Tremendous PBS Video Explains Why Medical Cannabis Works — And How Big Pharma Is Planning To Cash In On It

PBS is to be commended for producing this excellent video summarizing the science behind the use of cannabis as a medicine.
Want to know why cannabis is effective at treating multiple symptoms and conditions? Watch this video. Want to know how cannabinoids selectively target and kill cancer cells? Watch this video. Want to know how many patents Big Pharma has taken out on cannabis-derived synthetic drugs? Watch this video.
And then share it with your friends and family.

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

116 thoughts

  1. These two guys are sitting around the camp fire – and – one says to the other:
    “What’s your take on fire, the wheel, stone tools, and opposable thumbs?”
    The other guy replied:
    “I don’t know – but – I’m gonna grab my club, my female by the hair – and – drag her to my cave.
    The prohibs would undertand this completely.

  2. I watch News Hour regularly and was pleasantly surprised to see this segment. It will be fascinating to see what kind of backlash the producers get, and if future interviews will challenge the standard talking points of whatever ONDCP spokesperson appears. In the past, they have politely let them have their say, no matter how outrageous the lie, and moved on to the next story.
    This report may be a tipping point.

  3. What A Dump F#@(, The feds won’t let it be tested and it is natural. This bonehead says how can you get off a bunch of drugs and cannabis work? Duh, look at studies you jackass and quit taking payoffs from the FEDS!!!!

  4. Has the FDA checked out water? I’m not sure if I should be taking that stuff in its raw form. Shouldn’t I be required by Dr. myopic to take the hydrogen and oxygen seperately,if those are FDA approved…?
    These “pull the string” tools on TV don’t realize how bad they make real doctors look?

  5. Doctor Eric Voth.
    I find you suspect – highly suspect sir. Cannabis is a “WONDER DRUG.” The science you wish to restrict it to already knows this. My question is – “Why don’t you?” Please sir – “Go eliminate your feces somewhere else.”

  6. I’m so tired of hearing how the only way a substance can be used effectively in medicine is by isolating only one compound that affects one process dramatically while overlooking the other highly negative effects and hoping that not too many people die or have bad effects. The cannabis plant is the only plant in the entire plant kingdom that contains cannabinoids. However, as Dr. Voth said there are many other compounds in the cannabis plant. These other substances are found in many other plants that are not illegal! Therefore there is PLENTY of research regarding these substances. He is ill informed. They are the other myriad therapeutic terpenoids and flavonoids that are easily found in pine trees, roses, lavender, hops, citrus rinds, neroli oil, eucalyptus, rosemary,etc, etc. and all have some therapeutic value in and of themselves or promote some process that positively affects how the cannabinoids work. Every attempt so far – excluding GW Pharmaceuticals excellent work in producing a “whole plant based” pharmaceutical sublingual spray called Sativex currently approved and marketed in the U.K., Canada, Spain, Italy, Germany, Denmark – has been an abject failure. Marinol and Drabinol have been touted by the likes of Dr. Voth but are virtually ineffective according to research and patients experience. His statement that he couldn’t believe one substance could have so many therapeutic effects is simply narrow flat earth thinking. Has he not been aware of the 20,000 or so credible peer-reviewed studies worldwide that show just that! What a poor example of a scientist/physician!

  7. It is about time big Pharma looks at medical marijuana! Now that they know big money is going to be involved, all af a sudden big Pharma wants in. If that is what it takes,make sure it is good and not swagg!

  8. #24 Skunky, right on there. Big Pharma has all this under control. Surely they don’t want ya’all growing the shit in your backyard.

