In less than a year, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has gone from doubting medical marijuana to discussing how to best take it for its therapeutic benefits.
Dr. Gupta, a trained neurosurgeon and CNN’s chief medical correspondent, has now explored the topic of medical marijuana twice since last summer. His second documentary ‘Weed 2: Cannabis Madness’ premiered Tuesday night, telling the story of two-year-old epileptic Vivian Wilson and her family’s difficult journey to obtain cannabis treatment.
Earlier on Tuesday, the doctor took to the crowd-discussion site Reddit to answer a few personal questions on marijuana in an ‘Ask Me Anything’-style interview. Here’s a recap of the discussion:
Many asked about the doctor’s own experiences.
Question: “Have you smoked weed before?”
Dr. Gupta: “Yes I have tried it before.”
Question: “How was your experience?”
Dr. Gupta: “It made me a little anxious!”
Others wondered what he thought of legalization.
Question: “If you could write the bill for legalization of marijuana, what special details would you include?”
Dr. Gupta: “The bill I would write would be a federal bill, not a state bill. It would include many different strains of cannabis from a whole plant extract. I would want these medicines to be researched and tested to ensure they are safe and effective.”
Reddit users were also curious about ways of taking marijuana.
Question: “What is the best method of ingestion in your opinion?”
Dr. Gupta: “It is probably vaporizing. I think smoking creates a lot of byproducts that we don’t know enough about. I think eating it leads to very uneven absorption. Vaporizing seems to activate the medicine without burning it. I also think oils absorbed in the mouth are effective, especially for kids.”
Someone asked if it was really him.
Someone asked what research was most convincing.
Question: “What is the single most profound piece of quantifiable data (or perhaps a correlation) that:
1. Convinced you that medical marijuana was a legitimate medication
2. You would like for everyone to know”
Dr. Gupta: “The studies about cannabis and epilepsy were very compelling. Also, the use of cannabis as a treatment for neuropathic pain and multiple sclerosis. I think people should know that cannabis is being used a legitimate medication in hospitals all over the world. In fact, a medication for MS that is cannabis based, is now approved in 25 countries around the world, but not the United States.”
Someone wanted to know if cannabis could treat brain injuries.
Question: “As a neurosurgeon would you recommend medical marijuana to traumatic brain injury patients?”
Dr. Gupta: “So glad you asked about this. I think we will get to the point where this is a viable treatment option. You should look at the data around Patent 6630507. It is a patent held by our own Department of Health and Human Services for this very reason.”
The doctor was asked about his predictions for the future.
Question: “Do you think the future of cannabis as a medicine is as a pharmaceutical drug or as a supplement/food?”
Dr. Gupta: “I think it will likely be a combination of both but we’ll need safeguards to make sure it is consistently safe, effective, and reliable.”