Dr. Lester Grinspoon – Harvard Medical School, “We are Brainwashed about Cannabis”

Dr Lester Grinspoon

Dr. Lester Grinspoon is Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He has been featured in several marijuana documentaries including: The Union and The Culture High. Dr. Grinspoon talks about his personal friendship with Carl Sagan and how his son used cannabis to overcome nausea from Chemotherapy. Dr. Grinspoon believes we are brainwashed by the government to the think marijuana is harmful.

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Matthew: Hi, I'm Matthew Kind. Each week I'll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly involving legal marijuana industry. Learn more at cannainsider.com. That's C-A-N-N-A insider.com. What are the five disruptive trends that will shape the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at cannainsider.com/trends. That's C-A-N-N-A insider.com/trends. Now here's your program.

How does a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School overcome tremendous cultural bias against marijuana to become one of the plant's most outspoken advocates? We're going to find out the answer to that question today in our discussion with Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Grinspoon is the author of two books, "Marihuana Reconsidered" and "Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine." We are very fortunate to have Dr. Grinspoon here today. Welcome, Dr. Grinspoon.

Dr. Grinspoon: Thank you. Delighted to be here.

Matthew: So glad to have you on the show. For people that aren't familiar with you, can you provide a little background on your career and how you got started as a cannabis advocate?

Dr. Grinspoon: Yes. In 1966, as I was at that time a young faculty member of the Harvard Medical School. I guess at that time I was an instructor, and I was very interested in opposing the Vietnam War. One of the people I met who shared that interest, this was a very early in and the growing interest in trying to stop that war, I met the man who was to become my closest friend, Carl Sagan.

Matthew: Wow, that's a great friend to have.

Dr. Grinspoon: Yeah, it was. We were very close. I was best man at his last two weddings. We shared an awful lot. And at first, the one issue that existed between us was marijuana. He smoked marijuana and I did not. Furthermore, as we met more of his friends and started to get together with them we discovered they all smoked marijuana and these were not unsophisticated people. I would say, "Hey, you shouldn't be doing that, Carl." His friends, to his friends, "It's a very harmful drug and you're harming yourself."

Matthew: Sure.

Dr. Grinspoon: Carl would say, he'd put a joint to his lips, take a puff and then say, "Lester, try it. It's perfectly safe." Well, I objected to that. Finally, in 1967, I asked myself what the basis for my objection was. Well, really it was what the government, the drug-free America wasn't around at that time. It was just the government. I went into the Countway Library, it's the library at Harvard Medical School, with the intention of writing a short paper, which would be accessible to young people in which I would provide the medical and scientific data which provided the basis for this prohibition. What happened was, and I had an epiphany, I very shortly discovered that I had been 180 degrees off course.

That I, like just about every other American, had been brainwashed into believing that this is a very dangerous drug. I came away from that first experience in the library with, to sum it up, the notion that the most harmful thing about marijuana was not any inherent psychopharmacological property of the drug but rather the way we, as a society, were dealing with it at that time. Mind you, this was '67. Arresting about 300,000 people per year, and as everybody knows it's grown to, over the last few years, an average of about 750,000 per year.

Matthew: Sure.

Dr. Grinspoon: In 2011, it almost reached 900,000.

Matthew: God.

Dr. Grinspoon: And, of course, now we've accumulated somewhere between 24 and 27 million people who have been arrested. Not to speak of the rest of us who have been criminalized by this absurd prohibition.

Matthew: Yeah.

Dr. Grinspoon: So that's how, that short paper was published as the lead article in the Scientific American.

Matthew: Okay.

Dr. Grinspoon: Let's see, November 1969. Now after that came out, there was a lot of people paid attention to that. Several book publishers came to my office and asked me to write a book. I had no intention of doing that. I was involved in other things but finally I agreed to do it with Harvard University Press. I did that for several reasons. One, I found learning about, if marijuana isn't addicting learning about it is. I found it fascinating. Everything from how I had been, like everybody else had been, so deceived about this for so long.