  9. Voth is just of a certain western med mindset. The same one that discounted acupuncture and chinese herbs etc. when they become popular in the west. He’s not a believer in holistic healing alternatives. That is probably largely how he really feels, but I’m sure that all the added baggage attached to cannabis only polarizes him further. The extent of his beholdenness to corporate pharma is also difficult to determine exactly, but it’s clear that those are his core beliefs. Whatever, he’s clearly motivated to construct a set of rationalizations that he is convinced are “reasons” supporting his point of view.
    What he doesn’t address and in fact matters most, is that the exact medicinal properties of pot have nothing to do with the question of whether or not there should be a zero tolerance/schedule 1/total prohibition. There shouldn’t be. The main reason is that prohibition is a very very ineffective regulatory policy with numerous harmful unintended consequences. It does not succeed at its goals. And pot will never be controllable only as prescribed medication (in whatever form that takes) no matter what pharmaceutical companies and the FDA manage to come up with.
    Powerful entities like the agencies (FDA, DEA etc) in the executive branch abhor the idea of any human activity circumstances being beyond their control. They view it as an affront to their power and as a challenge to be met. In the US, the mindset is that “we don’t lose, we don’t surrender, we’re in it to win it, no matter what”. That is what we’re up against.

  10. I recently read the human body manufatures it’s own cannabinoids, but they are weak and short-lived.

  11. tht doctor in the beginning is full of crap invite that lady to your house and witness her with the marijuana and without then see if it works. plus hes saying it has harmful side effects WTF every drug on the market comes with a warning label with a list of side effects so whats the difference

  12. I think it’s Past the Time for this to happen. Especially Medical Cannabis!
    So Many Pros & actually no cons that I can think of. From previous times, off & on during my life. I have used Cannabis for Many Issues. A couple of examples: Depression, which the Pharma just loves to dump their drugs on that one. I had a Dog, Boston Terrier started having seizures when just a pup. Somehow he ate some Cannabis. At first I was afraid…but no seizures that day. So for the rest of his life, he ate a tiny amount every day & never had another seizure.
    I have also seen the effects of Cannabis on the Social Scene. People that ingest or smoked Cannabis were wonderful & fun to be around. Yet people drinking Alcohol turned into real jerks.
    No fighting, no Spousal Abuse, No Deaths! Yet Every Year there are 17 Thousand Alcohol Related Deaths in our Country. That’s more than all the murders committed in the USA. Deaths Related to Cannabis???…0..yes ZERO!
    Seems to me Legalizing Cannabis would Also Help Stop the Drug Wars at our Borders. And….Gee, We Could Get CA Out of Debt if Cannabis was Taxed! It is a Billion Dollar Industry!! Why is this Product Not Already Legalized? Alcohol is a Drug…a Horrible Drug…but it’s Legal. Coffee’s a Drug? Cigarettes are a Drug.
    I could never figure this problem out…but Now We All Know What the Deal Is….Don’t We?

  13. I know a little bit about cell biology and the important role of G proteins in trans surface membrane cell signalling. From the scientific literature, It appears that activated cannabinoid CB1 cell surface receptors cause intracellular sequestration of G proteins, thereby down-regulating trans surface membrane cell signalling.
    Even with my little bit of of cell biology knowledge, I can appreciate the wider medicinal implications and the pharmacological excitement.

  14. Let me put this as simple as it can be put!
    How much money can a doctor make if no one ever got sick?
    How much money can pharmaceutical companies make if no one ever took their drugs?
    How much money would drug stores make if no one ever filled a prescription?
    How many medical conditions are “created” to support these ????????????????????????????????????????????

  15. The truth will show itself. One day at a time. Im tired of being patient, but what other choice do we have? The bullshit is starting to get old Uncle Sam! Stop fucking with a good thing!

  16. Can someone explain why the number of medical marijuana states is always counted as 16? NORML’s active state programs page lists 17 and the District of Columbia.
    Alaska
    Arizona
    California
    Colorado
    Delaware
    Hawaii
    Maine
    Maryland
    Michigan
    Montana
    Nevada
    New Jersey
    New Mexico
    Oregon
    Rhode Island
    Vermont
    Washington
    District of Columbia
    [Editor’s note: Some news outlets and wire services do not count Maryland’s change of law because it is so super lame: patients can still be arrested, have their medicine taken away and not returned even AFTER they’ve proven that they have a physician’s recommendation to use cannabis for a specific (and approved) ailment.]

  17. I am planting(forgetting to take with me) a few books at my moms house about Marijuana..
    The Emperor wears no clothes
    The Marijuana Medical Handbook
    The Great Book of Hemp
    She will read them,, and she will gossip to everyone about all the cool stuff she learned..
    Just planting another seed can grow in many ways.

