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Thank You, Sanjay Gupta

Sanjay Gupta sits for an interview in a green house full of marijuana.

Joint Opinions

Thank You, Sanjay Gupta

“The medical marijuana program will not happen under my watch,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in 2011.

Those words must feel like political suicide now.

Last night, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s resident neurosurgeon and former candidate for surgeon general of the United States, “doubled down” on medical marijuana in a refreshing hour-long truth fest in which he did not give equal weight to propaganda and opinions as to actual verifiable science.

Throughout the documentary Gupta followed the Wilson family of New Jersey, who, after public run ins from their governor and a reaffirmation he would not readdress the issue, decided to uproot their family and move to Colorado in order to secure safe access to cannabis medicines for their young daughter Vivian Wilson.

Vivian suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a severe form of childhood epilepsy for which marijuana has proven an effective treatment, specifically strains high in CBD and low in THC.

As the adorable young toddler seized, writhing in pain, you could feel the anxiety and fear in her parents as they rushed to administer her the powerful anti-seizure meds to control it. Over and over again.

Vivian’s mother mentions that her 4-year-old daughter, Vivian’s big sister, knows they cannot play at the playground because it is too dangerous for her little sister.

Brian and Meghan Wilson’s entire lives center around keeping the young child alive. The family has been consumed by Vivian’s condition, they knew what they needed to do and had finally resigned to the reality that Governor Christie either just doesn’t care or is feigning ignorance for political reasons.

Seventy-seven percent of Americans believe medical marijuana should be federally legal. Fifty-one percent of Americans believe marijuana should be legal for all uses. The public is convinced, it seems the only naysayers left are the politicians and those who will always choose their own delusional notions over verifiable science.

Governor Christie intends to run for President of the United States in 2016, but I think he would be hard pressed to find any Republican, Democrat or Libertarian who watched the special still willing to give him their vote. Christie’s behavior is evident of megalomania, not leadership.

Perhaps Gupta feels responsible for the wave of CBD-only legislation proposed in conservative states; legislators and proponents of such legislation have not been shy about saying the original “Weed” special, which aired last August, inspired the laws.

Now, in mid-March, we are looking at a handful of states ready to pass these laws in their short legislative sessions. While most medical marijuana advocates and cannabis industry workers applaud any effort to get sick people the relief cannabis provides, in fact we feel it is a basic human right, many of us cannot get behind these bills because they actually restrict safe access to our most vulnerable populations, the sick.

In an editorial promoting the special, Gupta described what he refers to as the “entourage effect,” or all the cannabinoids, terpenes and other compounds found in cannabis working together synergistically to address the variety of symptoms that come with almost any diagnosis.

It’s a hard concept for many Americans to wrap their heads around. We have a system of “Pharmacologicalism” in the United States, the notion that each individual symptom must be treated by an individual chemical. For a patient with cancer, the chemotherapy is used to attack the tumor. The chemotherapy has a range of side effects such as insomnia, depression, nausea and wasting, each has a corresponding pharmaceutical drug.

Patients with severe and chronic illnesses often take a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs every day, with damaging short and long-term effects. Those who use marijuana as a medicine have not only felt better, but stopped taking the bulk of their prescriptions.

The irony is that many of those pharmaceuticals contain the active ingredients in street drugs such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines. Each medicine approved by the FDA went through years of expensive research and development and now are highly profitable and very expensive to consumers.

In that sense, it is hard for many Americans to grasp the concept that one plant, which they could grow in their backyards, could manage a variety of symptoms and actually heal many conditions.

While there is still money to be made on cannabis, cannabis will never be as profitable to pharmaceutical companies as the drugs they sell now. Cannabis is also a connoisseur commodity, the market demands extreme variety, a much different business model, perhaps a more equalizing one, than a pharmaceutical cash cow.

Gupta has taken the time to present the available science, which unequivocally states that cannabis is not only safe, but also the most effective medicine we have to treat conditions like epilepsy, cancer, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis and more.

Unlike the politicians now ramming through restrictive CBD-only legislation, Dr. Sanjay Gupta took the first step last August and apologized. He said he was sorry he had never looked beyond the propaganda. It’s hard to say you were wrong and you’re sorry, but if he can do it, so can our elected representatives who have been fighting the public on this issue for the last 70 years.