Matthew: How do you think they do deceive? How do you think people do get deceived and brainwashed, as you say, by this? What's the methodology? I mean, I have my own theories but I'd like to get your take on that.

Dr. Grinspoon: Well, the only authority at that time was the government and the government insisted that it was a very dangerous drug. Now that was codified in the 1977 Marijuana Tax Act, which did not prevent it from being used as a medicine at that time but it was so clumsy to use it and you had to pay a tax and so forth. Doctors, not just for that reason, I can go into other reasons why medicine just left marijuana in the dust and has allowed itself by this allopathic medicine, the kind of modern western medicine, the kind of medicine I practice and most people do. It just eschewed having anything to do with medical marijuana. As a consequence, doctors became increasingly ignorant. On the other hand, the government went further than the Marijuana Tax Act. There was the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Act of 1970, which put marijuana in Schedule I, the first of five Schedules, the first being the most limiting of all.

That is, the drugs in it were heroin, LSD, and marijuana. This prevented doctors from doing any research. You can't even do research on Schedule I drugs whereas, for example, cocaine and cytidines at that time were in Schedule II drugs, which are much more difficult than marijuana. All of the drugs, for example, you take any benzodiazepine, they are scheduled and one can get into real trouble with any one of them including becoming really addicted and so forth. The government kept raising the ante of this prohibition until it's become so severe that, as I say, we were arresting almost 800,000 people per year.

Now if you think of the cost of that prohibition and those arrests. When somebody is arrested from that, if they've got a rich daddy who can afford an expensive lawyer, these young kids they didn't go to jail but the people who did and of people who were caught pushing and selling it, many of them went to jail. For anybody who has an arrest record, that now a lot of these people from the '60s and '70s are adults but that arrest record still haunts them and compromises some aspects of their lives. It was a very serious problem.

Matthew: Sure.

Dr. Grinspoon: I put it as though it's in the past tense. As though the prohibition is completely undone but, in fact, I do think that the cat is out of the bag and it's never going to be put in. With 23 states now allowing medical marijuana to a greater or lesser extent and two states where the prohibition has been completely dismantled, I think it's fair to say that the prohibition is well on its way, that is the destruction of this prohibition is well on its way. It seems to me that we are now a bit of a culture looking desperately for a way of dealing with this new kid on the block. But marijuana is really here to stay. It's just a question of defining the rules by which it will be regulated.

Matthew: Sure. It's pervasive though, the medical community, there's still a lot of lingering misunderstanding about the plant. I was watching a video yesterday and this doctor said, "I never felt the need to prescribe my patients dope nor do I feel like that will help them in any way to smoke dope." He's kind of taking this strange view of it like it's still 20, 30 years ago.

Dr. Grinspoon: He doesn't know enough about it.

Matthew: Yeah.

Dr. Grinspoon: There was recent, small poll that you can't take it too seriously but it was interesting to me. It was taken at the Beth-Israel Hospital, which is one of the major Harvard teaching hospitals that were about 70 people have an appointment on that staff. A questionnaire was given to them and about 50% replied, "Well, I don't want to go into all the data on that." It was very interesting that only 7.2% would agree with, say, that I would document a letter that's required by a patient. In this state marijuana now has medical, is a medical marijuana state but it is not a market yet. Only 7.2% said they would sign. You've got to get a document for a letter. That's the only connection with what I call canabinopathic medicine...

Matthew: Sure.

Dr. Grinspoon: ... to allopathic medicine, the modern western medicine. The results also indicated that a vast majority of the citizens consider themselves quite ignorant about marijuana, which doesn't surprise anybody that hasn't been around for a lot of decades now.

Matthew: Sure.

Dr. Grinspoon: The way doctors get their drug education is through the pharmaceutical industry. When we go to medical school we learn all about the theory of pharmacology and we learn about a few drugs but mostly we collect the drugs that we use, information about the drugs that are used every day from the pharmaceutical companies, journals, advertisements, and as you read in the newspaper recently various ways in which the drug companies seduce some physicians to be virtual spokespersons for their products.

Matthew: Yes.

