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Peter Grinspoon at Harvard Book Store

May 17, 2023 @ 7:00 pm


May 17, 2023
7:00 pm
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Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States


Harvard Book Store
(617) 661-1515


Seeing through the Smoke:
A Cannabis Specialist Untangles the Truth about Marijuana

in conversation with MARION MCNABB

Seeing Through the Smoke

Harvard Book Store welcomes PETER GRINSPOON—primary care physician and cannabis specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School—for a discussion of his new book Seeing through the Smoke: A Cannabis Specialist Untangles the Truth about Marijuana. He will be joined in conversation by MARION MCNABB—President of the Cannabis Center of Excellence, Inc.

A Return to In-Person Events

Harvard Book Store is excited to be back to in-person programming. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Harvard Book Store events until further notice:

  • Face coverings are required of all staff and attendees when inside the store. Masks must snugly cover nose and mouth.

About Seeing through the Smoke

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.

Praise for Seeing through the Smoke

Seeing Through the Smoke provides refreshing insights into the biases that have challenged cannabis research to date. Grinspoon presents both sides of the divisive issues polarizing society today, allowing the reader to reconsider what is and isn’t true about cannabis. Honest, personal, poignant, comprehensive, and totally current, this book emphatically reminds us that the absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence of effectiveness for this extremely therapeutic botanical.” —Donald I. Abrams, MD, professor emeritus of medicine, University of California San Francisco

“In this lively, witty, and deeply personal book, Grinspoon takes readers on a fascinating tour of everything you ever wanted to know about the benefits of cannabis—especially what it can do to ameliorate suffering and enhance human potential—while always remaining grounded in the scientific evidence. I can’t recommend it highly enough.” —Jay Wexler, professor of law specializing in marijuana law, Boston University

“An unflinching and utterly personal journey through the often-confusing cannabis landscape. Readers will delight in the historical as well as the scientific focus brought to life by Grinspoon, whose roots and professional experience provide a unique and fascinating perspective. Seeing through the Smoke has something for everyone – from the novice to the expert and everyone in between with an interest in cannabis.” —Staci Gruber, MD, Director of Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery (MIND) and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School