Sanjay Gupta: I'm sorry, I was wrong about medical marijuana

Marijuana "doesn't have a high potential for abuse" and has "very legitimate medical applications," writes Gupta

By Katie McDonough

Published August 8, 2013 5:05PM (EDT)

Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN    (Mark Lennihan)
Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN (Mark Lennihan)

CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has reversed his position on the use of medical marijuana and apologized for not "looking hard enough" at the scientific literature in support of its use and being "too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis."

Gupta, who is currently working on a documentary on the issue, went on to say that the United States has been "terribly and systematically misled" about marijuana, which "doesn't have a high potential for abuse" and has "very legitimate medical applications."

"I apologize for my own role in that," he added.

More from Gupta over at CNN:

Medical marijuana is not new, and the medical community has been writing about it for a long time. There were in fact hundreds of journal articles, mostly documenting the benefits. Most of those papers, however, were written between the years 1840 and 1930. The papers described the use of medical marijuana to treat "neuralgia, convulsive disorders, emaciation," among other things...

In my quick running of the numbers, I calculated about 6% of the current U.S. marijuana studies investigate the benefits of medical marijuana. The rest are designed to investigate harm. That imbalance paints a highly distorted picture...

Looking forward, I am especially intrigued by studies like those in Spain and Israel looking at the anti-cancer effects of marijuana and its components. I'm intrigued by the neuro-protective study by Lev Meschoulam in Israel, and research in Israel and the United States on whether the drug might help alleviate symptoms of PTSD. I promise to do my part to help, genuinely and honestly, fill the remaining void in our knowledge.

Citizens in 20 states and the District of Columbia have now voted to approve marijuana for medical applications, and more states will be making that choice soon. As for Dr. Roger Egeberg, who wrote that letter in 1970, he passed away 16 years ago.

You can read the rest here.

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Marijuana Marijuana Legalization Medical Marijuana Pot Sanjay Gupta