Dr. Grinspoon: It's not surprising, the ignorance of doctors where cannabis is concerned.

Matthew: Yeah.

Dr. Grinspoon: What is amazing is in the... somewhere down the line is going to be seen as a wonder drug just like penicillin was in the early 1940s. You will remember that 1941 we began the Second World War and knowing that most people who die in battle died from infections up until that time. We were going to enter this war with only one antibiotic, sulfonamide, and it wasn't a very good one at that. Two investigators took penicillin down from the shelves where it had been placed after it was discovered in 1928 to see if it had any medicinal uses. To make a long story short, in about five patients to whom were given this, were given penicillin, they had various kinds of gram positive infections. All were cured. This very rapidly, needless to say, was developed so that before long it was three things about penicillin were clear.

One, once it was produced on the Carnegie Scale it was very inexpensive. Two, it was remarkably non-toxic, and three, it was very versatile. It could cure many gram-positive infections. It could cure spirochetal infections, etc. When we look at cannabis now, the same three things hold true. One, once it's free of the prohibition tariff it will be remarkably inexpensive. It will certainly be less expensive than the pharmaceutical products it will replace. Two, it is also very non-toxic. Contrary to what we've all been mis-taught it's not a very harmful drug. It's a remarkably... it's a drug remarkably free of toxicity providing it's used intelligently. And then three, it is very versatile. I won't go into all the things that it's for. When I wrote the book "Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine" Mr. Bakalar and I had anecdotal data that allowed us to describe about a dozen or so symptoms or disorders for which it was useful. Now, if you look at the list of things for which it appears to be useful it's quite large.

Matthew: Yes.

Dr. Grinspoon: So it is a very versatile medicine and becomes more versatile as we learn more about CBD and I suspect some of the other cannabinoids besides are tetrahydrocannabinol.

Matthew: What do you feel? How do you feel about a pharmaceutical drug that's meant to replicate certain properties of the plant like Marinol? Where do you see that? How would you compare Marinol to actually consuming the plant directly?

Dr. Grinspoon: Well, that was a problem for me because I had heard when I was... just when I was starting my... just before I started the book I heard of a little pharmaceutical company called Uniden that was developing a synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol and they did. They synthesized THC. It's the same 21-carbon molecule as nature makes. But I was so excited about it I decided I should sell the stock I bought in them because I thought I would be praising it in this book. I did not want to have a conflict of interest. Well, as it turns out Marinol is not very good but now we know the reason. It is THC, but THC alone doesn't work nearly as well as a combination of CBD, THC, and there has to be terpenoids in it. I call that the ensemble effect. You have to have those three to get most medical, to soothe most medical problems that cannabis can touch.

I was going to say something else about that. What was your question?

Matthew: Do you think that the pharmaceutical companies are going to try to hijack this because it's--

Dr. Grinspoon: Yeah. Well, they can't hijack the whole plant. The plant can't be patented. Pharmaceutical companies make money on a patent, if they can get a patent. It's a 20-year and while it takes up to three years to do all the kinds of studies that are demanded by the FDA before it can come on the market, they then have about 17 years to exploit that. So, for example, when Prozac first got on the market it was sold at a pretty high price and made a huge amount of money until the patent went out. They make a huge still does make money but not at the same order. I believe that the pharmaceutical companies are looking for ways to simulate what cannabis can do and good luck to them. If they can and they can compete price-wise, terrific. I don't think they can do that, but what they might be able to do is, for example, marijuana leads to the munchies. Anybody who uses it knows that. Ordinary dish will seem as a culinary experience...

Matthew: That's right.

Dr. Grinspoon: ... when one is high. Now, if a pharmaceutical company could invent an inverse agonist to this munchies effect. In other words, one which would do just the opposite, make whatever you taste not very interesting, they might have the first really safe appetite suppressant. On that they could make a lot of money. I don't rule out the fact that the pharmaceutical companies as they explore, and they are desperately exploring now the various cannabinoids and combinations, they may come up with some things that are more useful. The things they have come up with now, for example, GW Pharmaceuticals, a British firm.

