Last updated on: 10/1/2008 | Author:

Joycelyn Elders, MD Biography

Professor of Public Health at the University of Arkansas School of Medicine
Former US Surgeon General
Pro to the question "Should Marijuana Be a Medical Option?"

“The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS — or by the harsh drugs sometimes used to treat them. And it can do so with remarkable safety. Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day.”

“Myths About Medical Marijuana,” Providence Journal, Mar. 26, 2004

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
     Key Experts
Physicians [Physicians are the "key experts" in the medical marijuana debate because the issue is thought by many to be ultimately based on the medical value and risks of marijuana, and Physicians, with their training and clinical work, should (at least in theory) have the best knowledge of marijuana's medical value and risks.] [Note: Key Experts definition varies by sites that have this designation.]
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Distinguished Professor in the College of Public Health and Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics in the College of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 1994-present
  • Surgeon General of the US Public Health Service, July 1993- Jan. 1995
  • President, Association of State and Territorial Health Officers, 1992
  • Director, Arkansas Department of Health, 1987
  • Recipient, Woman of the Year Award, Arkansas Democrat
  • Recipient, Career development award, National Institutes of Health
  • Recipient, Distinguished Service Award, National Governor’s Association
  • Recipient, Dr. Nathan Davis Award, American Medical Association
  • MS, Biochemistry, University of Arkansas Medical Center, 1967
  • MD, University of Arkansas Medical Center, 1960
  • BA, Philander Smith College, Arkansas, 1952
  • Born Minnie Lee Jones
Quoted in:
  1. Is Medical Marijuana More Dangerous Than Legal Drugs?
  2. Should Marijuana Be a Medical Option?
  3. Is Marijuana a "Gateway" or "Stepping Stone" Drug?
  4. Has Legalizing Medical Marijuana Led to Increased Drug Abuse among Children and Adolescents?
  5. Can Marijuana Use Cause Death?