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

If cannabis becomes a problem: How to manage withdrawal

There is disagreement over whether or not there is such a thing as a cannabis withdrawal syndrome, but it’s definitely real, and with increased availability of legal marijuana and other products, even those who use it medicinally need to be aware of the symptoms, and what to do if they think they have it.

A tale of two epidemics: When COVID-19 and opioid addiction collide

In our inner cities, the COVID-19 pandemic comes on top of another crisis that has plagued our country for years: the opioid epidemic. The combined effects of these two events are immense, and highlight already-existing problems with our society and our health care system.

Health coaching is effective. Should you try it?

The growing field of health and wellness coaching uses motivational techniques and positive psychology to offer people individualized support as they work to achieve their health goals.

Older adults and medical marijuana: Reduced stigma and increased use

Cannabis use among older adults has been steadily increasing, due to lessening stigma and increased interest in using medical marijuana. But there are specific concerns for older people, so anyone considering this option should have a conversation with their doctor weighing the benefits and risks.

Dopamine fasting: Misunderstanding science spawns a maladaptive fad

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in the body’s system for reward and pleasure. A recent trend has people avoiding stimulating activities in the belief that doing so allows the body to reset from being overstimulated, but the original idea has been misunderstood and wrongly applied.

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.