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CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta: “I am doubling down” on pot

Josh Stanley, of the Realm of Caring Foundation, gives CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta a tour.
Josh Stanley, of the Realm of Caring Foundation, gives CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta a tour


CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta: “I am doubling down” on pot

Eight months after the release of Sanjay Gupta’s primetime CNN Special “Weed”, Dr. Gupta says he is “doubling down” on pot.

“It is not easy to apologize and take your lumps, but this was never about me,” Gupta said.

Gupta is a neurosurgeon, college professor and President Obama’s 2009 pick for surgeon general of the United States. Gupta withdrew his name from consideration and continues to act as CNN’s chief medical correspondent.

Gupta released an editorial today on further driving the point he believes medical marijuana is not a hoax and must be rescheduled immediately. CNN will air “Weed 2: Cannabis Madness,” a follow up to the original feature, Tuesday, March 11. Gupta will be taking live questions via Reddit following the special on Friday, March 14.

Gupta shocked the nation last August by publicly apologizing for his prior stance opposing medical cannabis. Gupta, who publicly opposed legalization in 2009, opened his apology by addressing his prior stance:

“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,” he said.

The primetime special aired live to 1.2 million viewers, the best ratings CNN had seen in the slot in a long time. The video continues to draw tens of thousands of viewers on Youtube and other social sharing platforms. The documentary has also been credited for sparking the demand for CBD medications and CBD-only legislation in conservative states.

Gupta’s newest letter does not mention CBD-only legislation specifically, but instead “doubles down” on his original affirmation that whole-plant cannabis has proven medicinal value and safety and must be rescheduled at the federal level.

“Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, defined as ‘the most dangerous’ drugs ‘with no currently accepted medical use.’ Neither of those statements has ever been factual. Even many of the most ardent critics of medical marijuana don’t agree with the Schedule I classification, knowing how it’s impeded the ability to conduct needed research on the plant.”

Gupta also says the federal government must reschedule cannabis because it’s the right thing to do.

“Yes, I know there is a concern many people out there will feign ailments just to get marijuana. But withholding legitimate treatment for the needy is a very unjust way of addressing that concern,” says Gupta.

Gupta finished by promising to continue to cover the topic, specifically people relocating their entire lives for safe access, regardless of the personal cost to his career.

“I worry that generations from now, my great-grandkids will find Internet headlines referring to me as the ‘pot doc.’ I do hope they will also read the rest of the story and understand the lives of the countless people who have suffered needlessly when a plant could have helped. I hope they know that I have dedicated my time to researching the medical literature, speaking to the scientists in person and piecing together a fact-based presentation meant to educate, not frighten.”

Tell us, how do you feel about Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s comments?



  1. Tyler

    March 23, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    For cannabis to be schedule 1 means it has no medical value, amongst other things. Here’s practical and apparent medical value. But it has many more uses than just this. I used to take Adderall, for ADHD, Zoloft, for depression, as well as anxiety and sleeping pills. I’m now using one chunk of plant matter instead of 4+ pills a day, and I’m more productive I feel better and enjoy everyday of life! The people are supposed to control the laws not the Feds. ANSWER DEA, ANSWER US

  2. michelle arnold

    March 6, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I completely agree with michael earhart and many others. I was involved in bad car accident in 2006 have had neck surgery and many other ailments simce. I would love to be able to use marijuana legally to ease my pain and stop taking all the oral pain meds which get you addicted provenly cause your body and organs to fall apart till you die and dont acrually give good relief of the pain. Wish the government would get on board we could probably end national defiicit in no time at all.

  3. paul whitworth

    March 6, 2014 at 6:53 am

    I am a seasoned smoker from scotland, the whole situation we are currently living in sucks, a plant that grows in the ground, can help medically,and help relieve pain, yet we are continually kept on our toes as we try to protect our crop from the cops. the minutre weed is legalised the whole world will be a much more peaceful place, crime rates will drop, prisons wont be full to the brim of weed growers and petty crimanals who have been placed in custody for growing a plant. The interview with dr gupta was brilliant if only more professionals would stand up for the right to have our plant legalised.