Matthew: Yes.

Dr. Grinspoon: What they've done is provided liquid marijuana. It's THC and CBD. It's expensive and you have to take it, they say you take it, they say it's absorbed under the tongue. To the extent that some of it stays under the tongue and then is absorbed by the buccal mucosa, that effect will come on in about 15 to 20 minutes but most of it probably runs down into the esophagus and gets swallowed. If you've got to keep something under your tongue very long you find that it seeps out of there and you swallow it. Now, when it's swallowed it's like any other oral marijuana. The effects don't start for an hour and a half or two. On the other hand, the stuff that goes through the buccal membrane, because of the different circulatory route, it doesn't have to go through the liver and become 11-Hydroxy THC. It goes directly up to the brain and without modification and it is much faster but that's only...

With Sativex it's a bicameral effect. The other ones like Cesamet, the other ones like Marinol, the synthetic THC, in my experience with people who have tried both ones of these synthetics and smoked or ingested whole marijuana bud, every one of them agrees that the latter is a much more effective way. Now, there are people who use Marinol or Cesamet or Sativex, the British one I mentioned, but they do it because they're afraid of the illegality.

Matthew: Sure.

Dr. Grinspoon: They don't want to do anything that's illegal and so this is their choice. Once it becomes not illegal, I mean it's not illegal as far as the state is concerned in 23 states and that's going to increase in this country, but that's state law, federal law, it's still a dangerous drug, to quote the government, and it has no medical use. Once we get to the point where the feds have finally bowed out of this thing or enacted legislation which frees people of that, I think these synthetic drugs are not going to be very profitable for the manufacturers because they're just not as good as using cannabis either smoked or orally. Nowadays, as you know, there are many different ways of taking cannabis bud itself or its products so there is a choice of ways of ingestion.

Matthew: Sure. Now, can you tell us a little bit about your son, Danny, his diagnosis and how you integrated cannabis into his treatment plan?

Dr. Grinspoon: Well, it goes like this. In 1967, which happened to be, as I mentioned before, the year I went into the library to find the basis for this prohibition, my son in July of that year was diagnosed. He became sick, he was diagnosed as having acute lymphocytic leukemia. I asked my Professor of Oncology at the Harvard Medical School when I was a student, was Sidney Farber. I asked Sidney to take care of him, which he did. Danny, at least early in his treatment, was not too uncomfortable, but when he started to get the chemotherapeutics, which can cause nausea. Some of them it's a nausea that goes right down to the toes. That was a problem and he just hated it. One day, after Dr. Farber had left, had retired, his committee organized to find a replacement. Chose a man by the name of Emil Frei who became the head of oncology at the Children's Hospital and shortly after he arrived Betsy, my wife, and I were invited to a dinner party to meet him.

At the dinner party he had read "Marihuana Reconsidered" or at least the chapter on 19th century use of marijuana. I think he was interested in this. His patient Jimmy [inaudible 00:7:58]. I'll get to that. He asked me the question. He said, "Now, cancer chemotherapeutics can cause very bad nausea. Do you suppose this could be used in the treatment of that?" And I said, "Well, it was certainly used for nausea in the 19th century but, of course, cancer chemotherapeutics were not around at that time." The conversation was left at that point. On the way home, Betsy asked me, "Given what you said about that shouldn't we get..." Betsy and I did not smoke it at that. She said, "Shouldn't we get a small amount of marijuana for Danny to see if it will be useful for him in the same way it was useful for Jimmy?"

Oh, I neglected to mention that the reason Dr. Frei - to go back to that conversation at the dinner table. The reason he asked the question, Dr. Frei said was because in Houston, where he'd come from, he had a 17 year old boy who was putting a lot of struggle against taking cancer chemotherapeutics because of the nausea and vomiting which follows. He'd really make it difficult for them getting on the gurney to get the shots and so forth. One day, as Dr. Frei related, Jimmy just came in and hopped up on the gurney, he got his shot, and sort of saluted the people in the treatment team and said, "See you in two weeks." He was due for another one in two weeks. No bitching or complaining or anything. He came in the second time and had, again, just got up on the gurney no problem.

