It takes a lot of courage to admit when you were wrong. It takes even more courage if you were very outspoken when you were wrong.
On August 8, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, wrote an article for CNN.com which states, “Over the last year, I have been working on a new documentary called ‘Weed.’ The title… may sound cavalier, but the content is not.
I traveled around the world to interview medical leaders, experts, growers and patients. I spoke candidly to them, asking tough questions. What I found was stunning.” Gupta added, “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.”
Gupta said he “lumped them with the high-visibility malingerers, just looking to get high” and mistakenly believed the DEA had sound scientific proof that cannabis has “no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.”
I applaud Dr. Sanjay Gupta for admitting that he wrong about cannabis. I also applaud him for saying that he wants to set the record straight. He began to “set the record straight” by explaining his research, which included a careful reading of a letter from the Assistant Secretary of Health, Dr. Roger O. Egeberg in 1970, “Since there is still a considerable void in our knowledge of the plant and effects of the active drug contained in it, our recommendation is that marijuana be retained within schedule 1 at least until the completion of certain studies now underway to resolve the issue.”
Gupta cited a study from 1944 that found “marijuana did not lead to significant addiction in the medical sense of the word… By comparison, cocaine, a schedule 2 substance ‘with less abuse potential than schedule 1 drugs’ hooks 20% of those who use it. Around 25% of heroin users become addicted.”
“Keep in mind,” Gupta wrote, “that up until 1943, marijuana was part of the United States drug pharmacopeia. One of the conditions for which it was prescribed was neuropathic pain.” Most of the prescription medications for neuropathic pain don’t work very well.
Additionally, Gupta says, “someone dies in the United States every 19 minutes from a prescription drug overdose, mostly accidental… I could not find a documented case of death from marijuana overdose.”
Gupta added, “I promise to do my part to help, genuinely and honestly, fill the remaining void in our knowledge.”
Again, I applaud Dr. Gupta for admitting that he was wrong about cannabis. However, I would like to know if he supports full legalization of cannabis. It is not enough to simply admit, “I was wrong,” when you had previously been so vocal about “Why I Would Vote No On Pot!”
I support full legalization of cannabis for the same reasons I believe there should not be laws regulating raw milk, lemonade, prostitution or crystal meth; no one has a legitimate right to dictate to another person what they consume or do with their body.