  4. Randy Resop

    March 6, 2014 at 5:38 am

    I take numerous oral pain Meds, and I have a Pain Pump inside of me. I smoke a little weed here and there and my pain goes away with smoking the weed. Now, when you do your research the Oral Meds will kill you from the inside out and Marijuana has no side effects other than the munchies. If my State would Make Medical Marijuana Legal, I could get ride of the prescribed Meds and smoke my weed…

    • Brad

      March 7, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      yes same here im ready for oklahoma medical so can stop these addicitve pain pills ive been on since age 18 im 34 now!!!

  5. Donnie Little

    March 6, 2014 at 4:42 am

    I believe there are secret behind the scene negotiations with tobacco companies to grow it then legalize it to make them rich.

  6. Collin

    March 6, 2014 at 3:28 am

    Im going on 3 and 1/2months from quitting cigarettes, and its been even longer since ive smoked weed…it would’ve made quitting cigarettes a lot easier if it were legal.I say outlaw tobacco and alcohol and lets go “GREEN”.It has numerous medicinal qualities.oh and lets not forget no one has ever died from weed!!!!!! EVER!!!

  7. Natalia Sims

    March 5, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    I agree first hand. I suffer unfortunately from seizures, bi-polar/ manic-servere depressant, anxiety w/ panic attacks, fainting spells, ADHD, OCD, mental disorders, sleep apnea, I’ve been numerous lay raped, addicted to drugs, victimized, neglected, abused in Everyway…. NEEDLESS to say I have had & still have a hard life and carry a big load of burdon!! YOU KNOW WHAT HELPS ME THE MOSTS….(& I don’t abuse it) MARY JANE/ CANNABIS!!! No major or harmful side effects. SIMPLE! Without it as medicine… I am a train wreck! With it I am fully functional & calm, no worries. PLEASE LEGALIZE!

  8. zach

    March 5, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Ibeen smoking my whole life, And im just gonna say God put it here for a reason, duhhh. Ao just legalize iy and get US outta det. Gezzz

  9. Clifford Anderson

    March 5, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    This is long overdue. It would great if others in positions like his would step up and change legislation. Those of us that need this type of medication would love to be out of pain.

  10. Albert Shields III

    March 5, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Im tired of the negative coments. Im fixing to be 38 an have been smoking canabas since 11 yrs old. I recently stopped 3 yrs ago except few times. In these past few yrs I have experianced high blood presure,heart problems an few other health issues and I beleive its from not smoking good natural canabas. So people get reall an learn the facts before bad mouthing

    • cristian

      March 6, 2014 at 8:09 am

      Dont you think those might be symptoms of physical dependence!

  11. tony budz

    March 5, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Mr Gupta reminds me of most doctors that never seem to listen to you until they’ve hooked into your wallet for years.

  12. Michael Earhart

    March 5, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    I am pharmacy technician in Atlanta. I understand the federal governments concern about people creating ailments to receive medical cannabis. However, after 3 years of watching drug addicts easily obtain amphetamines and oxycontin along with many other controlled substances. I truely believe if that was a real concern someone would actually be doing something about it now. Cannabis has already shown that it can help medically and be controlled in a recreation environment. I can not explain how frustrating it is to watch people suffer from drug addiction when I know an all natural plant that could help with their ailments. I hope someone takes this seriously and realizes the type of drug addiction our government is allowing to spread viciously.

    • Carol Francey

      March 5, 2014 at 6:05 pm

      Thank you, as a credentialed professional for speaking the truth on this matter. I worked on the A&D line for years. Cannabis helped many to quit hard drugs and to come down off lsd or clam from a psychosis. It is a good herb and should be offered to those who benefit.

  13. Nanoi

    March 5, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Gupta admits to not looking carefully enough at patients being helped by cannabis after his dismissal of cannabis aired. Now he changed his mind (probably smoked some pot). He was a surgeon general nominee. This guy has a lot of influence. Let’s make sure people tune into Part II on March 11th.

  14. Constance Ramsey

    March 5, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    I hate to hear all the negative remarks comments about cannabis help cancer patients that don’t have an appetite Cannabis helps patients with chronic pain, headaches, colitis, epilepsy I believe Cannabis should be legalized

  15. James Gradias

    March 5, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    It takes big man to addimit when you’re wrong! Thanks doc.

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