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Nov-20-2012 10:59printcomments

Medical Marijuana Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Killer Drugs and the Safest, Best Replacement, Marijuana

He keeps ignoring the most important part...

Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Dr. Sanjay Gupta photo courtesy:

(PORTLAND, OR) - I never knew that Dr. Gupta was a surgical pharmacologist, whatever that may be but his CNN program on 'Killer Drugs' November 17 2012 was a welcome educational program. I was surprised that he used the word opioids constantly so I had to check my Merck manual because I had studied pharmacology under two of the most renowned opiate pharmacologists. Dr. Hugo Krueger, who wrote the best book ever on the pharmacology of the opiates, those directly derived from opium. Dr. Norman David was my boss in medical school. He was one of the first American doctors to use methadone; a non-opiate or opioid brought to the US after WWII.

The Merck manual states that "Opioids are all chemically related to morphine". This is not factual. They are related in function and effect but certainly not in chemical structure. To clarify this, Fentanyl, meperidine (Demeral) and methadone all function like opium or morphine but have widely different chemical structures. That being said, let us address his program. He does mention almost all of the opium based killer drugs, Oxycodone, hydrocodone, heroin, morphine and some others. All of these are killer drugs as well as those which are from non-opium derivatives.

Opium, as such, has been used for centuries as a waxy, gummy, yellowish brown substance for oral use mainly but also smoked. Morphine, codeine, etc. were extracted by Serturner about 1850 - roughly the same time as the hypodermic needles were made. From then on the use of morphine by injection truly exploded.

Morphine could not be patented so everybody and his dog 'Fido' jumped in to find a different molecular structure. Herewith came Oxycondone, OxyContin and hydrocodone (Vicodin) which strongly compete with morphine by heavy advertising. This has caused the lethality problem. OxyContin ('contin' means continuous action, that is about 12 hours) has become notorious as a killer drug because patients grind it up. The 12-hour dose becomes an immediate overdose and frequently lethal especially with alcohol. Another CNS (central nervous system) or brain depressing drug.

Dr. Gupta relates the use of killer drugs has increased 600% between 1997 and 2007 and that in the US with 5% of the population we use 80% of the killer drugs and one person dies every 19 minutes from these drugs. Many of these patients started out with chronic pain and the disease and the treatment just caught up to them.

I was astonished that Dr. Gupta and company did not even mention the safest, best replacement for these killer drugs which is cannabis/marijuana which has been used almost as long as opium, opiates and opioids but has never killed anyone.

I have written about this in Salem-News May 17 2007 titled 'Marijuana: the Replacement for Very Dangerous Drugs' which had 77 reader responses, mostly agreeable.

Dr. Gupta's response about the killer drugs was to have stiffer controls on physicians prescribing and education of the patients about drug abuse. The latter fall on deaf ears because the patients want relief from the pain.

It is fortunate that two states; Colorado and Washington, have legalized marijuana which gives an excellent alternative to the killer drugs. Cannabis/marijuana provides excellent relief for all pain but never a death.

OOh rah for Marijuana

Dr. Phillip Leveque

Dr. Phillip Leveque has degrees in chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and minors in physiology and biochemistry. He was a Professor of Pharmacology, employed by the University of London for 2 years, during which time he trained the first doctors in Tanzania. After training doctors, he became an Osteopathic Physician, as well as a Forensic Toxicologist.

Before any of that, Phil Leveque was a Combat Infantryman in the U.S. Army in WWII. He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 60 years after the war, and specialized in treating Veterans with PTSD during his years as a doctor in Molalla, Oregon. Do you have a question, comment or story to share with Dr. Leveque?
Email him:

More information on the history of Dr. Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of WWII about his own experiences "from a foxhole". Order the book by mail by following this link: DOGFACE SOLDIER OF WWII If you are a World War II history buff, you don't want to miss it.

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Mitragyna Speciosa November 20, 2012 10:51 pm (Pacific time)

Kratom. Nuff said.

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