JFK smoked medical pot while in office
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President John F Kennedy used marijuana to deal with severe back pain and control his affliction with Addison’s disease, according to a few written accounts, including “John F. Kennedy: A Biography”, which described this White House scene:

“On the evening of July 16, 1962, according to [Washington Post executive] Jim Truitt, Kennedy and Mary Meyer smoked marijuana together. … The president smoked three of the six joints Mary brought to him. At first he felt no effects. Then he closed his eyes and refused a fourth joint. ‘Suppose the Russians did something now,’ he said.”

President Kennedy long suffered with Addison’s disease (also Addison disease, chronic adrenal insufficiency, hypocortisolism, and hypoadrenalism) which is a rare, chronic endocrine system disorder in which the adrenal glands do not produce sufficient steroid hormones (glucocorticoids and often mineralocorticoids). It is characterized by a number of relatively nonspecific symptoms, such as abdominal pain and weakness, but under certain circumstances, these may progress to Addisonian crisis, a severe illness which may include very low blood pressure and coma.

The condition arises from problems with the adrenal gland, primary adrenal insufficiency, and can be caused by damage by the body’s own immune system, certain infections, or various rarer causes. Addison’s disease is also known as chronic primary adrenocortical insufficiency, to distinguish it from acute primary adrenocortical insufficiency, most often caused by Waterhouse–Friderichsen syndrome. Addison’s disease should also be distinguished from secondary and tertiary adrenal insufficiency, which are caused by deficiency of ACTH (produced by the pituitary gland) and CRH (produced by the hypothalamus), respectively. Despite this distinction, Addisonian crises can happen in all forms of adrenal insufficiency.

Addison’s disease and other forms of hypoadrenalism are generally diagnosed via blood tests and medical imaging. Treatment involves replacing the absent hormones (oral hydrocortisone and fludrocortisone). Lifelong, continuous steroid replacement therapy is required, with regular follow-up treatment and monitoring for other health problems.

Dan Drevin
Dan Drevin
Patient advocate and I also run a financial services advisory firm in Metro Detroit.


  1. Avatar Jared Caren says:

    JFK was the best president we ever had. Progressive thoughts like smoking marijuana will get you shot.

  2. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Joe Kennedy Sr never cared for the hooch and rumored that he smoke the devils lettuce too.

  3. Avatar Kiefair.com says:

    He had to! He was on so many pain killers for his back and other disorders that I’d imagine it was the only pain relief that could also help him look enthusiastic through pain and have a loquacious tongue when publicly speaking. I see him as a Sativa day smoker who probably turned to the pharmaceutical cupboard at night when it was safe.

  4. Avatar colleen says:

    Imagine 5th graders loving their President so much that when his death was announced, they all started crying and consoling one another. I remember the moment like it was yesterday. In general, MOST of the Country was devastated for a long time. JFK…we will always love you.

  5. Avatar tactrix says:

    He didn’t smoke medical cannabis, he smoked cannabis. I’m getting really sick of people saying it like there’s a difference, strains differ, effects differ. The plant remains the same.

  6. Avatar alastair mcgowan says:

    Exactly, Tactrix. Cannabis is a rich diverse specie(s). In the UK the media talk about ‘skunk’ being a new different dangerous drug that is not cannabis at all. When in fact they a talking about high THC low CBD strains that have always been around. The idea that we can distinguish medical recreation spiritual personal growth hedonism enlightenment consciousness development social development, or that such categories even exist is testament to the fact that those who do not understand herbs and their mind-body effects are deluded by a culture of controlling scientific materialism that won’t consider anything that is not categorised and thus owned and authorised

  7. Avatar Sandi White says:

    I remember Laugh In showed a skit about Nancy Reagan and Frank Sinatra smoking pot and romping around in the room breaking the plaster. President Reagan said, ” There goes Nancy and Frank smoking pot and romping around up there.”

  8. Avatar Angry Individual says:

    I love idiots who state that it was JFK’s “progressiveness” that got him shot. No you idiot. JFK was shot because he gave the order to wage war against Vietnam who did not want to trade marijuana with the US. It is also illegal in the US, at the time, for anyone to sell marijuana unless it was to help the American Government to study its properties. JFK is a person, not the US government. JFK also suffered from many ailments that made him psychotic and abusive. While it is tragic for JFK to be addicted to many types of drugs, it was his behavior that got him shot as well as perhaps a means to euthanize a high powered man who suffered great pain. Know your own country’s history, please. You make other US citizens look like morons, you idiot.

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