Tomorrow, August 11 at 8 pm ET CNN will air a special named "Weed," where their chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, does an about face and  mea culpa on his attitude toward marijuana.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a neurosurgeon and CNN\'s chief medical correspondent.

Long before I began this project, I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive. Reading these papers five years ago, it was hard to make a case for medicinal marijuana. I even wrote about this in a TIME magazine article, back in 2009, titled "Why I would Vote No on Pot."

Well, I am here to apologize.

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."

They didn't have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn't have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications....

Based on what I've seen on CNN, I would expect an endorsement of the use of marijuana or perhaps THC for medical purposes without an endorsement of its recreational use. I do expect to hear him say, though, that marijuana is far less harmful and dangerous than tobacco and alcohol.

(Full article here.)

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You know, it is very rare that someone will openly say they were wrong, and do an about face publicly like this.  I think it is highly commendable and sets an example to others who ought to be reconsidering their own position. Hhe does not come across as a fool - he comes across as an honest man, with integrity.

Video from CNN

Tobacco and Alcohol. Tobacco kills your lungs, where Miss Mary Jay may actually improve them,

And Alcohol can poison you, but it's physically impossible to overdose on pot.

In fact, the only thing really dangerous about marijuana that I have noticed in my "personal" studies of the drug, is that it burns much hotter than tobacco, and can easily burn your fingers. So, singed cuticles or cancer?

Gupta's report will be based on science. I expect we'll here some downsides, but certainly nothing like tobacco and alcohol. I already heard him say that there have been NO (none, nada, zip) overdose deaths from marijuana and that ingesting it orally (as in brownies or cookies) has some risks not associated with smoking.

On the other hand, I will take a lot of convincing before I believe that anything is better for my lungs than nice clean smoke-free air, especially considering that marijuana smoke includes many of the same toxins found in tobacco smoke.

That's because the toxins are in the SMOKE. Have you ever heard of Vaporizing? Ecigs use heat to vaporize nicotine so that it becomes air born, and activated, so that you can inhale it. You can do the same thing with weed, but it takes a much higher heat to vaporize THC, so you can't just extract it and put it in an ecig (crying shame, that), but you can use a glass bowl pipe and heat from the bottom to release the vapor. This is economic too, because it makes the weed last longer... I'm not a stoner, okay. I just read alot, and I'm not picky about the forums I visit. o_o'

Let me amend what I said: "On the other hand, I will take a lot of convincing before I believe that anything is better for my lungs than nice clean...air,"

Medicinally taken, I think you would be a lot better off if you had multiple sclerosis or other painful debilitating diseases and had access to THC. If you look into the side effects of chemical pain relievers, even for a headache, you might re-consider that statement as well. Did you know it helps asthmatics to breathe?

Socially taken, it would be a lot less damaging to your liver or kidneys than alcohol, and there would be barely any negative impact on your lungs.  Also, regarding public behaviour, alcohol can provoke anger and uncontrolled violence. You can see the evidence of this if you go into the ER ward in any hospital on a Friday or Saturday night. THC does not inspire fights (probably because nobody can be bothered!).

Are you sure that your opinion here isn't part of a lifelong bias based on other peoples prejudices?

I wrote...

Let me amend what I said: "On the other hand, I will take a lot of convincing before I believe that anything is better for my lungs than nice clean...air,"

I can't see that you contradicted that in any way. Of course, people with certain medical conditions may stand to benefit from using marijuana or THC even by smoking it. I certainly never meant to say otherwise. I stand by what I said. All things being equal, there's nothing better for my lungs than nice clean air. 

BTW, I have known a fair number of regular marijuana users over the years, and almost to a one they used alcohol as well, often much more frequently than they used marijuana. Many of them also used tobacco in addition to marijuana. So, don't pretend that marijuana will magically supplant alcohol and tobacco use.

My bias—if I have one, which I doubt—may derive not from other people's prejudices but rather from my struggles with asthma when I was young. Asthma is no longer an issue in my life: I'm one of those who outgrow it after a while.

Marijuana shouldn't be legal, it should be mandatory.  Every person in a position of authority should have to smoke two joints before noon.

If they're a registered Republican, that requirement should be doubled.

In ten thousand years of known marijuana use there has never been one single death. Yet there are some 400,000 deaths a year in the U.S which are directly linked to tobacco use.  Yet it's marijuana that is illegal. The mind boggles. 

Unfortunately, marijuana is where it is relative to tobacco for two reasons: 1) it never became a large industry like tobacco, and 2) it isn't addictive, so it doesn't have the kind of fanatical support that tobacco does (meaning people fearful of having to go through withdrawal).


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