CNN’s Gupta To Drop Another MMJ Bombshell Tonight?

Mar 11, 2014

He rocked the medical-marijuana world last year and drew atten­tion from Con­gress when he apol­o­gized for giv­ing short shrift to med­ical mar­i­juana. At 10 p.m. Tues­day, CNN med­ical cor­re­spon­dent Dr. San­jay Gupta will be at it again, air­ing “Weed 2,” his sec­ond, hour-long spe­cial on the health ben­e­fits of cannabis. Michigan’s medical-pot advo­cates say it could be a sec­ond bomb­shell in the national debate on pot. “We think it’ll be another big deal across our coun­try, and hope­fully even in other parts of the world where they are think­ing about chang­ing their laws,” said Heidi Parikh of Romu­lus, founder of the Michi­gan Com­pas­sion edu­ca­tion groups that meet in Royal Oak and South­gate. Gupta, who grew up in Novi and grad­u­ated from the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan School of Med­i­cine, will nar­rate the show, which will include sick young­sters and their par­ents strug­gling to obtain cannabis against legal bar­ri­ers placed by state and fed­eral author­i­ties. “If you want to under­stand the sci­ence, this is some­thing you’ll want to watch,” Gupta told the Free Press on Mon­day. “The drug con­tin­ues to be unfairly rejected by most of the Amer­i­can med­ical estab­lish­ment and by gov­ern­ment drug reg­u­la­tors,” he said. “My sense as a doc­tor is that peo­ple have an option now, some­thing that actu­ally was an option up until the 1940s (when the fed­eral gov­ern­ment made mar­i­juana ille­gal). “There’s a lot of evi­dence now that this not only works for many ail­ments but it often works where noth­ing else has,” he said. The show will dis­cuss how cannabis can ease symp­toms of epilepsy, mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis, arthri­tis, can­cer and other dis­eases. As a father as well as a brain sur­geon and med­ical pro­fes­sor, Gupta said he remains opposed to expos­ing young peo­ple to mar­i­juana. And he hedged when asked about legal­iza­tion for recre­ational use, call­ing that an issue for a future show. But he said med­ical cannabis clearly has a key role to play in seizure dis­or­ders, the safe alle­vi­a­tion of pain and numer­ous other health appli­ca­tions. Last week, the Med­ical Mar­i­juana New Con­di­tions Review Board in Lans­ing approved one new use for med­ical mar­i­juana, post-traumatic stress dis­or­der (PTSD), while deny­ing appli­ca­tions that it be allowed for insom­nia and bipo­lar dis­or­der. “If you look at the sci­ence, you don’t see the longer-term side effects (in adults who use mar­i­juana) that you see in some­one whose brain is still devel­op­ing,” Gupta said. He said brain devel­op­ment is still incom­plete in most young adults all the way to age 25, so mar­i­juana and alco­hol use should be strictly lim­ited before then. “Tra­di­tion­ally, we con­sider 21 to be the age of adult­hood. But research clearly shows that our brains are still devel­op­ing at 21,” he said. Gupta said he’d reviewed reams of med­ical stud­ies in prepa­ra­tion for the show, delv­ing into the reg­u­la­tory hur­dles of get­ting med­ical mar­i­juana accepted over the vested inter­ests of giant drug com­pa­nies, the med­ical col­leges that teach doc­tors how to pre­scribe it, and the gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tors who are wed­ded to cau­tion and the war on drugs. Many ill­nesses don’t respond well to exist­ing, FDA-approved drugs, he said. “The Amer­i­can Epilepsy Foun­da­tion says there’s about a mil­lion patients out there who aren’t get­ting relief from their seizures,” Gupta said. The show tells the story of many patients who had to move to Col­orado to get the med­ical pot they need. Vot­ers in Col­orado, along with those in Wash­ing­ton state, voted to fully legal­ize mar­i­juana last year. “We’re all very excited” about Gupta’s sec­ond show, said Robin Schnei­der, leg­isla­tive chair­woman for the Detroit-based National Patients Rights Asso­ci­a­tion, an advo­cacy group for medical-marijuana laws. “We thought his first show raised a lot of aware­ness about med­ical mar­i­juana, par­tic­u­larly for chil­dren,” Schnei­der said. The tim­ing is good because two bills that relate directly to Gupta’s pro­gram are get­ting fresh atten­tion in Lans­ing this week, she said. At a hear­ing sched­uled for today, law­mak­ers will receive the first tes­ti­mony on House Bill 4271, which would let each com­mu­nity in Michi­gan decide for itself whether to allow dis­pen­saries where state-approved patients could buy tested med­ical pot, she said. At the same hear­ing, law­mak­ers will dis­cuss House Bill 5104, which would allow non-smokable forms of mar­i­juana in Michi­gan, which are essen­tial to treat­ing chil­dren, Schnei­der said. Source: Detroit Free Press (MI) Author: Bill Lait­ner, Detroit Free Press Staff Writer Pub­lished: March 10, 2014 Copy­right: 2014 Detroit Free Press Web­site: http://​www​.freep​.com/ Con­tact: letters@​freepress.​com

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CNN’s Gupta To Drop Another MMJ Bomb­shell Tonight?

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