Peter Grinspoon, MD

Peter Grinspoon, M.D. is the author of the memoir Free Refills: A Doctor Confronts His Addiction. He currently practices as a primary care physician at an inner-city clinic in Boston and is on staff at Massachusetts General Hospital. He teaches medicine at Harvard Medical School. He spent two years as an Associate Director for the Physician Health Service, part of the Massachusetts Medical Society, working with physicians who suffer from substance use disorders.

Dr. Grinspoon graduated with honors in philosophy from Swarthmore College. Before medical school, he spent five years as a Campaign Director at Greenpeace, working on the nuclear free seas campaign. He attended medical school at Boston University School of Medicine. His internship and residency were in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Today he is proudly 10 years clean. He lives in Newton, MA with his wife Liz Grinspoon, and his blended family."


Posts by Peter Grinspoon, MD

Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don’t

Peter Grinspoon, MD

Contributing Editor

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active ingredient in cannabis that is derived directly from the hemp plant, but it does not cause a high and is not addictive. CBD is drawing attention because it has been shown to be effective in helping people treat conditions like pain, insomnia, and anxiety.

Physician burnout can affect your health

Peter Grinspoon, MD

Contributing Editor

The problem of physician burnout is growing and more than half of US doctors are experiencing (experience?) some symptom of burnout. Aside from the personal toll on their own lives, burned-out doctors may be compromising patient care in a variety of ways.

Access to medical marijuana reduces opioid prescriptions

Peter Grinspoon, MD

Contributing Editor

Debate about using medical marijuana to mitigate opioid misuse The idea of using marijuana to mitigate the opiate crisis may seem counterintuitive to many people in the medical community. Some healthcare providers ask questions like, “Aren’t we just replacing one drug with another?” and “Doesn’t marijuana present its own set of dangers, such as addiction, […]

Supporting physicians’ buprenorphine waiver training, starting in the ER

Peter Grinspoon, MD

Contributing Editor

With the opioid epidemic worsening and with no end in sight, as it continues to shorten the life expectancy of our citizens, we must do everything we can to lower the barriers that physicians face to treating addiction. The lowest-hanging fruit is the emergency department. For every fatal overdose, there are roughly 30 non-fatal overdoses, […]

5 myths about using Suboxone to treat opiate addiction

Peter Grinspoon, MD

Contributing Editor

What is Suboxone and how does it work? Suboxone, a combination medication containing buprenorphine and naloxone, is one of the main medications used for medication-assisted therapy (MAT) for opiate addiction. Use of MATs has been shown to lower the risk of fatal overdoses by approximately 50%. Suboxone works by tightly binding to the same receptors […]

How to welcome back a colleague who is in recovery

Peter Grinspoon, MD

Contributing Editor

If a colleague has been absent from work for treatment of a substance use disorder, that person’s return to work may be awkward or uncomfortable, and coworkers may feel similarly. Empathy, understanding, and a willingness to listen will help returning workers feel welcomed back.

False alarm in Hawaii: Preparing for the unthinkable

Peter Grinspoon, MD

Contributing Editor

While the recent emergency alert in Hawaii was a false alarm, the potential threat of a nuclear strike does serve as a reminder that it’s prudent to make advance preparations for this or some other unexpected event.

Medical marijuana

Peter Grinspoon, MD

Contributing Editor

Medical marijuana is controversial, in part because many people aren’t aware of how and why it is used. Most commonly it is used to ease pain, and doctors need to be prepared for the questions their patients will have about it.

Working through workplace stigma: Coming back after an addiction

Peter Grinspoon, MD

Contributing Editor

For many people, the most significant challenge when returning to the workplace after treatment for a substance use disorder is overcoming the doubts that coworkers may have about working with an addict. But doubt may weigh just as heavily on the person returning to work.

Navigating the holidays in recovery

Peter Grinspoon, MD

Contributing Editor

While the holiday season is a time of festivities and reconnecting with family, for people in recovery from substance use disorders, these specific situations and events can be especially stressful. For them it’s crucial to plan ahead and to make sure recovery remains the priority at all times.