Dr. Sanjay Gupta has recently reported on marijuana after eight months since his previous correspondence to CNN. Gupta apologizes for misleading people regarding marijuana. He now fully believes that weed plays a vital role in health care. A true scientific journey, he attests, requires the willingness to let go of all previous notions so that one can obtain the truth.
Gupta says it is not easy to apologize, but this movement, which he now supports, is much more important than he alone. The journey he spoke of is one which requires finding the truth. During his research, he discovered a growing support base of patients who use this drug, not to get high, but for genuine medical purposes. Gupta says the effect this plant has on the human brain has been documented for thousands of years. The journey is also about a “Draconian” system where politics tend to outweigh science, and unfortunately, patients get caught in the middle. The strict laws governing marijuana have prevented many physicians from effectively treating their patients.
His documentary Weed aired last August, and since then, he continues traveling the world, investigating knowledge, and questions around marijuana. During his investigation and research, Gupta met with dozens of scientists and patients, and many others who were seeking a deeper understanding of marijuana and its medical uses. He has conducted his own studies and laboratory analyses, and he has observed how marijuana molecules have been naturally harnessed for the use of medicine. Doctors have treated many conditions from epilepsy in children to chronic pain in adults; pain that can even come from the devastating condition known as multiple sclerosis.
Gupta is entirely convinced that keeping marijuana from patients is neglect by the medical community. As doctors, they have the responsibility of providing the best care possible. For this reason, Gupta apologizing for misleading people with his articles, such as the one published in Time Magazine, when he could have been working to better serve patients across the globe.
Perhaps due to Gupta’s documentary, the southern state of Georgia recently passed a bill for medical marijuana by a vote of 171-4. This was a proposal no one really expected to be successful.
Many doctors in the country fear being ostracized for their administration of marijuana, but Gupta’s next documentary will hopefully bring some of the patient success stories into the limelight. Although marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 substance (the most dangerous drug with no medical use), researchers are now agreeing that this classification is inaccurate, and perhaps one of the most influential reasons this plant has not been thoroughly studied.
Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has augmented her stance, saying she now believes restrictions should be lessened for researchers regarding marijuana. The drug also has a medical patent No. 6630507 for its use as a neuroprotectant, which shows to have potential in limiting neurological damage following “ischemic insults,” such as traumatic injury. This bothers Gupta, who claims cocaine and methamphetamine are much more accessible than marijuana is for patients. Allegedly, every 19 minutes within the United States another person dies from prescription drug overdose. Many researchers and organizations have published negative reports on marijuana, which could be the reason people and legislatures in the United States have been misled, but Dr. Gupta for one, apologizes.
By Lindsey Alexander