Unpacking Dr. Gupta’s Weed 7 Episode: Part One

On Sunday evening, August 6, 2023, CNN aired Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s “Weed 7: A Senior Moment” as part of Anderson Cooper’s “The Whole Story” show. Association of Cannabinoid Specialists has asked our member experts to help “unpack” the information packed into the hour-long episode.  

In the first of our multi-part series, ACS provides a summary of items we thought should be highlighted followed by our opinion or commentary of that item. In future posts, we will provide feedback from our observations, links to research material and useful articles to supplement the episode, and, if needed, point out any helpful data that may “fill in the blanks” with information not discussed or point out any discrepancies we found. 



To start, here’s our summary of the episode: 

  • Interesting statement in the show, “Between 2015 and 2018, cannabis use in seniors over 65 jumped 75 percent.” 
  • In a written piece published prior to the episode’s airing, Dr. Gupta wrote that he had an epiphany: 

“And I guess that may be the biggest thing that has changed over the past 10 years. I would’ve never imagined a time when I would openly recommend cannabis to my own parents – or a time they would openly consider taking it.” 

Plants Over Pills

At the top of the show, Dr. Gupta spoke to a brand ambassador / dispensary owner who made a remark referred to throughout the episode: “Plants over pills”. 

ACS’ entire mission is to educate and advocate the use of cannabis medicine. However, we also emphasize the continued need for more research funding, clinical trials, and patient data to really understand how the medicine is working or not working. If we presume cannabis is not going to treat every ailment or condition, there is a place for pharmaceuticals (pills). We want to caution people from ignoring science and data by throwing out their prescriptions or ignoring their physicians’ advice unless and until we all feel more plants over pills is proven science. The key is working with your physician to ensure there are not converse interactions between medicines and providing feedback to your physicians so, together, you can determine if there are prescriptions you can eliminate. 

Self- Education and Administration

Dr. Gupta interviewed U.S. medical patients / dispensary customers demonstrating their typical evolution starting with self-education and self-administration. 

ACS supports their journey, but it was evident the patients needed a physician to guide them through the best form and dose for their individual situation. Most of those patients interviewed sought medical guidance and were genuinely joyful for the benefits they received. 

Pharmacy and Prescription Model

Dr. Gupta interviewed several medical professionals in the U.S. and in Israel. The Israeli-based professionals operate in a much more regulated and medically focused environment than in the U.S. Israel has a prescription and pharmacy model which also allows the administration of cannabis medicine in clinics and hospitals. 

ACS encourages U.S. citizens and citizens internationally to advocate for a true medical program like Israel’s that would open more clinical research, allow physicians to prescribe rather than “recommend” cannabis medicine and allow for treatment that may perform better than other medicines for certain ailments and conditions. 

Knowledge Gap

Dr. Gupta mentioned, on several occasions, there is a knowledge gap because some studies only offer preliminary findings or there are no studies to validate anecdotal information. However, both the professionals and patients interviewed strongly emphasized real results for them and hundreds of patients. For example, patients in both the U.S. and Israel state regular cannabis use has improved aggressive behavior and depressive moods brought on by dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

ACS strongly advocates for governmental funding for those entities seeking to conduct further clinical trials and other research into the impact of cannabinoids on specific brain disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s.