WEED 3: The Marijuana Revolution with Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Sanjay Gupta’s most recent weed special examines the benefits of medical marijuana for the treatment of post-traumatic stress (PTS) caused by concussions, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and Alzheimer’s disease. Overzealous drug laws have prevented physicians and scientists from studying marijuana in the United States. The DEA continues to classify weed as a Schedule 1 drug (the same Schedule as heroin).

In March 2014, Dr. Sue Sisley, a leading medical cannabis researcher, received approval from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to conduct a clinical study using marijuana to treat PTS. Less than three months after receiving the approval, the University of Arizona abruptly fired Dr. Sisley.

“What happened here is the repression of science for political purposes,” said Rick Doblin, president of the Psychedelic Studies Association. “It is astonishing in this day and age.”

Following her departure from the University of Arizona, the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has supported Dr. Sisley’s research. In April 2016, MAPS received a $2.156 million dollar grant from the State of Colorado to conduct a clinical trial of whole plant marijuana for PTS in veterans. Dr. Sisley will treat half the patients in the study. This DEA-approved study will be the first of its kind!

Despite its hardcore war on pot, the US government recognizes the unique benefits of medical marijuana. In 2003, the US Department of Health and Human Services was granted patent No. 6,630,507 for the “use of cannabiniods as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.” In 2005, the commercialization rights to the patent were sold to Kannalife Sciences, a company that specializes in the development of cannabinoid-based medicines to treat brain damage and disorders.

There is substantial anecdotal evidence that marijuana effectively alleviates the symptoms of PTS, and it’s much safer than synthetic prescription painkillers. In the US alone, an estimated estimated 20,000 patients die of accidental overdose from painkillers each year. Compare this to zero accidental deaths caused by marijuana.

In 2016, several states legalized weed for medicinal or recreational purposes. Here is the updated map:

United States weed laws; information is current as of January 31, 2016.

Weed contains nearly 500 bioactive compounds, only three of which have been individually studied (THC, CBD and CBN). I look forward to seeing the fruits of Dr. Sisley’s and others’ research! Here is the video:

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