In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Dr. Drew Pinsky, who recently revealed he had surgery for low-grade prostate cancer, admits to prescribing medical marijuana, even though he calls it a "sham."
The marijuana segment of the interview, conducted by Shirley Halperin, has been provided exclusively to Celebstoner.
What did you think of Sanjay Gupta's marijuana special on CNN?
Pinsky: That was great. My basic note was - I don’t want to state it too strongly - but it was kind of about time. I’ve never felt differently than what he was saying. He’s sort of come to the table to understand that this is not a monolithic story. But yeah, I didn’t disagree with anything.
That's surprising. You've always been so anti-medical marijuana.
I’m anti the medicalists using my profession to promote a political agenda. I’m anti the way medical marijuana has been promulgated in California. First of all, every drug addict I treat has a prescription. So, nobody is being screened. Number two, you barely have to slow your car down to reach out to get a prescription for marijuana. It’s a miscarriage of my profession - that’s what I don’t like. It’s clearly been done to try to move towards legalization. My thing is, then just legalize it! Don’t use my profession to promote a sham.
By the way, I have prescribed marijuana before. It’s not like I haven’t - I have. When it's appropriate - though it’s a pretty narrow frame in my world - I’m glad. Listen, I’ve given morphine to heroin addicts because my job is to reduce suffering, not to judge. That’s the part that I was sort of curious about. Sanjay seemed to be sort of a judgmental - I don’t judge. I don’t care if people want to use it. I’m just for what’s good for people and what’s healthy, and if people want to fall in line with that, fantastic. If they don’t, also fantastic.
Has your opinion of marijuana been impacted at all by the cancer?
In my world, there are 30 other medications that are way, way better than pot. The only people that ask for pot are people that really love pot. As far as I’m concerned, fine. There’s no such thing as a good drug and a bad drug. That does not exist. There’s just consequences for humans of their relationship with substances, and I try to be exquisitely honest and clear about that. When there’s dishonesty in it, I get troubled by that. When it’s motivated by a political agenda, that’s a problem. It’s a scientific question. If somebody is suffering and this is what they love, they should have that. Why not? Or if it makes them feel better - let’s even say it retriggers addiction in the short-term - well, let’s deal with that in the longer term. We’ll deal with that after the fact. The fact that we can’t use these things is silly. Why is morphine a good drug and canova a bad drug?
It would be amazing if you and Dr. Gupta did a debate on this.
Well, the problem is we agree too closely.
Your side is very specific and I get it, but people simplify the issue.
Oh my God, yes. They want to make me sort of the anti. I’m not anti anything! I’m not even anti-heroin if it can help somebody. I gave a lecture to the medical school about six months ago. And a student goes, “Is marijuana bad?” And I thought, "I can’t believe there are students asking me this." There’s no such thing as a bad drug. There are bad relationships, there are bad consequences. There are maybe drugs that aren’t good or don’t work or are inappropriate or don’t have clinical utility, but it’s the human relationship with the substance that’s the problem, not the substance itself. The fact that we label alcohol and tobacco “good” and morphine “good” and canova “bad” – that’s bizarre to me.
Is that what your answer was?
Yeah, absolutely. I told them I don’t believe in good and bad drugs. There’s no such thing. If you’re going to put good and bad, I would think you’d put alcohol at the top of the list as bad, even though it’s legal. The problem is people get all screwed up about the legal part.