Celebrities & Cannabis: Hollywood’s Biggest Stars Use Medical Marijuana

Numerous Hollywood celebrities, including Melissa Etheridge, Mike Tyson, Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson, Whoopi Goldberg, and Susan Sarandon, are vocal supporters of medical marijuana, attributing its use to various health benefits. Louis Armstrong, one of the earliest advocates, viewed marijuana as a form of medicine, superior to alcohol. Whoopi Goldberg, suffering from glaucoma, found relief through a vape pen, calling it a "magical" alternative for pain management. Mike Tyson, a boxing legend, is investing in a cannabis resort to advance medical marijuana research and help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
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Eight in ten doctors approve of using marijuana for medicinal purposes, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. The survey, which polled doctors from over 70 countries and 55 states and provinces in North America, suggests physicians are bridging the gap with patients (in a recent study, 92% of medical marijuana patients said treatment alleviated symptoms of their serious medical condition). However, Hollywood stars have been ahead of the curve for years– with countless celebrities extolling the healing power of cannabis for nearly a century!

Read on to learn why Tinseltown’s biggest names are some of marijuana’s biggest fans.

Louis Armstrong

One of marijuana’s earliest advocates, jazz great Louis Armstrong tried cannabis for the first time in the 1920’s. Talking with biographer Max Jones, Armstrong explained:

“We always looked at pot as a sort of medicine…”

A lifelong cannabis supporter, Armstrong often expressed frustration with the plant’s illegal status:

“It really puzzles me to see marijuana connected with narcotics, dope, and all of that stuff. It is a thousand times better than whiskey. It is an assistant and a friend.”

Whoopi Goldberg

Seeking relief from glaucoma, talk show host Whoopi Goldberg turned to marijuana. The results were overwhelmingly positive:

“The vape pen has changed my life. No, I’m not exaggerating. In fact, her name is Sippy. Yes, she’s a she. And yes, I named her Sippy because I take tiny, little sips – sassy sips, even – from her. And with each sip comes relief – from pressure, pain, stress, discomfort.”

Summarizing her cannabis experience, Goldberg notes:

“[I]t‘s important for people to know that there are alternatives out there to pain management, and this one is particularly magical.”

Susan Sarandon

Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon has been a vocal proponent of medical marijuana for years. Speaking with High Times, Sarandon argues:

“It’s absurd that more states haven’t legalized it. Economically, it makes such sense for the infrastructure of a state to have that kind of income. It can be an important source of revenue. You also see the reports on kids who have seizures that are prevented by medical marijuana. You see the relief it gives to vets.”

Mike Tyson

Boxing legend Mike Tyson recently broke ground on a 40-acre “cannabis resort” in California, designed to grow high-grade cannabis and advance medical marijuana research. Comprised mainly of veterans, the company running the ranch, Tyson Holistic, plans to help those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD):

“[T]aking care of men and women who have served in the armed forces is a main priority.”

California City Mayor Jennifer Wood has personally thanked Tyson for his commitment to the community, noting the ranch will provide “medical marijuana to people in need”.

Woody Harrelson

Long before The Hunger Games, Academy Award nominated actor Woody Harrelson was fighting for justice:

“You can go to a drugstore in any city in the nation and you’ll find any drug you want, and they’ll be more addictive and worse for you than grass. And there will be a smiling man there sanctioned by the government who’s allowed to give them to you.”

Harrelson currently sits on the advisory board of NORML, working to reform marijuana laws.

Morgan Freeman

Another Academy Award winning actor, Morgan Freeman represents the views of patients across the country when addressing his experience with cannabis:

“Marijuana has many useful uses. I have fibromyalgia pain in this arm, and the only thing that offers any relief is marijuana. They’re talking about kids who have grand mal seizures, and they’ve discovered that marijuana eases that down to where these children can have a life. That right there, to me, says, ‘Legalize it across the board!’”

Melissa Etheridge

Speaking with CNBC, Grammy winner Melissa Etheridge shares her passion for medical cannabis:

“I went through my own health crisis, I went through breast cancer. I went through the chemotherapy and all the collateral damage. And I used medicinal cannabis to ease those… the appetite, depression, sleep… I used it for so many things. And I thought this is such good medicine and I really wanted to bring it to the rest of the world – not just people who are familiar with cannabis culture, but those who are really looking for an alternative to pharmaceutical [medication].”

Etheridge also voiced her support in Forbes, arguing:

“[C]annabis really needs to be taken seriously as a medicine as it was 70 years ago. It was on all of our pharmacy shelves 70 years ago. It’s just a shame that prohibition has kept it from people who could really use it as medicine.”

Willie Nelson

Perhaps marijuana’s most famous spokesperson, Grammy winner Willie Nelson presents a clear and concise case for the plant’s healing properties:

“The biggest killer on the planet is stress and I still think the best medicine is and always has been cannabis.”

Like Harrelson, Nelson also sits on NORML’s advisory board.

Updated: May 2, 2024

Jessica Walters

Jessica Walters serves as CannaMD's Chief Medical Researcher. Prior to her time at CannaMD, Jessica earned her degree from Harvard where she focused on neuropsychology. Her personal research interests include psychosocial interventions for obesity, depression, and generalized anxiety disorders.


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