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

Save the trees, prevent the sneeze

If it seems like your seasonal allergies are worse than they used to be, you aren’t imagining it, and you aren’t alone. Climate change has caused a longer pollen season, and plants are producing more pollen that is more potent.

Kratom: Fear-worthy foliage or beneficial botanical?

Kratom has been used for hundreds of years for various conditions, and today many people are using it to treat chronic pain and mitigate opioid withdrawal symptoms. But there is no control or regulation of the product, and it can have serious side effects.

Cannabis is medicine — don’t make it taste good

The increasing availability of cannabis-containing edibles has fueled debate about their safety. As emergency visits rise for treatment related to edibles, some common-sense thinking about how these products are packaged and sold is needed.

Going public with sobriety

Substance use disorders like alcoholism and drug addiction are stigmatized in our society, so why would someone—not just anyone, but a doctor— go public with his struggle?

Cleaner living: Plant-friendly is planet-friendly

Food production has an enormous impact on the global ecosystem and contributes to climate change. Making the choice to replace meat with plant-based foods, even in one or two meals a week, is better for you and for the environment.

Does addiction last a lifetime?

In the study of addiction and recovery, the question of whether a person who has an addiction to any substance must avoid all other potentially addictive substances has yet to be definitively answered. Alongside it, some argue that those in recovery may simply substitute one addiction for another.

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

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

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

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

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, […]