June 15th, 2009
10:00 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Do you need marijuana for your pain?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/02/09/health.pot.cancer/art.pot.gi.jpg]

Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

This week we have a series planned for you called, “America’s High: The Case For and Against Pot.”

Anderson presents his interview with Melissa Etheridge who says marijuana helped relieve her pain as she battled cancer. On the flip side, Randi Kaye spoke to a teacher with bi-polar disorder who was prescribed marijuana, but it made her mood swings more severe, she became addicted, and it nearly killed her! Make sure you tune in to hear these stories.

In Iran, protests have erupted following elections 3 days ago. Official results show that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected with more than 62% of the vote, but leading opponent-former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Moussavi-has disputed the results and his supporters are hitting the streets and fighting with police.

Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour is in Iran, and she will join us to put it all into perspective.

President Obama is heading home to Chicago today, but it may not be a relaxing visit with hometown friends. He is there to sell his plan for a government-sponsored public health insurance plan to the American Medical Association. Doctors aren’t so happy about all of his health care reform proposals, and this meeting is sure to be fiery and interesting. We may call in Dr. Sanjay Gupta to help explain his proposals and the pushback against them from the nation's docs.

Here is another snippet I caught this morning: singing sensation Susan Boyle has been pulled out of the ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ live tour, because she has reportedly been advised to rest. Fame comes with a big price, people. Hope the rest of you got some r&r this weekend and make sure you join us tonight at 10pet!

Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. jeff newman

    the bi-poloar or whatever the diagnosis girl was all they could come up with for why cannabis is ILLEGAL?

    she was admittedly suicidal before being happy 4 quite a while consuming cannabis. and then decided to quit one day, no doubt she's using other meds to keep her from killing herself. some people are weak, does the rest of society have to forgo cannabis because of these microsopic few who become 'addicted'?

    comical she was smoking 8 j's a day and spending 1000bux/month 4 weed? she clearly wasn't buying in bulk or growning her own which would have enabled her to afford this habit. she was still functional at her job. she just preferred to be stoned while doing it. there are quite a few vocations where this would be easily accomplished. and people, please vaporize or eat ur edibles!

    but respect your cannabis enjoy in moderation.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:27 am |
  2. Ed


    I suffered from Fibromyalgia for many years. It wasn't until I started smoking marijuana that the pain went away. I agree with Melissa. I don't get a high out of it. It just helps me to function day to day.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  3. Dulcie - Denver

    I don't have any strong objections to legalizing marijuana. I *don't* believe it's highly addictive. I smoked lots of it in college, but never had any problem stopping. It's been many, many years since I've indulged – it's just not worth losing a job over.

    I doubt I'd smoke it if it were legal. I remember that it tended to make me paranoid which is something I definitely don't need. Well, I don't need the munchies, either.

    June 15, 2009 at 8:26 pm |
  4. HellMan

    I have been smoking pot for forty plus years and still think straight. It has never lead to other drugs. My doctor wanted me to take lortabs but after seeing some what happened to a few of my friends taking them I told him no way I would take those drug additive things.

    June 15, 2009 at 7:44 pm |
  5. Anthony Taurus

    The problem is that CNN is hard pressed to find a marijuana user with a negative story of marijuana use. They'll claim every bad thing about marijuana that they can without addressing their own mental issues or any other issues they may have.

    I have a friend who claims he's addicted to marijuana. He also smokes cigarettes, drinks alcohol, and is diagnosed with depression and bi-polar. He takes pills for his problems. A prohibitionist would say it's the marijuana. But, they won't ever ask to find out that his mental problems started before he ever took a puff of marijuana or tobacco or sip of alcohol. If he worked in finance on Wall Street, he'd probably be using cocaine as well.

    Marijuana has nothing to do with his problems and I would highly doubt that marijuana had anything to do with that woman's problems.

    97% of the people in "treatment" for marijuana are there because they opted for treatment over jail time. The other 3% are kids forced in by their parents who don't know any better or the mentally ill who believe that these doctors know about marijuana.

    At the end of it all, marijuana is no more dangerous than a glass of water. And even then, you can still die from water toxicity (look up Jennifer Strange, Wee for a Wii contest). No one, not one person, has ever died from marijuana use. It's non-toxic and non-addictive.While you may be able to find one person, probably not even a whole group, willing to "admit" to marijuana's negative effects, you can surely find millions of marijuana users with OUR only danger is in dealing with those who would jail us to bump up their Byrne Grant funding.

    June 15, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  6. Eric

    A bi-polar person. C'mon CNN you can do better than that. I knew a bi-polar person once, they thought the whole world was trying to kill them and then the next day thought the whole world loved them. You can't trust the opinion of someone bi-polar especially on an important issue like this. The teacher probably loved pot one day and then hated it the next.

