Please Explain: Medical Marijuana

Friday, March 21, 2014

Dave Warden, a bud tender at Private Organic Therapy (P.O.T.), a non-profit co-operative medical marijuana dispensary, displays various types of marijuana available to patients on October 19, 2009. (David McNew/Getty)

Medical marijuana is legal in 20 states, and is used to treat symptoms of multiple sclerosis, AIDS, side effects of chemotherapy, as well as pain, glaucoma, epilepsy, insomnia, and anxiety. Dr. Igor Grant, Distinguished Professor and Executive Vice-Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at UCSD School of Medicine and Director of the UC Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, tells us about his research into the possible utility of cannabis compounds in the amelioration of certain severe manifestations of disease. And Jim Rendon, author of Supercharged: How Outlaws, Hippies, and Scientists Reinvented Marijuana, talks about the changing attitudes toward marijuana and how the increasing acceptance of medical marijuana is changing the legal and commercial landscape.


Dr. Igor Grant and Jim Rendon

Comments [18]


I know for a fact that it helps with symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis! I've suffered from this debilitating condition for over 20 years and once I started smoking i could instantly see the difference in my system. Please believe that God has placed a cure to so many ailments on the earth that can heal and treat us better and gentler than most modern day medicine. :)

Aug. 06 2014 10:15 AM
Bob from Pacific Northwest

I'm a medical marijuana patient who relocated to the Pacific Northwest specifically because I wanted to discontinue using narcotics for a chronic pain condition and substitute medical marijuana. I am grateful that I was able to move to a State with a compassionate medical use policy so and I am 100% certain that I made the correct decision. I hope that your State makes this option available to patients in the very near future.

Mar. 23 2014 03:01 PM
Richard from Staten Island

On Tuesday March 18th the Staten Island Democratic Association voted to support the legalization of medical marijuana in New York State and to support the reclassification of of marijuana from a Class I drug to a Class III drug.

The Club's medical marijuana position paper can be found at

Mar. 21 2014 06:11 PM
Susan from New Jersey

Correction: Leonard the family that moved to Colorado so their young daughter could have access to Medical Marijuana was from New Jersey not NY. In NJ Chris Christie legalized (finally) MM but, for only a very few (6 to be exact) chronic diseases and as he puts it "will not let NJ become an expansion state, ever, not on my watch!" This means if you're a card carrying member for MM you can not bring MM in from another state or another state, such as Colorado, can not bring their product to sell in one of NJ dispensaries. Right now NJ has only a handful of dispensaries which do not provide edibles or oils high in CBD's. I know NJ and the rest of the country will get there but for now and for families like the one featured on CNN last week it won't be soon enough. My daughter was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis last fall. I have family in Colorado and several of the growers/retailers in Denver have amazing product that's high in CBD's and low in THC -- the stuff that gets you stoned. My daughter ate candies infused with CBD oil for one month and WOW what amazing results! Along with her other meds. (which have terrible side effects) he stomach pain and cramps were gone! And her mood did a complete 360!! Ever since she went on the UC meds she's been a little down and very quiet. On the CBD edibles she is happy and full of life -- enough that we too are considering the move to Colorado!!

Mar. 21 2014 04:59 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

rudeboynyc from williamsburg

The potent stuff, like, makes people say "like" several times in like, every sentence.

Mar. 21 2014 02:18 PM

Gee, Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights - thanks for filling us in- I always thought that Bob Marley got cancer from listening to too much loud music and Steve Jobs talked on his cell phone too much.

Mar. 21 2014 02:13 PM
rudeboynyc from williamsburg

does marijuana make people say "you know" several times in every sentence?

Mar. 21 2014 01:59 PM

Marijuana is excellent for the first couple of days during my period. It not only lessens my cramps, but lightens the doom and gloom caused by temporary hormonal depression during this time.

Mar. 21 2014 01:58 PM

It is true that Mar-i has medicinal properties - as do many organic materials - but the push to medicalize Mar-i - is simply trying to to find a way to make it acceptable - because its illegality is soley to allow a criminal justice system to incarcerate people of color for profit - and prejudice -

Mar. 21 2014 01:57 PM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

Listening to this segment is giving me the munchies.

Mar. 21 2014 01:55 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

The claims that marijuana cures cancer is supported by the lives of Bob Marley and Steve Jobs.

Mar. 21 2014 01:53 PM
Paul from NY

Lopate's question - "does it cure anything or is it just symptomatic" - highlights a major problem of understanding, and not with regards to marijuana. Modern Western medicine cures very little, and is mostly symptomatic in its orientation. Humans tend to not pay attention to what they're doing, especially with respect to dietary and lifetstyle choices, which over time leads to what is commonly called diseases. Fundamental underlying attitudes are "don't tell me what to do or how to live" so when things go wrong, people are off to the doctor's or the ER, seeking cures or fixes. The medical system we have is probably the one we currently deserve to have, with or without marijuana.

Mar. 21 2014 01:52 PM
Dina from Eastchester

I am an oncology nurse and during my hospital days I worked with several patients who used marijuana for medicinal purposes. Many of these patients are immunocompromised and I am concerned this patient population is not aware of the health risks related to inhaling mold spores that are a part of the plant. I educated my patients to microwave their marijuana for a full minute before using to kill the spores. Is there any new research on this or other recommendations?

Mar. 21 2014 01:47 PM
antonio from baySide

Also, why do some people get anxious and such...

Mar. 21 2014 01:44 PM

Glaucoma pressure and the nausea from chemo may be relieved, but generally doesn't marijuana increase sensation, i.e. pain?

Mar. 21 2014 01:43 PM

Now that marijuana has been legalized in many states, are there (hopefully) many new studies underway to study its effects on human health? Seems like most of our impressions about the effects of pot are based on assumptions rather than fact.

Mar. 21 2014 01:40 PM
antonio from baySide

Would it help with anxiety or mild panic attacks?

Mar. 21 2014 01:36 PM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

Oy, Leonard! Go to the doctor!
At least you made a marijuana joke about it.

Mar. 21 2014 01:26 PM

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