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Show 1027: How One Doctor Changed His Mind about Medical Marijuana (Archive)

Medical marijuana is controversial. When Dr. David Casarett looked at the evidence for its use, he was surprised at what he found.
Show 1027: How One Doctor Changed His Mind about Medical Mar...
David Casarett, MD
photo copyright Joe Chielli, Church Street Studios
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How One Doctor Changed His Mind about Medical Marijuana (Archive)

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In the recent election, voters in several more states approved the use of medical marijuana. Now more than half the states in the US accept the medicinal use of cannabis, but the federal government does not. As a recent New York Times article about a cannabis company in California illustrates, that creates a certain amount of tension. But what do we really know about the value of medical marijuana?

Marijuana (Cannabis sativa) has been both glorified as a mind-expanding agent and vilified as evil weed. Most doctors are skeptical about its usefulness for medical purposes. Our guest, David Casarett, MD, certainly doubted that there was much evidence to support medical applications of marijuana. But as a palliative care physician, he was curious. The evidence he found convinced his that there is a case to be made in some situations.

What Are the Benefits and Risks of Medical Marijuana?

Find out how marijuana could be helpful and when it may be harmful. Which conditions have the best evidence on the medical applications of marijuana?

This Week’s Guest:

David Casarett, MD, MA, is a palliative care physician and health services researcher whose work focuses on improving systems of care for people with serious, life-threatening illnesses. He recently relocated from the University of Pennsylvania where he was a tenured professor of medicine. Dr. Casarett is now Chief of Palliative Care at the Duke University School of Medicine. He received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. This is the highest honor the US government gives to researchers in the early stages of their careers.

Dr. Casarett has written three non-fiction books. His first novel in the Ethical Chiang Mai Detective Agency series, Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness, will be published in September 2016.

His non-fiction works include Shocked: Adventures in Bringing Back the Recently Dead. His most recent book is Stoned: A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana.

He is launching a website, MarijuanaResults.org, where medical marijuana users can report their experience and connect with each other. It also serves as a database for medical professionals trying to learn more about this topic.

The photo of Dr. Casarett is copyrighted by Joe Chielli, Church Street Studios.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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