    June 15, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  7. Wolf

    A teacher with bi-polar disorder? whats wrong with this picture?
    I certainly hope she is not a spokesperson for the US Government!
    She shouldn't even be "teaching" with the mood swings and all, her opinion is null. You guys can do better than that for a story than choosing someone w/manic depressive disorder, come on!! 🙂

    June 15, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  8. Bob

    The debate over legalization for recreation, while certainly ripe for discussion, has clouded a much more urgent issue, that of medical use. Countless sick, disabled, and dying people in 37 out of 50 states are needlessly suffering because our laws forbid them access to a proven medicine.

    Barack Obama, while campaigning for the Presidency, said he did not see the difference between marijuana and morphine, if recommended by a physician, yet has remained silent on the issue since taking office.

    Is there any doubt, whatsoever, that the majority of Americans are in favor of legalization of medical marijuana? We see polls on both side of the fence for legalization for recreational use, but have we ever seen a poll indicating a majority oppose medical marijuana?

    Is it the "high" that makes marijuana an inappropriate medicine? How many currently available pharmaceutical drugs have side-effects which could be called a "high"?

    Please devote significant time on your program to differentiate between medical cannabis and recreational use.

    It's a wonderful argument, but let's think about priorities.

    June 15, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  9. Michelle Johnson, Lomita, CA

    All drugs should be legalized, including marijuana. This would reduce violent crime, and cut back on the prison population. Pot is no worse than nicotine or alcohol. Most drugs were legal in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

    June 15, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  10. Ray Knight

    THC is NOT the ONLY
    beneficial component of medicinal-cannabis.

    – Cannabidiol and and cannabinol,
    (present in whole-cannabis, but not dronabinol),
    function synergistically to relieve pain and nausea
    MUCH MORE effectively than THC alone.
    (As well as limiting / moderating the 'high' from THC).

    – And as some have already mentioned here,
    there are other ways to administer medical-cannabis
    besides smoking. Low-temperature-vaporization provides
    the immediacy of relief, controllable-dosing of smoking,
    but without carcinogens nor carbon-monoxide.

    – Also, It is immoral that
    dronabinol is on a less-restrictive
    'drug-schedule' than the plant from which it's based upon.
    (Unjust-favoritism of synthetics over natural-botanical sources).

    June 15, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  11. Aaron T.

    Marijuana should be legalized because it has been used by humans for thousands of years to treat many types of ailments. Recent research shows nausea and pain relief for cancer patients and the THC in marijuana reduces inflammation in the brain and body. A recent Ohio State University study found a compound that mimics the effect of marijuana on the brains receptors spurred new brain cell growth and reduced inflammation. Smoking anything is unheathy but vaporizing pot or making butter to cook with is a great way to avoid the unhealthy effects of the herb. If pot is so bad why do pharmacies across America sell Marinol which is synthesized THC in pill form? States that have passed medicinal marijuana laws have seen a decrease not an increase in the use pot by kids. Beer is more of a gateway drug than pot will ever be. Mexican cartels earn 60% of their profits from pot sales.

    June 15, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  12. Gary

    1 million people in jail for some type of marijuana offense. It cost about 30k a year to imprison these people. Do the math! It is time to legalize.

    June 15, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  13. Martina Ilstad Germany

    Nobody in our society has to suffer from serious diseases.There are Lortab and Oxycontin.they help people,to have no pain.
    Why do we legalize alcohol or smoking cigarettes?Why not marijuana? I dont know.Maybe the reason is,they have a big lobby.
    At least,i think everbody has to make his own decision.

    June 15, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  14. Paula

    My husband and I were major Alcoholics for many years. We met in a bar!!!!! So, we know about the affects it has, it almost caused us to Divorce. People say Marijuana is a gateway drug. Yes it is !!! A gateway to a happier and healthier life. We both have been free of the drug called Alcohol, ( We call it the Devil) for more than a year. With the help of the Medicin, Marijuana.

    June 15, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  15. Shap

    Prohibition causes violence. Without prohibition of drugs, gangs would not exist. According to most estimates that I have read, cartels get 60 percent of their profits from MJ alone. Legalizing would cause a serious blow to their wallets. This is not to mention the tax revenues created as well as the releasing of a large burden upon law enforcement and scarce judicial resources. MJ has never killed anyone and this has been stated by Robert Mueller, Director of the FBI when he was just recently giving testimony to Congress. Thank you CNN for taking on this topic.

