CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta conducted a 5-year investigation regarding the medical benefits of marijuana. He notes his displeasure with available research prior to his investigation. Dr. Gupta touts marijuana for its ability to work effectively for several conditions including pain, MS and epilepsy.
As his investigation continued, Dr. Gupta changed his mind regarding marijuana, and is calling on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to legalize and regulate medical marijuana nationwide, CNN reports. In a video message via CNN Special Report entitled “Weed 4: Pot vs. Pills” (scheduled to air on April 29 at 8 p.m. ET on CNN), the doctor mentions that the AG’s office declined multiple requests for interviews.
This is the best way that Dr. Gupta found to offer access of his investigative findings to Sessions. Much attention to the nation’s current opioid epidemic is given, even labeling it “the worst self-inflicted epidemic in the history of our country.” Data indicates that 68,000 U.S. citizens died of drug overdoses in 2017, with 45,000 of them being opioid-related. That boils down to about 115 lives being taken daily from opioid overdoses.
Dr. Gupta also cites a recent Rand Corp. analysis that was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, indicating a 20% decline in opioid overdose deaths in states where medical marijuana is available. He estimates that access to medical marijuana may save thousands of lives a year.
Dr. Gupta also lists several medicinal benefits of marijuana, pointing out to Sessions that no other single medication can aid, alleviate or reduce multiple ailments/symptoms. Marijuana’s efficacy for treating pain is given special attention; additionally noting that there is “virtually no risk of overdose or sudden death” associated with marijuana use.
Another important benefit of marijuana is highlighted: its ability to reduce inflammation, which is something an opioid cannot do. An additional anti-inflammatory prescription drug would be required for opioid users.
Something that isn’t discussed often is the effects that opioids have on the brain, so Dr. Gupta makes sure to highlight this in his report. Opioids change how the brain’s glutamatergic system works, interfering with neural signal transmission. This hinders learning, memory, judgment and decision-making. Marijuana works with receptors, instead of against them. The way that opioids impact the brain makes it hard for the body to “say no” to them and often requires higher doses over time.
Dr. Gupta extends an invitation to Sessions from Dr. Mark Wallace to spend a day with him seeing his patients in San Diego. He wants Sessions to see, first-hand, just how well people are doing with marijuana instead of pills. Multiple doctors, including Phoenix’s Dr. Sue Sisley have also extended invitations.
The information is there, science backs it up, and citizens are living proof that marijuana works well for multiple ailments. That is one main point that Dr. Gupta is trying to make to Sessions in an attempt to open his eyes to the facts – by offering him statistics and results on patients.
Photo: CNN/Daily Beast