Thank you, Dr. Gupta.

What would you like to say to Dr. Sanjay Gupta? Tell us in the comments below.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Taralya McDonough

    March 16, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    I have chronic pancreas caused from an accident. The doctor was doing a splenectomy, and left 8peices of spleen that caused a bad infection. They had to open me back up to get the infected spleen out. Somehow my pancreas got cut up as well. This happend when I was 20 yrs. now I am 50 yrs. old , and I am wasting, it’s hard to keep any weight on. I am on a lot of strong meds. Morphine sulfate 100mg. Three times a day as well as 30mg. Instant release for break threw pain. I get pancreatitis so bad I can’t keep medicine down. The pain is tremendous, and nothing, even pain injections do not bring me relieve. I have used cannabis when I can, and the results are very good. I can cut my daily morphine in half when I have cannabis. It also helps the wasting away . My doctor almost put a feeding tube in and I was able to get cannabis instead, I stopped dropping the weight, and put on 10 pounds. My doctor is aware of the cannabis, and believes that is the reason I am not worse. My doctor believes that cannabis is a great medicine. I would love to be able to use it, but do not want to do any jail time especially as sick as I am. That would most certainly do me in.

  2. Rex Petty

    March 13, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Thank You for exposing the truth! Marijuana has been a medicine for over 4000 years and was used for food, fuel and fiber as well as medicine by the Jews in the time of Jesus!!! It’s a shame what we are doing in the name of morality over science. What’s immoral is what we are putting these children through when there is relief in a lief, the way God intended.

  3. Anonymous

    March 13, 2014 at 10:40 am

    I have PTSD and my lawyer and dr say since I smoke herbs I can only sue for my three bulging discs that transpired due to a car accident ( when I developed PTSD ) I need medical marjunia or I can’t keep ANY food down and to stop anxiety attacks (lost one job)

  4. Church

    March 13, 2014 at 7:07 am

    This is a commendable effort by Gupta.
    He tagged Christie as a baby killer.
    I do not understand why the show gave credibility to Patrick Kennedy.
    Kennedy is an admitted abuser of dangerous substances, such as alcohol and cocaine. Just because he has an addictive personality does not mean that we all do.
    Let’s end this farce, once and for all.
    Colorado, here we come!

  5. LL

    March 13, 2014 at 4:51 am

    The funny part about CBD is that its been less researched then THC. Its just a way for these crook politicians to look like they did something when they’re still leaving millions sick and broke. I was glad his show made Gov Christie look like a jerk, he deserves to be in jail. He’s been using pieces from the world trade center wreckage as payoffs for mayors that supported him, sick. The only part of the show I didn’t like was the Kennedy at the end who claimed the feds need to be the ones controlling it as medicine, they need to just back off. Why would the feds be in charge of this, but not anything else like opiates? I wonder how many people realize their pain pills are the same basic chemical make up as heroin, and why its ok for children to have these? Oil, cotton, pharmacy and paper industries are going to lose billions once hemp and cannabis is made legal, they’re then ones this fight is really against, and they’re using our government against us.

  6. Michael Hutton

    March 12, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Thank you! I have been suffering since 1990! In Washington and still losing jobs over medical card! Crushed by 8 ton plate and couldn’t go to doctor, boss told me I’d have a job for life since I didn’t file against him! fired or layed off two years later as soon as I couldn’t sue them! Been with my union for 15 years and my dr piss tested me and won’t give me my pain meds because of it! So to make this short I LOVE YOU FOR TELLING THE TRUTH! Perfect safety record for 15 years till this!

  7. Vickie

    March 12, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks Doc.

  8. richard perkinson

    March 12, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    I think Gupta got turned on by someone and he enjoyed it and realized cannabis is not the demon weed that is has been named. Pharmacies will fight tooth and nail to keep it off the market because they cannot afford on cancer alone to lose the prescriptions that pay for their Mercedes and trophy wives and multilevel houses. It’s all a money game-deep down 98% of the population knows the truth.

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