  18. Did Dr. Lester Grinspoon really say that he has cancer in the full PBS special?
    [Editor’s note: Dr. Grinspoon and his family have been attending to an acute form of cancer he was diagnosed with over three years ago.]

  19. one plant shall bring peace to all nations.
    He who denies this plant shall not enter thr GATEWAY to the Kingdon of GOD..
    SO many have the name correct..It is the gateway herb

  20. Voth is displaying classic symptoms of the Modern Medical community’s bias against Marijuana, not only in being overly loyal to Big Pharma, but in their view that a natural plant of any kind cannot be as effective as the synthetic modern man made drugs.
    He says he is skeptical that after 14 drugs with no effectiveness, this one plant helped completely, but I promise you, if it were a pharma drug, originating from the plant, containing the exact full ingredient list of cannabinoids as the plant, it would be a miracle of modern science.
    Sorry doc. The plant will always be the most effective. It is a miracle of the greatest Pharmacist of all time. Planet Earth. It makes the cures, and we humans try to replicate it, almost always with inferior effectiveness, and dangerous side effects.
    Doctors need to remember that the entire Prescribing Drugs portion of their career, has it’s origins in herbal remedies. Before modern medicine, doctors or their equal incarnation in other/older societies, gave patients herbal extracts, oils, and tinctures, created largely with plants. They forget that many of the most popular drugs, started with plants until synthesized.
    It is an all too worrying trend, especially in North America, continent of the newest is best mindset. If it hasn’t happened recently it can’t be all that great. It’s because we’ve come to accept planned obsolescence in all aspects of our life, everything breaks down,or doesn’t work these days, so how can history, culture, and natural medicine possibly teach us anything about medicines? This mindset also applies to Hemp.
    Keep on toking in the free world.
    [Editor’s note: Dr. Eric Voth is a second generation anti-cannabis zealot as his father, also a physician, was one the major proponents in government in the 1970s for mass drug testing. Apparently, and unfortunately, the apple didn’t fall too from the tree…]

  21. 72.dbeall
    You might want to consider CANNABIS a history by Martin Booth – published by Picador. Happy reading.

  22. Dr. Eric Voth is from Kansas and an ASSHOLE. He is one of the most evil of Prohibitionists. A pox on Dr. Voth. He is the Dick Cheney of Anti marijuana.

  23. anyone here saying the government is making money off of imprisoning people is just as stupid as dr voth is
    imprisoning a citizen costs the government approximately $38,000 a year. Prisoners arent paying for room, board, electricity, food, transportation(when necessary)
    Educate yourself before jumping into an argument and making non factual comments
    Yes, the government is keeping it illegal partially until they find a monetary plan, but at the same time, it is kept illegal because BIG businesses( Oil companies, food companies, tobacco companies, alcohol companies and so on) have the finances to pay off the right people to keep it illegal.
    Do some research before making yourself sound like a TOTAL ASS Deb Hickle