Afterwards, Dr. Frei asked him, "Jimmy, this is so different from the way you've treated previous injections. Can you help us understand that?" Jimmy said, "Sure. It's as simple as this. In the parking lot, I smoke just part of a joint." He had to explain to some of them what a joint was. "I do that 20 minutes before I come in." Dr. Frei, that's when he asked me, "Do you think this would have any... this 19th century experience would have any bearing on this?" That's when I said, "Well, it certainly might. I don't know cancer chemotherapeutics but it certainly is a great anti-nausea." So Betsy said, "Shouldn't we get that?" I said, "I don't like the sound of that." I say this, but it's true. I said, "No, we can't because it's illegal and, two, we don't want to offend the people at the Jimmy Fund building who have taken such great care of Danny." That was the end of the conversation.

Well, two weeks later, when I went into the... my office was right near the Children's Hospital and I could just walk over there and meet them in the treatment room. They came in, oh, when I came in they were already there waiting and whereas usually it was very... it was clear that something uncomfortable was coming up. You could read it on their faces. This day they were joking and seemed to be having a good time. Finally, I insisted on being let in on the joke. I was told Betsy had gone up to the high school, the Wellesley High School, and asked his friend Mark in the parking lot, right from the car when Mark there, if she could get him a small amount of marijuana.

She didn't say what for. Mark, once he got over his amazement that Mrs. Grinspoon would ask that, ran off and he was the one who provided Danny with a small amount of marijuana in a pipe. Danny had a few puffs of it in the parking lot, just like Jimmy had done in Houston. When he came in this time I could see he was much more relaxed and secondly, and most importantly, when he got off the table he said, "Hey, Mom. I know there's a Submarine sandwich on Brooklyn Avenue. Could we stop and get one on the way home?" When they got towards Wellesley where we lived he said, "No, no, no. I don't want to go to bed after that. I feel great. I want to go back to school." So she took him back up to the school.

From that time on, the next day I called the people who were on as head of his treatment team and told them I wasn't going to get in the way of his doing this in the future. I was told by the Chief there, "Don't, and have him smoke it in here. I want it in the treatment room. I want to see this for myself." I said, "What about the nurses?" He said, "Don't worry. I'll take care of that." Well, the same thing happened the second time and then he and I went up to see Dr. Frei in his office, he was the head of the department, to tell him that we thought there ought to be some research on this, some modern research. That led to the first paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine, I think it was in 1975, on the use. The government wouldn't let it be used on children. It had to be adult men. But at any rate, it certainly worked and it was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which was the first time anything about its therapeutic use and all this had been published in a journal, a medical journal.

Matthew: What a story that is. So he continued to use, Danny continued to use the marijuana to treat the nausea ongoing and it wasn't a problem at all after that.

Dr. Grinspoon: It was no longer... he had many episodes of chemotherapy treatment. He lived for about another year and a half or so. He never, never again had that kind of problem. It was great for the family because we all... he used to seek to take him right home. He would be set up. There'd be a bucket on a towel on the floor and that's where he would be. It wasn't just that he vomited but afterwards the dry heaves and the whole thing would go on for about eight hours. It was a great relief to everybody in the family.

Matthew: That's so good to hear that. What do you think the most promising applications for marijuana are now? I mean, obviously nausea is a big one. Helping people eat who can't eat or don't have a hunger. What are some other applications you see on the horizon that get you excited?

Dr. Grinspoon: Well, there are so many it's hard to mention any one. We don't have the kind of data that we need to say it's clear, it's helpful in Parkinson's Disease, for example. Something I didn't even go into when I first wrote about it as a medicine. We don't know how many people [inaudible 00:36:20]. What about multiple sclerosis? Does it help all of them? Certainly. I've had contact with so many of the people it does help but it doesn't mean I can say, "Hey, marijuana is the best approach for multiple sclerosis." I think it is but we need the kinds of studies to tell how helpful. Now I say that on the one hand but on the other hand it's such a remarkably free drug in terms of toxicity that if it's you [inaudible 00:37:05] you have very little... I will say that many patients who, let's say, some of these patients, for example, the first one I saw with Tourette's Syndrome, which is a people have movements in other words that they can't control.

