Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN, who surprised many with his reversal on medical marijuana earlier this month, shows how quickly and effectively medical marijuana can work on patients with certain conditions in his new documentary “Weed.” Gupta admits that he initially thought medical marijuana was just a convenient excuse for people to get high (and that’s certainly the case for some), but once he started doing his own research, he found that many people used marijuana as a medicine, and it worked where nothing else did.
Take Chaz Moore, 19, who comes in at 12:12 of the above video. He has myoclonus diaphragmatic flutter, a disorder which causes unwanted palpitations in his diaphragm. During an attack, Moore’s speech sounds like it’s coming out in hiccups, and he is clearly uncomfortable. His stomach quivers visibly, and the attacks can be painful. Moore takes one hit of marijuana (13:10 on the video), then turns back to Gupta:
“And I’m done,” he says. His speech sounds normal and his stomach ceases its flutters within seconds. It’s remarkable. Gupta says that Moore’s attacks can happen up to 40 times a day, and last more than 20 minutes. Moore had tried a slew of other medications before turning to marijuana. It was and is the only thing that worked.
Gupta profiles other patients, but also marijuana’s effects on creativity (it can increase while high), cognition (irregular smokers are impaired while driving but habitual smokers are not) and neural development (marijuana is often damaging to the development of people under 16 years old).
In short, Gupta is giving marijuana, especially medical marijuana, the sort of mainstream objective look that it has always deserved. Hopefully this is facilitating a reasonable conversation about whether we should be denying people like Chaz Moore medical marijuana.