  24. Dr. Grinspoon is is someone who I respect immensely! Although he doubted the medical use of marijuana at first, because of exposure to Govt propaganda, he did the research and came to his own conclusions. Like so many of us, he now believes it has incredible potential for medical use. God knows I wish our Govt would show as much intelligence as Dr. Grinspoon has demonstrated!
    Dr. Eric Voth, of the Institute on Global Drug Policy does not earn my respect; not even a little tiny bit. I believe he is a puppet of the DEA. His primary reason for not believing that marijuana can be used for medical use is because it is illegal. He says he has never, in his 27 years, ever thought that advising a patient to “smoke dope illegally” was the right thing to do. His choice of verbage makes his bias against marijuna clear. He goes on to say that he wouldn’t even let someone who is dying use it! I, sure as hell, would not want him to be my doctor! He goes on to say that marijuana does have a side effect and that is the high. While it is possible that a small percentage of patients might not like that effect, isn’t it remarkable that the main problem he mentions (besides that it is illegal) is that it has a side effect which most people actually like! Compare that to the side effects of most of Big Pharma’s drugs.
    The Federal Govt, in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, continues to insist that cannabis is as dangerous as heroin, ecstacy, and LSD. This is beyond ludicrous! At least a few of our elected officials, God bless them, realize this and are trying to change it. But the status quo thinkers like John Boehner, Barrack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and about 85% of our other current elected leaders continue to stick to the lies and predjudices of the past; thus completely ignoring science and the will of the people. According to the Federal Govt, marijuana is more dangerous and has less medical value than methamphetamine, cocaine, opium, and morphine. I’m glad that at least educated medical practicioners seem to agree that this is complete nonsense and that marijuana is not dangerous, and that it does have tremendous potential for use as a medicine. It’s really too bad that our uneducated biased politicians are making decisions that should be left to our doctors!
    One of the things that bothers me the most about the Federal Govt’s position on this issue is that we all know they are lying to us. Since they are lying to us about this, then it begs the question “What else are they lying to us about?”. Can we really believe them when they say they need to tax us more heavily? Can we believe them that UFO’s aren’t real? Can we believe it is really necessary to go to war again (hypothetically in the future…)? How can we find it in ourselves to trust them when we know them to be lying to us about this?
    The DEA’s position is just a cruel joke. As far as I have been able to discern, they actually know next to nothing about marijuana. They do know a lot about military and law enforcement tactics however. They are also masters of propaganda and bending the truth.They completely ignore evidence in favor of pushing their propaganda that allows them to continue their funding and existence as an organization. They seem to have no interest in the truth or the welfare of Americans. Among other things they say it leads to other more dangerous drugs which is both wrong and laughable. Marijuana is already listed in the most dangerous category so how could it, by their standards, lead to more dangerous drugs! It does not lead to other drugs unless perhaps you get it from an illegal dealer who stands to profit by pushing them. As someone who has used cannabis, recreationally (not medically since I am very healthy), for 40 years, I can tell you I have no desire to try any of the other drugs the DEA says it leads to. It is very possible that part of the reason I am so healthy, at age 55, is because of my use of cannabis.
    Somehow, the powers that be within the DEA, Michelle Leonhart in particular, have come to the conclusion that as long as Big Pharma can profit from synthetic THC, that is okay. They only have a problem with THC if it comes from a naturally grown plant. One would assume that they haven’t tried it themselves since it is their job to try to eradicate it and lock up anyone they catch with it. So, I have to ask why it is that they refuse to believe people like myself who have actually used it for many years and are still perfectly able to function at a high level both mentally, physically, and to lead an otherwise very normal productive life. It is also very worth noting that both of my parents, and all my grandparents had cancer. It runs in my family. But, I have been checked for it am completely cancer free. I am living proof but that’s not good enough for them. Doctors seem to agree that marijuana, in it’s raw form, is much more effective than the synthetic compound that the DEA has approved.
    It is completely amazing to me that one person, Harry Anslinger, started the witch hunt that is also known as marijuana prohibition. His entire campaign was based on lies and predjudice; primarily against Mexicans and African Americans. Now, here we are in the 21st century, and millions of us have not been able to get this wrong righted! It also amazes me that almost every country in the world bought into this idiotic witch hunt in spite of the fact that prior to Mr. Anslinger’s prohibitionist activities, it had been used medically for thousands of years!

  25. Well if Voth is such a big part of the push toward workplace drug testing, they’ve done a great job of turning people’s minds against marijuana. Look at all the newscasts where criminals are featured and they make sure to mention if there was marijuana in the picture, and have succeeded in equating marijana with hard drugs (same thing, you steal, can’t hold a job and you die of an overdose but not before you sell to small children), and made sure that the general public believes that if you smoke pot you automaticallly have a drug problem and shouldn’t be around anyone’s kids.
    Nothing’s going to change until everyone who smokes pot and/or thinks it should be legal goes down and marches on Washington all together. If everyone concerned showed up, people’s jaws would drop at who they’d find there.

  26. Great video.
    Regardless of proven medicinal benefits of cannabis, marijuana should be accepted, approved and legal for medical and recreational use around the country. America should legalize it and charge taxes on it. The saving from wasted “law-enforcement” and “criminal-prosecution” alone would be a huge help to our bankrupt country.It is amazing how backwards politics and medecine have become in this country.

