In May 2012, Lester Grinspoon was honoured with the Cannabis Culture Award, an award that recognises people who are working to ensure that cannabis has a future where it is used to its fullest extent. Since 2004, the Since 2004, the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum has conferred these awards upon those who have distinguished themselves in the struggle for acceptance of cannabis in all of its forms.
Dr. Lester Grinspoon was born in 1928 in Newton, Massachusetts. He graduated from Tufts University and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Grinspoon was a father of 4 children, including remarkable astrobiologist David Grinspoon and physician and author Peter Grinspoon. His oldest son died of cancer at the age of 15, which led him to discover cannabis as a medication.
Evidence and Views on Cannabis
Dr. Grinspoon became interested in cannabis in the 1960s, at a time when its use increased dramatically in the United States. When he began studying marijuana in 1967, his intention was to “define scientifically the nature and degree of [the] dangers [of using marijuana],” but as he reviewed the existing literature on the subject Grinspoon reached the conclusion that he and the general public had been misinformed and misled. “There was little empirical evidence to support my beliefs about the dangers of marihuana,” he claimed, and he was then convinced that cannabis was far less harmful than he had believed. The book’s title, Marihuana Reconsidered, reflected that change in view. “Despite my training in science and medicine, I discovered that I had been brainwashed like every other citizen in this country,” once stated Dr. Grinspoon, not only asserting that marijuana was NOT a dangerous drug, but also highlighting it was notably non-toxic, leading him to reconsider his point of view.
Books and Media Appearances Concerning Cannabis
Grinspoon is widely renowned as the author or co-author of several cannabis-related books, among which we could mention Marijuana Reconsidered (publication dates 1971, 1977 and 1994), Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered, Marijuana: The Forbidden Medicine and Psychedelic Reflections. The first two were published during the 1970s, when it seemed like cannabis was on its way to nationwide decriminalisation in the U.S. Marijuana: The Forbidden Medicine was published in 1993, describing a variety of ailments for which cannabis may be prescribed. Additionally, Grinspoon contributed a chapter to Jefferson Fish’s book: How to Legalize Drugs. Dr. Grinspoon was also the founder of two websites: “Marijuana: The Forbidden Medicine,” which includes thousands of individual experiences concerning the medical uses of marijuana as well as questions and answers; and “Uses of Marijuana,” allowing people to submit essays relating to the “enhancing” effects that marijuana can produce on the user.
Apart from that, Grinspoon appeared in the Showtime series Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, season two, in an episode addressing America’s War on Drugs. Grinspoon discussed the way marijuana helped his young son while he was dying from leukaemia during the 1970s, completely eliminating the horrible nausea and vomiting he experienced after each of his chemotherapy treatments and, thereby, improving the final year and a half of the boy’s life. Grinspoon also appeared in the Canadian documentary The Union: The Business Behind Getting High and discussed the pharmaceutical characteristics of Marinol, as well as his writing experiences with Carl Sagan. In 2011, he appeared in a Montana PBS documentary, Clearing the Smoke: The Science of Cannabis.
Grinspoon leaves a legacy that will endure forever, as he has consistently supported the struggle for cannabis reform for decades up to his death on June 25th, 2020, at the age of 92.