts will expose information which otherwise would have remained outside of the limelight. The documentary is scheduled to air this Sunday on CNN.