I didn't know anything about it until a man came up. I think he came from Ohio. He wanted to persuade me. He couldn't over the phone. He came into my office with a friend and he took out a joint and I could describe his symptom but it was very crippling for him. He couldn't, it would be hard for him to do much in life with the head shaking and stuff that he had to do. He lit up a joint and within 30 seconds to a minute he stopped doing that. Then I looked at other people and I have no question about it. There are so many and for many of them I will say the first time, for example, the first time an ulcerative colitis patient came to me for this and I said, "Well, I have no experience with this but it's a drug that isn't going to hurt you. You have to have someone teach you how to use it if you don't know yourself but you can try it and see if it works. If it does, terrific. If it doesn't, you've lost nothing. You won't be harmed by it at all."

Matthew: Sure.

Dr. Grinspoon: And sure enough now that's regularly thought of as a treatment for this as it is for other gastrointestinal diseases. It's hard to say what's the most... like Crohn's Disease, which is a disease of the small intestine. Inflammation and cramping and pain and it used to be solved surgically. A surgeon would go in and take a segment of the inflamed segment of the small intestine out because you have a lot of it, but that was pretty unpleasant and it would recur in another part of it. Well, now people will use cannabis, they start to get cramps and diarrhea or whatever those symptoms are. They start to use cannabis and they can go to work. If you look at the book "Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine" these are patients who are talking about their experience with it. It's pretty convincing but can I say, "This is the treatment." I think it's the best treatment but does it affect... is it useful for every patient who suffers from this?

The answer is we don't know. There are lots of people with Crohn's Disease out there and many more of them are discovering how useful it is, but their doctors should be saying to them, "Well, try it." You know?

Matthew: Right.

Dr. Grinspoon: "It's not going to hurt. I'm going to tell you how to use it or I'm going to insist that you get somebody who knows how to use it to help you to learn to use it and let's see." My bet is if you used it, it will help but it's not going to hurt you to try and prove that.

Matthew: We talk about the medicinal benefits of cannabis and the scientific objective benefits to nausea or maybe seizures but do you think there is a spiritual component to cannabis? Does it enhance your spiritual life?

Dr. Grinspoon: No question. You see, just to go back a bit. When I first was disabused of my notion that this was a harmful substance part of the reason I became interested in it is because it was such an interesting drug. Now, one of the... and now, years later, I believe there are three large somewhat conflated categories of cannabis use. The first one as a recreational drug. It's so far better than any other drug. I mean human creatures innately have a desire to alter consciousness, and I'm not going to go into that. It's a long story but there's no question about that. Alcohol is used recreationally. It provides an altered state of consciousness, in my view, with a lot of bad possibility side effects. Cannabis provides a different kind of altered state of consciousness and one which is pretty free of untoward consequences and there's no hangover in the morning and so forth.

The second category of usefulness is medicine and that's, we've been describing that. There's no question now. There's 23 states and a couple more are going to come on board this November and a couple more are going to get free of the prohibition of the other this November, I mean, election day. It's going to be a very big medicine. In fact, I've just written a paper on cannabinal with cannabinopathic medicine. A paper on where is it going to go because it's outside of allopathic medicine but what we won't get into that now. At any rate, there's medical use.

Then, thirdly, there is what I call the enhancement capacity of marijuana. Now, some of the things it enhances are sort of free completely. I mean, anybody who's taken, I've mentioned the munchies effect, and it really enhances the enjoyment of a meal. There's no question about it. It also... and another one that's sort of free, it comes with a [inaudible 00:44:13] for anybody who's gone to bed with a person he loves stoned knows what it does for the sexual experience. But the enhancement is something that it goes beyond that. Lots of people believe that it helps them in achieving states that they can't do as easily when they're not stoned. For example, a spiritual state. Listen to the St. John Passion without cannabis and listen to it with it. It's a different experience [inaudible [00:44:57].

