WASHINGTON (AFP) - Oscar-winning actress, comedienne and talk-show host Whoopi Goldberg sang the praises of marijuana inhaled through a pocket vaporiser on Thursday as she made her debut as an online pot columnist.
"The vape pen has changed my life. No, I'm not exaggerating. In fact, her name is Sippy." wrote Goldberg, 58, about her pocket vaporiser on The Cannabist, a pot-friendly website run by the Denver Post newspaper in Colorado.
The Rocky Mountain state was the second in the United States, after Washington in the Pacific north-west, to legalise marijuana for recreational use.
But Goldberg opted to focus on how pot, inhaled through Sippy, has helped her cope with massive headaches induced by glaucoma, an eye disorder suffered by more than three million Americans that can potentially lead to blindness.
"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.
"The high is different, too. It feels like a gentle, warm breeze at the beach. It's like someone undoing a vise grip, very slowly. It's not overpowering - and I'm certainly not looking for that high high. I'm looking for relief." But in a country where, at the federal level, marijuana is classified as an illegal drug on a par with heroin, Goldberg said Sippy's compact proportions helps maintain discretion. "I'm respectful when I'm in a city that may not understand what I have, so I don't flaunt her.... She's easy and discreet to use, and for folks like myself who use marijuana medicinally, it's ideal," she said.
The sale, possession and consumption of cannabis for medicinal purposes - though not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration - is legal in 21 states. Maryland on Monday was the latest to join the growing list.
Goldberg, who took the Academy Award in 1991 for best supporting actress in Ghost, co-hosts the ABC syndicated daytime talk show The View, which featured Denver Post weed editor Ricardo Baca as a guest in January.
Three years ago, video emerged of Goldberg at a 1992 recording session, recalling with her characteristic sense of humor how she inhaled some of her own home-grown marijuana before going up on stage to collect her Oscar.