Last updated on: 9/15/2014 | Author:

Orrin Devinsky, MD Biography

Director of the New York University Comprehensive Epilepsy Center and the Saint Barnabas Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery
Con to the question "Should Marijuana Be a Medical Option?"

“[P]atients and parents are finding official and backdoor ways to give marijuana to their children.

But scientific studies have yet to bear out the hopes of these desperate families. The truth is we lack evidence not only for the efficacy of marijuana, but also for its safety. This concern is especially relevant in children, for whom there is good evidence that marijuana use can increase the risk of serious psychiatric disorders and long-term cognitive problems.

Where is the data showing that marijuana is effective for epilepsy? Although parents may report improvements in their children, it is important to remember that the placebo response is powerful, and the placebo response is greater in pediatric than adult studies.

Before more children are exposed to potential risks, before more desperate families uproot themselves and spend their life savings on unproven miracle marijuana cures, we need objective data from randomized placebo-controlled trials.”

Cowritten with Daniel Friedman, “We Need Proof on Marijuana,” New York Times, Feb. 12, 2014

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Director, New York University Comprehensive Epilepsy Center
  • Director, Saint Barnabas Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery
  • Professor, Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, NYU Langone School of Medicine
  • Board member, American Epilepsy Society
  • Co-editor, Reviews in Neurological Diseases, Epilepsy, Behavior, and
  • Clinical Fellowships, National Institute of Health, 1986-1988
  • Residency Training, Neurology, Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York Presbyterian, 1983-1986
  • Internship, Beth Israel Hospital, 1982-1983
  • Board certified, Abnormal Psychiatry and Neurology, 1987
  • MD, Harvard Medical School, 1982
  • MS, Yale University, 1977
  • BS, Yale University, 1977
  • Has appeared on television programs such as NBC Nightly News, Today Show, and Good Morning America, and Mystery Diagnosis, as well as the radio program Radiolab
Quoted in:
  1. Should Marijuana Ever Be Used to Treat Children and Adolescents?