Even if you’ve never watched The Dr. Oz Show, you’ve heard of the doc himself. Mehmet Oz has made a name for himself on the Oprah Winfrey show in 2004. Then in 2009, Winfrey’s production company launched the Dr. Oz Show, which tackled medical and personal health issues and topics every weekday. Well now, the Oz is addressing one of the hottest health issues in America: medical marijuana. Recently, Dr. Oz made headlines when he came out for medical marijuana, saying it was “hugely beneficial.”
But Dr. Oz singled out one benefit in particular. He says that cannabis use can help people escape from their dangerous and potentially deadly addiction to prescription painkillers. And he’s right about that. But that’s not the problem. The problem is that Dr. Oz has destroyed his credibility with the scientific and medical communities. And that means he’s lost his trustworthiness for many viewers of his popular show. That’s why Dr. Oz’s support for medical cannabis isn’t a good thing.
Dumped By Oprah
Dr. Mehmet Oz began his medical career as a heart surgeon and professor at the prestigious Columbia University. But he’s also a promoter of alternative science and a believer in pseudoscience. Those beliefs drew all kinds of criticism and scorn from physicians, government officials and major publications like Popular Science and The New Yorker. Criticism grew as Oz became more like a salesperson hawking “miracle cures” than a qualified doctor and author.
It didn’t take long for Dr. Oz’s ratings to slip. Between 2011 and 2012, Oz lost about 2 million viewers. No wonder Oprah decided to dump his show from her network. While no official explanation was ever given by Oprah for dumping Oz, it’s relatively safe to say the reason was his shrinking reputation.
Disgraced By Doctors
Things only kept getting worse for Oz, who found it hard to shake his image as a peddler of junk science and quack medicine. The number of doctors expressing public concern kept growing at an exponential rate. Then, a 2014 investigation by the British Medical Journal ended up finding that 46 percent of Dr. Oz’s medical claims were misleading or outright wrong. After that, a group of about a dozen physicians wrote an open letter to Columbia University insisting that Oz be removed from their faculty. Columbia ultimately refused to take any action, saying it was “committed to the principle of academic freedom.”
Medical Cannabis Doesn’t Need Dr. Oz’s Endorsement
Despite all of the above, Dr. Oz still has an enormous nationwide following. His brands, which include books, videos, and health products, are also successful. But truthfully, Dr. Oz is a little late to the table when it comes to supporting medical cannabis. In fact, Dr. Oz only recently changed his view on medical marijuana treatments from negative to positive. There are plenty of way more credible and reputable doctors out there who support medical marijuana and the science behind it.
Medical cannabis already faces an uphill battle overturning decades of prejudice, hysteria, and myths. The last thing the medical marijuana community needs is a doctor associated with dishonesty and junk science voicing his support. That’s exactly what critics expect, and they could use it to keep up the smear campaign against legalization.