Dr. Sanjay Gupta Changes His Mind On Medical Marijuana
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta says he was wrong about medical marijuana and that "we have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that."
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."
Marijuana is currently listed in the category of the most dangerous drugs in America.
We now know that while estimates vary, marijuana leads to dependence in around 9 to 10% of its adult users. By comparison, cocaine, a schedule 2 substance "with less abuse potential than schedule 1 drugs" hooks 20% of those who use it. Around 25% of heroin users become addicted.
The worst is tobacco, where the number is closer to 30% of smokers, many of whom go on to die because of their addiction.
The vast majority of medical papers written about marijuana in America are about the harm and provide a distorted picture, Dr. Gupta says.
Michael Rusch is a socials editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.