  27. It really bothers me to say this but it seems like the average American is very cowardly. I know a lot of people who use cannabis recreationally. I am the only one who has dared to join NORML. All of them are afraid of getting on some Govt list of marijuana/drug users. Not a single one of them has ever done anything, out of fear, to help the legalization cause. I’m sure they would vote in favor of legalizing if they had the chance but they do nothing but hide until that time comes. One of my best friends, someone I’ve smoked with on many occasions, recently got angry with me for send him an email that made a marijuana reference. He is sure the DEA is monitoring everyone’s emails and he is so very afraid of getting on their list… It’s really pretty pathetic! Even though they are my friends, their cowardice is offensive to me.

  28. Dr. Voth seems to have skipped over that clinical research organizations would NOT research marijuana for potential medical benefits because of the drug wars and the “reefer madness” scare. So, now that the voters finally caught up and passed these initiatives, he’s poo poohing it until the research is done. If they had started the research a long time ago, this would never have had to happen.
    We need to find doctors who will research it in it’s raw state as well. This way, big pharmacy won’t have a grip on its use. If the benefits of raw marijuana are proved clinically, then the need for synthesized specific drugs will be minimized.
    I wish every time there’s a video on medical marijuana, they would stop showing a person smoking a joint! I don’t do that anymore. I ingest it by eating it and smoking a small puff from a pipe. I was glad to see they showed the woman eating it.

  29. Well there you go NORML…Big Pharma just sunk your battleship! You can kiss all of the progress you’ve made in the medical marijuana movement GOODBYE!!! So now what? What is your game-plan now that your ruse is up, and the Trojan Horse that you supposedly intended to force legalization through the back-door with is ON FIRE! What way (other than pursuing 100% total legalization) are you going to use now to circumvent the will of the machine?
    -Oz
    [Editor’s note: No change of plans…full steam ahead with legalization, which has always been the principle organizational goal. Pharmaceutical companies are welcomed by NORML to create effective and affordable cannabinoid-based drugs, as long as they don’t lobby to treat cannabis consumers as criminals or try to ban consumers from cultivating their own product.]

  30. It would be nice if you could purchase a license just like a fishing license to grow your own for your own use as well as friends as I would be happy to pay $50 a year to have six-12 plants in my garden & not need to buy from someone in a bar, this prevents me from eating it & I like good MJ Butter!!!
    After thousands of years the only thing that seems to be remotely true is that some people usually with high use and predisposition get a little mental but there are plenty of OTC medications that do it & do it faster but.
    HEY … who really smokes 10 joints a day as I have not seen anyone person finish an entire joint in 15 years, 3-4 tokes does it for me and most people I know & not even weekly so I have little incentive to help make it legal but I want to help as I like certain strains with a sweet taste & smell & like to know it has no poison on it.
    I will not go downtown and speak about weed to strangers as most would call the police & we all know how long metabolites can be detected and in a small town a real feather in a cops hat.
    Where in the hell are the 800,000 people who get arrested each year and the other 20 million who do smoke once in a while … why do people pay big bucks for weed then FAIL to do their part to CHANGE THE LAWS … I give a little to NORML, MMP, Innocence Project, hospitals, the poor and several other causes but make less a day than I used to make in an hour.
    Is There A Failure To Communicate, Smokers … where are you!
    Support the cause …damn it I will only live another 20 years and would like to smoke legally before I die!

  31. Wait. Wait. wait.
    Wait until we can separate each benefit into different drugs.
    Wait until we can patent it.
    Wait until we can make money from it.
    Then we will reclassify it, rush it through FDA approval, market it to our pushers in white lab coats and sell it to you at prices higher than any other country would allow us to sell it for, and pay politicians to keep all the associated laws in our financial favor.

