Grass Roots America Magazine - September/October 2019

Page 24

Bonni A N I N T E RV I E W W I T H



Bonni Goldstein is an M.D. and medical director of Canna-Centers Wellness & Education as well as Medical Advisor to She is the author of “Cannabis Revealed: How the world’s most misunderstood plant is healing everything from chronic pain to epilepsy.” Dr. Goldstein studied medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, now Rutgers. It was during her clinical rotation in 1988 that she discovered her calling in pediatric medicine.

When she was in medical school in the late 1980s, she was taught that cannabis is a drug of abuse. But, she’s a self-described science nerd, and her intense curiosity led her on a path to becoming a prominent pediatric cannabis specialist. Goldstein didn’t start off bucking the system. She did her residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Then she stayed on the next year to help them run the residency program. She started working as a critical care transport physician. In this role, she would travel to area hospitals where seriously ill kids came in with dire medical conditions, such as cardiac arrest or breathing problems related to an undiagnosed heart con-


dition. Her team’s job was to go to the area hospital, stabilize the child, and bring them back to Children’s where there were specialists who could care for them.

“Sick children make doctors nervous,” Goldstein says, especially when it’s a hospital without a pediatrician. “And there were a few times where I walked in, and we had to literally save the child's life and make sure they were stable before we would even put them in the ambulance.” Later, Goldstein transitioned from that job into pediatric emergency medicine, which she did for about 13 years. “I got a little burned out after I had my own son and was trying to be a mommy and a doctor,” Goldstein says. “I really enjoy being a doctor, so the way I did it was I worked graveyard shift for the first five or six years of my son's life, and then was a mom during the day.” Finally in 2006, she took a leave of absence to teach science, catch up on her rest, and to reassess what she was doing. A friend, who was struggling with an illness asked an innocent question that would send Goldstein on a completely different path.