People who are creative use it. Carl Sagan, who was very creative and very successfully creative in a number of directions, he found it very useful.

Matthew: Did you and Carl ever partake in cannabis together?

Dr. Grinspoon: Oh, many times.

Matthew: That had to be some interesting conversations. I mean, for everybody out there that watched Cosmos way back when and now the remade version of Cosmos that's out is just incredible. I know his family is involved in producing that. What were some of the things that you two talked about? Did you get into outer space or extraterrestrial?

Dr. Grinspoon: I could... we used to talk about some things. I couldn't possibly replicate the things we talked about. One thing about Carl was, people used to say, you don't hear it so much now. "People who use marijuana just don't work as hard."

Matthew: Yeah.

Dr. Grinspoon: Well, let me tell you. Carl Sagan was the hardest working man I've ever met. I mean, even in casual conversation if an idea or thought came or something he wants to spend more, he'd pull out an envelope from his pocket and write it down. When we got into the modern age he'd have a little tape recorder or write it down. He was always working, so to speak. But who knows how many topics we've talked about - many.

Matthew: I bet. Gosh, I'd like to be a fly on the wall for those. Well, as we close Dr. Grinspoon, is there any way you'd like for people to reach out to you or how can they read your books?

Dr. Grinspoon: Well, they can read my books if they can read because they're available. I think "Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine" is still available on Amazon. It was published in '93 but it still sells quite well.

Matthew: Yeah.

Dr. Grinspoon: "Marihuana Reconsidered" was republished by several companies, Bantam Books and a company in California whose name I can't remember at the moment, but the point is those books are available and if I were advising someone about "Marihuana Reconsidered" I'd say, "Skip the chemistry chapter. It's all old."

Matthew: Okay.

Dr. Grinspoon: But the history up to where it goes is accurate and the descriptions of its use for going from the members of the [inaudible 00:47:59] like Godiet [SP] and Volere [SP] and so forth, they are... these guys had extravagant imaginations and the combination of hashish and they're an interesting experience to read them. But I also provide essays by people, modern people like the essay "Mr. X." I asked Carl to write an essay for this book, for "Marihuana Reconsidered" and he did. It's "Mr. X". It's now up on my website marijuana-uses, which the website marijuana-uses.com, which is one of my websites. The one that is devoted to the idea that marijuana is useful in more than... it's useful as an enhancer of various kinds of experiences. That book can be read and the website, the medical marijuana website rxmarijuana.com for people who are interested in it as a medicine and getting some idea of what people who have used it have said. There are a lot of accounts on that or if they're more interested in the enhancement characteristics they might want to read marijuana-uses.com.

Matthew: Weren't you also in some documentaries as well?

Dr. Grinspoon: Yes. I've been included in a few. If they go to... what's it called? YouTube. There are a number of documentaries but the one that's just going to be screened in November "The Culture High."

Matthew: Sure, Adam Scorgie. That's a really... how about "The Union"? Were you in a vid for "The Union"?

Dr. Grinspoon: Yes. I was.

Matthew: Okay.

Dr. Grinspoon: I'm in the other one, the new one as well.

Matthew: "The Culture High." So "The Union" and "The Culture High." Okay.

Dr. Grinspoon: "The Culture High" I don't have as big a part in it but I frankly think it's probably about the best documentary on cannabis. My daughter-in-law who knows nothing about cannabis is going to see it because she wants to learn something about it. I think anybody would be rewarded by seeing that. There's some excellent people who are quite articulate who talk about it.

Matthew: Great. Great. I look forward to seeing that. I really liked "The Union" so I'll look forward to seeing "The Culture High" and hearing you in that.

Dr. Grinspoon: "The Union" was also, I thought, a superb film.

Matthew: Yeah. Well, thanks so much, Dr. Grinspoon. Really appreciate you taking the time to speak with us and help further our understanding of the plant. Thanks again.

Dr. Grinspoon: My pleasure.

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