Facing a child treating her severe seizure disorder with medical marijuana, Gupta was forced to see the error of his ways.AlterNet
What if you were the parent of a small child suffering from a severe form of epilepsy that sent her into debilitating shocks hundreds of times each week, disrupting nearly every moment of the day, often leaving her in a catatonic state and crippling her development? You’ve tried every treatment available, seen countless specialists and nothing seems to work.
- - - - - -
A young couple from Colorado, Paige and Matt Figi, faced this very harsh dilemma and their story is the subject of Dr. Gupta’s special “Weed,” airing this Sunday night. Their 5-year-old daughter, Charlotte, struggles with a severe form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome, and though they have endured extreme measures to treat her with medical marijuana, the results have been outstanding. Charlotte has gone from having hundreds of seizures a week to only one small episode each month with regular and carefully monitored use of the plant.
The Figi family’s breathtaking experience helped transform the views of Dr. Gupta, a respected neurosurgeon and once candidate for U.S. Surgeon General who had previously bought into the notion that the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. federal government have enforced a prohibition on marijuana based on sound scientific evidence. After poring over more of the data, meeting Charlotte Figi, and traveling around the world to interview experts for this special, Dr. Gupta dramatically revised his thinking and even issued a public apology for his previous dismissal of the medicinal benefits of marijuana.
Dr. Gupta was, in his own words, 'part of the problem' regarding the systematic lying that goes on about marijuana. Many like him - otherwise intelligent and well-educated people - have bought into this partly because it has been going on since they were born.
"How could a government lie so much, so systematically" people ask themselves and they feel it's preposterous to assume that such is happening . It's like a conspiracy theory.
Until you either suffer from a malady that medical marijuana can alleviate, or, as has occurred with Dr. Gupta, some sick person - a child - is put in front of you and "compassion" gets the better of you.
Yes, part of this story was already competently diaried and front paged by Jen Hayden on Thursday this past week.
This post on AlterNet shows some insight into how somebody like Dr. Gupta - initially just part of reefer-mad establishment - gets confronted with a situation that causes him to re-think it all, and when that happens he is then able to "see" just how terrible marijuana prohibition has been and how it exacerbates needless suffering.
In his case, clearly, he is not happy with it and has come out swinging against the DEA's classification of marijuana as a "Schedule 1" drug - meaning that is is dangerous, has high potential for abuse, and NO MEDICAL VALUE. This continues despite the fact that the US Government has a PATENT on some cannabidioids.
US Patent 6,630,507 Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and NeuroprotectantsThe DEA maintains this stranglehold simply because without marijuana being illegal they are largely out of a job.
"Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidoil, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention."...
On the basis of our findings, discussed in previous Chapters, we have concluded that society should seek to discourage use, while concentrating its attention on the prevention and treatment of heavy and very heavy use. The Commission feels that the criminalization of possession of marihuana for personal is socially self-defeating as a means of achieving this objective. We have attempted to balance individual freedom on one hand and the obligation of the state to consider the wider social good on the other. We believe our recommended scheme will permit society to exercise its control and influence in ways most useful and efficient, meanwhile reserving to the individual American his sense of privacy, his sense of individuality, and, within the context of an interacting and interdependent society, his options to select his own life style, values, goals and opportunities.Nixon trashed the report and less than a year later created the DEA and turned it loose.
Despite whatever had come prior to this, this opened the floodgates for decades - generations - of pervasive and systematic lying which continues to this very moment.
Dr. Gupta used to be part of that, but finally confronted with a very sick little girl who experiences significant palliative relief from symptoms of her condition from cannabis extracts/preparations he has bee forced to reconsider and as a professional medical doctor, he has chosen to do the right thing - to hammer down the lies and absolutely nefarious approach of the DEA and the US Federal Government with regards to the marijuana plant.
Properly regulated, many, many people, young and old could also benefit from the medicinal properties innate in this Once and Future Wonder Drug
In closing, Dr. Gupta had added in one of his statements that he, too, has tried smoking marijuana and found it to be uncomfortable and anxiety-producing and that it isn't really for him. This is all well and good, but I want to point out to all who read this that one does NOT have to preface one's support for cannabis reform and regulation with this "I don't smoke it" caveat.
Relegalizing or regulating (the terms are completely interchangeable - regulation is the best term for helping people not freak out) cannabis is NOT about "Smoking pot". It is about getting the government and the police out of people's private lives, not arresting over 800000 people a year for nothing, and not blowing $20 billion a year we could be using for other things.
If you support regulation, just say so. No need for some anxious ballet.