Last updated on: 9/15/2014 | Author: ProCon.org

Orrin Devinsky, MD Biography

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

“[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

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:
  • 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 Epilepsy.com
  • 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
Education:
  • MD, Harvard Medical School, 1982
  • MS, Yale University, 1977
  • BS, Yale University, 1977
Other:
  • 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?