  32. I FIND THE COMMENTS BY THE DOCTOR THAT WORKS FOR THE DFA SO HIPROCATE AND IDIOTIC IS FUNNY IM A CANCER SURVIVOR THAT SURVIVED 17 SUEGERIES CHEMO AND RADIATION THE PUSHED CHEMICALS AND PILLS I DID NOT WANT TO TAKE DOWN MY TROAT AND I WANT TO TAKE SOME THING LIKE CASNNABIS THAT HAS BEEN AROUND THOUSANDS OF YEARS AND THEY ARE PLAYING THIS POLITICAL GAMES AND OF STUPITITY AND IT JUST THE SAME OLD STORY IS A SHAME BUT MY POEPLE DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO AND GO ON.

  33. I WILL CONBTINUE TO BE A SUPPORTER AND SMOKE FOR ASLL MY CHRONIC PAIN DISORDER, FRIBROMIALGIA, AND SO MANY OTHER CONDITIONS THAT IF I WRITE THGEM ALL I WILL NOT HAVE SPACE SOONER OR LATER IT WILL BE LEGAL! IN THE MEAN TIME SOME GET HEAL FEAL BETTER AND DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO!!!! IM FROM BUFFAlo ny and what ever happens happens am not scared of the goverment, i have bveen face to face with death and noone is goin to tell me that marijuana does not work for all the conditionsd they have researched on, very encorouage of the cancer fighting experiments that are ongoin. peace on my poeple.

  34. FWIW, this PBS documentary needs a follow-up that exposes the extent to which the USA federal, state, and local governments financially benefit from prohibition, along with the multitude of private for-profit corporate interests that benefit. SoS H. Clinton was correct — there is far too much money (in prohibition) for it to ever be made legal again.
    The USA needs its’ own ‘Awakening’ with protesters in the streets like the 1960’s and early 1970’s. The outcome could be as peaceful as the Egyptian Revolt, but it would more likely take an American version of the Libyan Revolt to overcome the entrenched kleptocracy. The murder of students at Kent State was no accident — provocations for police state violence will always be created by undercover instigators should the PtB feel the need.
    All of this BS, violence, and repression for over 70 years, over a harmless plant. There is, has been, and will always be far larger issues at play that someday will be revealed — at that point, the ‘blowback’ from the populace will be overwhelming. Think about what anniversary 14 July represents …

  35. Marijuana will never be legal in the US, simply for the fact that it helps people relax and enjoy, and it’s safe. And that’s a nightmare to those in power.

  36. When you’ve exhausted your last breath with words – what’s left? Right! A march leading to a face to face is one answer. It’s a “raise of hands” – and – “physical presence” that must be addressed – usually because the next step is brute force. But- when covering all the angles – maybe they would use this approach to strengthen their agenda of creating a tragedy to take to higher level [the visual effect of mass force]. For that reason – a peaceful assembly would have to be absolutely peaceful. “ONE” egg thrower and the party is over. We hear about a million man march. How about a 75% March. It doesn’t seem possible – that we could get 75% of the people together on the Capitol’s steps – at one time. What does seem possible is that we put 75% on each and every local representative’s door step – at one time – that we meet them where they live – in their own front yard. Pick a day and be there.

  37. well, I have read all I can read. legal or not, decriminalized or not, I will smoke and be high til I die…..no need to fret, as long as the weed I get.

  38. No Politician Will Ever Admit Marijuana is Medicine Except Ron Paul and Gary Johnson. Ron Paul 2012 BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW & Legalize iT

  39. I recently found myself in the local ER for an extreme infection on my lower leg. It was diagnosed as cellulitus. Being that I am extremely allergic to most pain killers, when prescribed percocet, I asked for something milder darvocet. The doctor told me that darvocet was no longer allowed into the county because the FDA had banned it. He explained that the FDA was really a combination of the biggest pharmaceutical companys in the USA, and since most darvocet was being produced for cheaper oversea,s they had banned it for lack of being able to make money off of it.This was the admission of a Certified M.D. This is the same thing occurring with marijuana in the US. Because they cant make money off of it, they must keep it out of the mainstream. You can get FDA clearance for drugs such as Nas*nex that cause severe nose bleeds, migraines, and possible comma by admission as side effects, but don’t smoke a joint you could get high and really feel good. Then what on earth would you do ?

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