Sanjay Gupta explains to Joe Rogan why he changed his mind on cannabis

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

The chief medical correspondent of CNN, Sanjay Gupta, was once skeptical about cannabis. However, as more scientific evidence supporting the plant’s therapeutic power begins to emerge, it seems that the 52-year-old is adjusting his views.

Gupta, who first publicly announced his reformed views on the plant in 2013, reiterated his support during a recent interview with Joe Rogan. The interview was a highlight of the Joe Rogan Experience Show, which aired on Wednesday, October 13.

In order to fully understand the plant’s medicinal potential, Gupta was forced to seek out international research efforts. The professor of neurosurgery at the Emory University School of Medicine described the existing cannabis-focused research in the U.S. as a “very biased set of data.” 

Why? Because the vast majority of U.S.-conducted studies generally paint a picture of the plant’s negative aspects, such as the potential dangers, as opposed to the benefits.

“If you’re just looking at papers well, this one [says there’s] potential long harm, this one possible addiction, this one gateway you know, you’re seeing all those individual studies, but at a broader level, one step upstream, you realize that most of the studies that are getting funded are designed to look for harm,” Gupta explained to Rogan.

“When I saw that, that was the first time I thought, ‘well, why are the studies that are getting out there, why are they all designed to look for harm? Then I started looking at other countries, and some really good research out of places like Israel in particular,”  he continued. 

Gupta acknowledged that cannabis research is more promising when conducted beyond U.S. borders 

Whereas the vast majority of U.S. cannabis research focuses on the potentially negative aspect(s) of the leafy plant, Gupta noted that overseas research initiatives tend to be more wide-ranging. 

For example, researchers in Israel have delved into the plant’s pain-killing capabilities, while scientists in Australia have explored cannabis’ seizure-controlling ability. This as well as the fact that a growing body of evidence is highlighting the reliability of using cannabinoids to treat children with severe types of epilepsy seemingly swayed Gupta’s opinion.

The highly acclaimed practicing physician hosted his very own television series on CNN in August of 2013. The docuseries, which was called “Weed”, delved into the science and reported health benefits surrounding the cannabis plant. Soon after it aired, Gupta published an influential article on CNN that explained his reasons for transitioning from an anti-cannabis doctor to an avid supporter. 

The CNN article was published in the midst of recreational cannabis laws being enacted across the first few U.S. states. Consequently, the respected neurosurgeon and medical reporter’s words likely contributed to the changing opinions of thousands of Americans; not to mention people elsewhere around the globe who read his article.

Rogan expressed his respect for Gupta’s bold cannabis support

“I really respect that you made this change of opinion publicly,” Rogan told Gupta during their recent meeting. 

His response was unsurprising. After all, the American comedian and UFC color commentator is a self-confessed cannabis consumer and long-time public supporter. In fact, Rogan is renowned for being an active lobbyist for cannabis drug policy reform issues. 

“When you were first talking about [cannabis], you were talking about it as if it had no medical benefit and it was really just a recreational drug that was possibly or probably harmful,” Rogan said. “But then, upon further examination, you publicly changed your position, and, in doing so, you actually examined all the scientific evidence.”

In many of his previously-aired podcasts, Rogan has confidently discussed the repercussions that legalization has had on society and people’s health as a whole. The interviewer claims to use 100 mg of CBD mixed with melatonin every night to experience eight hours of solid sleep.

“I really admired that because that takes a lot of courage, because a lot of people, when they have an idea and they proclaim it publicly, they double down and they just [use] confirmation bias and whatever, you know, echo chamber and news sources they can get to sort of confirm their initial position,” he added, as Gupta listened intently. “You didn’t do that, and I thought, ‘that’s a real, real thinking person who is trying to honestly figure out what’s going on instead of just working on being right.'”

Rogan’s podcast, which runs every Tuesday to Friday (and sometimes Saturdays) has attracted? regular subscribers; many of whom tune-in to enjoy cannabis and psychedelics-focused content.

You can watch the full interview between Joe Rogan and Sanjay Gupta by clicking here.