CNN's Sanjay Gupta Talks ‘Weed’ Sequel: ‘It Seems Politics Trumps Science’ On Marijuana

CNN's Sanjay Gupta Talks 'Weed' Sequel: 'It Seems Politics Trumps Science' On Marijuana

The chief medical correspondent doubles down on educating viewers about medical marijuana in a new documentary, telling TheWrap: “Media can lead the way.”

“I am not backing down on medical marijuana,” CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells viewers. “I am doubling down.”

Gupta is back with “Weed 2: Cannabis Madness: Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports,” the sequel to his critically acclaimed “Weed,” which was a ratings smash last August, scoring 1.21 million total viewers and 477,000 adults 25-54. This time, he's profiling more medical marijuana recipients and sharing their success with the drug and their struggle to gain acceptance among policy makers.

Also read: CNN's Sanjay Gupta: I Was Wrong About Medical Marijuana (Video)

Gupta made headlines last year when he reversed his previous position opposing medical marijuana:

I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have “no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.”

They didn't have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true.

Gupta told TheWrap he still is incredulous the drug is still classified as a Schedule I substance, defined as “the most dangerous” drugs “with no currently accepted medical use,” despite the growing evidence to the contrary showing its benefits to treat a wide range of conditions.

“It's really wild!” Gupta exclaims. “It seems politics trumps science.”

Gupta acknowledges that many Americans have uncompromising views on the drug, but hopes his documentary can be used as a educating tool.

“Media can lead the way,” Gupta told TheWrap.

“People have very entrenched views about marijuana,” Gupta explained.  “Ever since 1936 when “Reefer Madness” came out — it's a propaganda movie, but it cemented our point of view on marijuana.”

Could Gupta's documentary have the same galvanizing effect on public policy as CNN's “Blackfish”?

Gupta noted that lawmakers are taking notice of his reporting.

Also read: ‘Daily Show': John Oliver Praises ‘Cannabis News Network’ on Sanjay Gupta's Pot Switch

“Nobody expected Georgia would pass a medical marijuana bill,” Gupta explained but after a clip of his first documentary was shown to politicians, it passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 171-4.

“Weed 2: Cannabis Madness: Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports,” premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on CNN:

  • your friend

    It's great that someone with cedentials finally has the gumption to stand up and say what everyone with any once of intellect who has actually tried the substance already knows! When do “The People” finally put the law into their hands and start doing something about the way this country operates?
    You know because there was nothing like when the federal government came in and said regardless of what you voted for and had approved by state law in California we say it's still illegal we're going to take everything you have and charge you a criminal! That's democracy today!! Believe it that is the way things ate in fact done here today – what version of the twilight zone have I entered?

  • F M

    If media can lead the way, it's also true that money from outside interests can lead the media. Sanjay Gupta and CNN must have scored big.

    • Mayi

      Yes. You can follow the money on this one. I wish someone would. Where's CNN when you need them. lol. Soooo much money is just waiting to be made on this drug that leads to more addiction treatment than any other for our adolescents. Makes for a placid and pliable public though.

  • rumadyet

    Can you stand another story of how good this stuff is? I am very old and 3 terrible surgeries in 3 years . I use the cannabis teas, or i would be addicted to pain meds, the doctors will give me tons of Norcos, or Morphine , I reused to take them. I use the cannabis teas and oils, I feel great. It is so hard to watch these children and families suffer, because our government is stupid and greedy.

  • J

    There's another important lesson in this: even the brightest among us — researchers and scientists, professors, policy makers, doctors with multiple degrees — will blindly accept what they hear over and over again from a large group. Gupta and other doctors routinely for years echoed the sentiments of Harry Ainslinger and his ilk, because it's easier to go along with sentiment and feel “group security” than it is to do individual research and make up one's own mind.

    Community is one of humanity's greatest strengths, but when we rely on it to make our decisions for us, it's also a weakness, just as dichotomous and two-faced as individualism. Whether it's doctors who make up their mind about the science by ignoring most of it or political ideologues who cling to paradigms of left or right, we could often benefit from separating ourselves from our existing beliefs and doing a little more research before wading in.

    Having a strongly expressed belief triggers all sorts of interesting brain chemistry and if you'd like a better understanding of how and why our neurological makeup as a species drives us to be passionate over rational, study whatever you can find on “neurotheology”, an emerging science involving brainscans during group ethos/belief based activity; then consider that almost every area domiinantly affected in the human brain by that activity is related to our oldest survival instincts, including the security of group affiliation and the strength of numbers.

    • ourlasthope

      As a parent of a child that suffers from a rare form of epilepsy. I can only hope and pray that the legalization of pediactric medical marijuana moves forward in my state of Illinois.My son is on a FDA list of 25 chosen children waiting for all the red tape(politics) to clear before they will allow the study to begin that someday may lead to the passing of laws that make this legal and most importantly a cure for our child. My son has suffered from seizures since the age of 2(now 15), has had brain surgery, an electronic impulse sensor (Vargus implant)implanted in his chest and has been on every form of epileptic medicine (heavy,costly narcotics) to no avail. I myself believe this is his last great hope of a cure. People need to understand the toll epilepsy has taken on anyone involved with a child that suffers from this disease. In my opinionagain,,this is our families last great hope.Dr Gupda, We thank you for your efforts to inform the public on the possibilities and positives of medical marijuana..

  • mom

    Thank You for your story, I am an epileptic for 18 years now and it's taking quite a toll on me, to see this story i just cried all nite YES it works, we haven known this for years, but to see the seizures just stop. Obama come on now!!!

  • Tina

    I forgot to say, 18 years ago my neurologist asked me if i smoked pot, i said off and on he said start smoking it would be great for my seizures and other things like clearing my lungs after one, this was the head of neurology. Why did this take soooo long to come out? Yes it works…