Foto Lester GrinspoonFoto Lester Grinspoon

Lester Grinspoon

Dr. Lester Grinspoon (USA, 1928) is Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Now one of the most respected and outspoken proponents of cannabis, Dr. Grinspoon originally set out to prove it was a harmful drug. In 1967 he began research to scientifically define the dangers of marijuana. His studies led him to a surprising conclusion, the opposite of his hypothesis. Cannabis was not the dangerous drug that he, and the general public, had been led to believe it was. His book Marijuana Reconsidered (1971) reflected this reversal of opinion and was followed by several more, including Marijuana: The Forbidden Medicine in 1993.

Because of his inability to travel a Skype interview with museum director Ben Dronkers was shown during the ceremonies in Amsterdam and Barcelona.

Cannabis RallyCannabis Rally
Marihuana reconsidered

Lester Grinspoon, born on 24 June 1928 in Newton, Massachusetts, USA, founded the Annual Review of Psychiatry and the Harvard Mental Health Letter, of which he was editor in chief for 15 years. 

His interest in cannabis dates back to the 1960s, when recreational use of the plant was on the rise. Grinspoon's research began in 1967 under the assumption that cannabis was a very dangerous drug. He hoped to write a book in which the many dangers of cannabis were scientifically supported. As he learned more about the plant, its long history and unique properties, his plan changed. 

Since the publication in 1971 of his by now classic book Marihuana reconsidered he has lobbied tirelessly for rehabilitation and against criminalization of the plant.

Medicinal marihuanaMedicinal marihuana
Cannabis as a medicine

While writing Marihuana: the forbidden medicine, together with co-author James Bakalar, Grinspoon came to the conclusion that the public at large had been misinformed and mislead about cannabis. Published in 1993, this book made a formidable contribution to the debate on and the knowledge of the medicinal properties of cannabis.

One can safely state that no one has meant more to the rediscovery of cannabis as a medicine than Lester Grinspoon.

 

Lester GrinspoonLester Grinspoon
Personal experience

On his website Lester Grinspoon gathered thousands of testimonials from people using cannabis medicinally. Grinspoon himself saw the powerful effects of cannabis when his young son was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In Marihuana: the forbidden medicine, he talks about this experience in several passages.

Lester GrinspoonLester Grinspoon
Authoritative expert on cannabis

Since 1967, Grinspoon has grown to become one of the world's most authoritative experts on cannabis. He has testified before the US Congress and in a large number of court cases, and has appeared in dozens of documentaries. In 1990, he received the prestigious Alfred R. Lindesmith Award from the Drug Policy Foundation for his scientific contributions.

 

Twee tulpen, Jacob Marrel, 1637Twee tulpen, Jacob Marrel, 1637
A source of inspiration

The second website launched by Grinspoon, Marijuana-uses.com, is aimed at non-medicinal use: cannabis as a source of inspiration, to stimulate creativity and ideas and to deepen the user's appreciation for music, art and nature.

In the introduction to the site, Grinspoon writes:

"Every age has its peculiar folly, and if Charles Mackay, the author of the mid-19th century classic, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, were alive today he would surely see 'cannabinophobia' as a popular delusion along with the 'tulipmania' and 'witch hunts' of earlier ages. I believe that we are now at the cusp of this particular popular delusion which to date has been responsible for the arrest of about 20 million US citizens. I also believe that future historians will look at this epic and recognize it as another instance of the 'madness of crowds'. Millions of marijuana users have already arrived at this understanding."