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Cover for Seeing Through the Smoke

Seeing Through the Smoke

A Cannabis Specialist Untangles the Truth about Marijuana

Peter Grinspoon, Dr Andrew Weil (Foreword by)


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Depending on which doctor you speak with, or which websites you read, cannabis could be an appealing, low-risk medicine - even an aid to wellness - or an insidiously addictive drug rotting the brains of our youth. This dissonance confuses young people, distressed patients, and paralyzes politicians, all while inviting dubious sources of information and resulting in uninformed choices, enhanced polarization, and a fragmented national policy. Seeing Through the Smoke is an unflinching examination at the grossly misunderstood drug that uses data-driven medical science and a critical historical perspective to reveal the truth behind cannabis. In this balanced and measured investigation, Cannabis specialist and Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School Dr. Peter Grinspoon untangles the reality behind cannabis, revealing how we ended up with radically divergent understandings of the drug and pointing a way toward a middle ground that we can all share. Moving through an illuminating tour of the social history and the medical science behind cannabis, Grinspoon unpacks the layers of disinformation left by a sordid history of government propaganda, racial suppression, and indifference from the medical community to answer questions like: Is cannabis addictive? What are its best-established medical uses? Can cannabis help cure cancer? How does cannabis affect memory? How dangerous is cannabis for teens? Is cannabis a safer treatment for ADHD and PTSD? What exactly is CBD and how is it different from marijuana? What are the most concerning side effects? By focusing on the most critical purported harms--driving, pregnancy, addictiveness, memory--and by focusing on the most commonly cited medical benefits--relieving chronic pain, sleep, anxiety, PTSD, autism, and cancer--Seeing Through the Smoke will help patients, parents, doctors, health experts, regulators, and politicians move beyond biased perceptions and arrive at a shared reality towards cannabis.

Prometheus Books, 9781633888463, 360pp.

Publication Date: April 15, 2023

About the Author

Peter Grinspoon, M.D. is a primary care physician and cannabis specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is a certified Health and Wellness Coach as well as a board member of the advocacy group Doctors for Cannabis Regulation. Dr. Grinspoon is a widely recognized expert on cannabis science and drug policy. He regularly appears as an expert on national television and radio programs, including NPR's All Things Considered, NBC Nightly News, C-SPAN's Washington Journal, Fox and Friends and Fox News. He is quoted frequently in the national media, in such venues as People, New York Magazine, the Washington Post, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, and the Boston Globe. Grinspoon's Harvard Health articles have reached millions of readers, have been widely referenced in the national media, and have been cited in congressional testimony. His writing has been published in The Nation, the Los Angeles Times and Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics. He is the author of the memoir Free Refills: A Doctor Confronts His Addiction, was the expert witness in the successful citizens' 2019 lawsuit against the Massachusetts "Vape Ban" and a special consultant on addiction issues to Jagged Little Pill''s pre-Broadway run at the American Repertory Theater.