    June 15, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  16. Walter T

    Here are a few other reasons to end prohibition besides medical and recreational use of Marijuana/hemp. I got these facts from the book The Emperor Wears No Clothes By Jack Herer. You can read this book online.

    Paper: one acre of hemp produces as much cellulose fiber pulp as 4.1 acres of trees. Rag paper, containing hemp fiber, is the highest quality and longest lasting paper ever made.

    Clothing: hemp is softer than cotton, warmer than cotton, more water absorbent than cotton, has three times the tensile strength of cotton and is many times more durable than cotton.
    Fifty percent of all chemicals used in American agriculture today are used in cotton growing. Hemp needs no chemicals and has few weed or insect enemies—except for the U. S. government and the DEA.

    Food: Hempseed is the most complete single food source for human nutrition. Hempseed can be pressed for its highly nutritious vegetable oil, which contains the highest amount of essential fatty acids in the plant kingdom. Marijuana seed protein is one of mankind’s finest, most complete and available-to-the-body vegetable proteins. It does not contain THC and doesn't get you high.

    Fuel:On a global scale, the plant that produces the most net biomass is hemp. Hempseed contains 30% (by volume) oil. This oil has been used to make high-grade diesel fuel oil and aircraft engine and precision machine oil. It’s the only annually renewable plant on Earth able to replace all fossil fuels.

    June 15, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  17. Michael in VA

    Clark - your right... there's also Marinol which is available for prescription. BUT let me ask you this: What do you do when your symptom is nausea? Your supposed to swallow a pill (and keep it in your stomach so it can be processed) to help relieve nausea?

    Also: So your saying that a chemical produced in a laboratory is better for me than a natural substance not altered by man in any way? One that has never induced overdose in 5000 Years of recorded history?

    June 15, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  18. TrevK, Canada


    Please check out Dr. Donald Tashkin on YouTube. He is/was Professor of Oncology at Geffin Medical Center and has done studies on cancer rates with nicotine and cannabis.

    His findings? People who smoke both have extremely high cancer rates; those who use nicotine are well below those; then come those who smoke nothing; and below them are the cannabis smokers.

    The gateway for everything is mother's milk. The so-called "Gateway Theory" was disproven 15-20 years ago.

    Short-term memory loss occurs only while under the influence. (I am 61 and have a better memory than most of my peers who don't use.) And the only other negative health side effect is susceptibility to upper bronchial infections which goes away when use is stopped.

    Please study the real science instead of grabbing onto the political and emotional rhetoric.

    June 15, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  19. Scott, San Diego

    What about the physical and mental health of the person who goes to jail? Why is the health outcome from incarseration not looked at as well? ...and the cost associated.

    Like every successful business, it needs to be all about the dollar earned....either a bad investment and learn from it, or something to captailize and gain from it.

    Why is this directed towards its effectiveness on pain? If you have ever gotten stoned, hands down it had an affect on your nervous system while you were influenced. This "medical" debate is just an excuse. The real reason that it should be legal is the economic burden it creates with programs aimed to combat it and thus taking away from other programs in need, i.e. education. Living in southern California, there are constant examples of the crime influenced from Mexico specifically because it is illegal. Tunnels, boats, trucks, by person, it gets here. The big misconception about the entire thing is that out of the hundres of strands of marijuana, there are two basic types...."good weed", aka chronic, skunk, indica,....and "bad weed", aka mex, mec, stress. The "good weed" comes from down the street in someon's guest bedroom or maybe northern California, while the "bad weed" comes from Mexico. "Good weed" is a lot harder to get because of the house raids, local authority, and in retrospect the quantity being produced is smaller than the alternative "bad weed." "Bad weed" comes from Mexico attached to it are the hazards of International trafficking, so they bring in tons for shipments. By allowing shops to sell "good weed,"
    a) they pay tax from revenue and it is accounted for by the government
    b) it eleminates the need to buy the more abundant Mexican weed, because the consumer has an option
    c) it eliminates the money that is being thrown away on fighting a losing war

    For pain OK, but there is nothing natural or pain free about putting hot smoke in your lungs, I hack everyday and know. I do use, but responsibly just like drinking and I am very aware of the consequences that are derrived from it. Just the same as when I decide to drink a couple beers or glass of wine. A post before mentioned a vaporizer which is very valid.

    Legalizing weed will not lead to legalizing cocaine, or heroin. The assumption of gateway drugs is a joke also. The individual had the intent of experimenting weed, they don't inherit the intent to experience something from trying weed, it's always there...genetic. By legalizing it you draw the line between marijuana and hard drugs, by keeping it illegal it keeps them in the same genere, which by my experience and many others are not even comparable.

    Be proactive, not reactive.

    June 15, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
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