The Man Who Fell in Love With Weed

Sanjay Gupta, MD, has gone off the rails and taken CNN with him. To promote his third documentary on the subject, Weed 3, he wrote an article titled “Dr. Sanjay Gupta: It’s time for a medical marijuana revolution” on CNN’s website datelined April 20. Yes, that 4/20, the day marijuana smokers nationwide gather outside to flout federal and state law by openly smoking pot. (Even the four states and DC that have legalized recreational marijuana prohibit smoking in public.)

In his call for a medical marijuana revolution, he morphs from less-than-objective reporter to shameless huckster, concluding, “We should legalize medical marijuana. We should do it nationally. And, we should do it now.”

As CNN’s chief medical correspondent, a practicing neurosurgeon, assistant professor of neurosurgery at Emory University School of Medicine, and associate chief of the neurosurgery service at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital, he understands how medicine works.

In covering the admission of the nation’s first Ebola patient, American Dr. Kent Brantley who fell ill while caring for Liberians stricken with the disease and was flown to Emory University Hospital for treatment, Dr. Gupta noted how unusual it would be to administer an experimental drug that hadn’t gone through the rigorous FDA process, even to patients with an incurable disease.

But his infatuation with marijuana somehow enables him to suspend the tools of modern medicine that protect people from unsafe, ineffective drugs. Anderson Cooper interviewed Dr. Gupta to promote Weed 2 shortly before it aired last year.

“It’s really fascinating, Anderson,” Dr. Gupta said, “because we’re used to an FDA process where you have the trials that take place and then you’re given a certain dosage and all that stuff. That hasn’t happened with cannabis. What happens is you have these different strains [of marijuana] and they [the producers] will create these hybrids . . . and then, you know, the people who are the dispensers will often times be talking to the patients who come in, finding out what works for them . . . . But, you know, the trial and error of this just feels so nascent and new in what they’re trying to do and really something like this hasn’t been done before, at least not for a long time, in this country.”

Dr. Gupta fails to mention that the dispensers, called “budtenders” – the marijuana equivalent of bartenders – have no medical training whatsoever. Welcome to the brave new world of word-of-mouth medicine: tell me which marijuana strain relieves your (name any of the 50 illnesses legislators have approved marijuana to treat despite lack of FDA approval) and I’ll pass it on to the next person with a similar complaint.

It is the responsibility of all medicine makers, whether pharmaceutical companies or “medical” marijuana growers, to submit their medicines to FDA for approval before marketing them to the public. What Dr. Gupta fails to see is that if a government legalizes “medical” pot, marijuana growers are free to promote and sell their “medicines” without bothering to prove they are safe or effective. But then, when you are so enamored with “medical” weed that you call for it to be legalized, you can forget that love is blind.

Source: The 22nd April 2015

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