Last updated on: 10/23/2009 | Author:

John A. Benson, Jr., MD Biography

Professor of Internal Medicine in the Section of Gastroenterology-Hepatology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center
Pro to the question "Should Marijuana Be a Medical Option?"

“[B]ecause there are better drugs for those symptoms, I have not changed my position since writing the 1999 IOM Report with Drs. Watson and Joy. I have done no research on marijuana since, so I don’t consider myself a contemporary expert on the subject, and no longer grant interviews. Given careful legislated controls and supervision such as in the State of Oregon, I remain weakly ‘pro’ marijuana as a medical option.”

Email to, Oct. 23, 2009

[Editors Note: Dr. Benson had previously been listed as Not Clearly Pro or Con based upon the following quote from the article “From Marijuana to Medicine,” published in Issues in Science and Technology, Spring 1999.]

“The IOM report, Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base, released in March 1999, found that marijuana’s active components are potentially effective in treating pain, nausea and vomiting, AIDS-related loss of appetite, and other symptoms and should be tested rigorously in clinical trials. The therapeutic effects of smoked marijuana are typically modest, and in most cases there are more effective medicines. But a subpopulation of patients do not respond well to other medications and have no effective alternative to smoking marijuana.”

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Professor and Dean Emeritus, School of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University
  • Professor of Internal Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology-Hepatology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 2003-present
  • Co-Principal Investigator, Institute of Medicine (IOM) report “Marijuana and Medicine; Assessing the Science Base”
  • Dean and Professor of Medicine, Emeritus, Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine, 1991-1993
  • Member, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Center for Ethics
  • President Emeritus, American Board of Internal Medicine
  • Member, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine
  • Former President, American Gastroenterological Association
  • MD, Harvard Medical School
  • Attended Mayo Clinic
  • None found