Sanjay Gupta, the famous doctor who regularly appears on CNN, has done a complete reversal when it comes to the issue of marijuana.
Not long ago, he was a staunch opponent of legalized cannabis. In 2009, he wrote an opinion article for Time with the headline: “Why I Would Vote No on Pot.”
What a difference a few years and a lot of research have made. Gupta now is a strong advocate for medical marijuana and has done documentaries about the issue for CNN.
Sanjay Gupta Apologizes
Gupta feels so strongly about the legalized marijuana that he even wrote an apology on the CNN website for his past stance on the issue. In the apology, he wrote that he had traveled the world to investigate the pros and cons of cannabis and came away with a changed mind.
He said he had interviewed medical professionals, patients, growers and retailers. “What I found was stunning,” he wrote.
Some of the reasons he gave for his change of mind included:
- Discovering the Drug Enforcement Agency really has no scientific proof to back up its listing of cannabis as a Schedule I drug with no medicinal use and a high likelihood of being abused.
- Meeting patients firsthand in both the United States and around the world who saw improvement in their conditions through the use of medical marijuana. In some cases, marijuana was the only medicine that helped.
- Going over the history of how marijuana was made illegal in the United States and discovering little of it was based on actual research.
“We have been terribly and systematically misled in this country for 70 years, and I apologize for my role in that,” Gupta wrote.
Letter to Sessions
Sanjay Gupta’s change of mind comes at a time when U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues to be a strong opponent of legalized marijuana. He has rescinded protections for the legal marijuana industry at the state level put in place by the Obama Administration.
The head of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency also recently testified before a congressional committee that he believes marijuana is contributing to the nation’s substance abuse crisis (although he did support further research into the issue).
On the other hand, many public figures have changed their stance on marijuana. They range from celebrities and athletes to politicians.
Gupta wrote an open letter to Sessions that outlined his research and why he changed his mind on the issue. He told Sessions that his five years of research proved to him that cannabis can effectively treat pain and could provide a viable alternative to opioids. About 115 people die every day in the United States from opioid overdose, and 40 percent of those deaths involve prescription opioids.
He asked Sessions to change his mind about marijuana, saying that “thousands of lives could be improved and saved. There is no time to lose.” He wrote the letter after Sessions declined to appear on Gupta’s marijuana special report for CNN.