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Interview with Jo Frost; Interview with Jane Fonda; Interview with Russell Simmons

Aired March 8, 2014 - 16:30   ET



Three big names stopping by today to talk about parenting, sex, drugs and hip-hop. We'll explain. "Supernanny" Jo Frost, Jane Fonda, Russell Simmons, all of them just minutes away.

But, first, I want to talk about medical marijuana. As you may know, this is something that I've been reporting on for quite some time. And yet there's a question that kept coming up, would this drug be more effective if it were produced and packaged more like a traditional medicine. Would people be more comfortable if they can get their cannabis at a pharmacy?

Well, there is one company in the world that has a big head start on this. They're based just outside of London, and they gave me an exclusive look behind the scenes.


GUPTA: We're driving deep into the English countryside, just a couple hours outside of London. We're on our way to visit GW Pharmaceuticals. They're a company that makes medicines from the actual marijuana plant. Now, although this is done with the expressed permission of the U.K. government, we had to sign confidentiality agreements and cannot disclose exactly where we're going to be located.

You see, marijuana is illegal in just about every part of this country except for the secret labs that we're about to enter.

Wow! This is pretty spectacular. Are you used to the smell?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not particularly partial to the smell.

GUPTA (voice-over): If you had smell-evision on your TV, you'd be overpowered by now. It's a lot of pot. This greenhouse is the size of a football field, and they have several more just like it throughout the United Kingdom. They're trying to do something no other pharmaceutical company in the world is attempting, turning the actual marijuana plant into a prescription drug.

(on camera): When you look out at all of this, what comes to your mind? GEOFFREY GUY, GW PHARMACEUTICALS: I look at it and I think we can make generations of medicines over the next 25 or 30 years.

GUPTA (voice-over): Medicines for illnesses like Alzheimer's, diabetes, PTSD and epilepsy, and auto immune diseases like multiple sclerosis and Crohn's.

The key to making these medications is inside these simple looking leaves and understanding the hundreds of chemicals. Some more therapeutic than others, those are the cannabinoids.

GUY: In our (INAUDIBLE) research, we're able to say what each individual cannabinoid does. Each one represents new medicine for us. We can then breed into the plant the materials that will provide us with a range of beneficial effects.

GUPTA: Designer cannabis plants are then reduced to a whole plant extract to be packaged as an approved prescription spray or potentially as a pill or an oil. In order to increase the changes of getting that approval, every step from growing to harvesting to manufacturing is all carefully controlled, regulated and rigorously tested to strict standards, so that every plant, every extract, every dose is identical, safe and effective.


GUPTA: GW's big product is Sative. That's a spray for multiple sclerosis patients. It can prevent or relieve muscle spasms, especially when nothing else has worked. It's approved for that in 25 countries but not in the United States.

Now, one of the problems in the world of medical marijuana is that there's not a lot of research on specific uses in this country. But there are several where it's promising.

I'll tell you one that I'm excited about, a potential treatment for epilepsy. For that, what's typically used is an oil that's very low in THC. That's the chemical that makes you high. But it's loaded with another chemical, CBD.

In the United States, the most common use for medical marijuana is for pain. Another use is to help with nausea or lack of appetite. For example, cancer patients going through chemotherapy.

On a personal note, I'd like to say that I'm doubling down on this issue. I'm not backing down. I'm more convinced than ever that needy, legitimate patients out there could benefit from this. And it is unjust to deny them this therapy.

Yes, we need to do more research to see what works and what doesn't and which patients might benefit. But let's get that research done.

You can learn a lot more about this in my documentary, including the science of what marijuana does to the body and to the brain. It's called "Weed 2: Cannabis Madness." It premieres Tuesday, March 11th, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN. And next up, they're called the terrible twos for a reason. You should -- you probably know her best as the supernanny. Well, she's going to stop by to tell us how to keep toddler tantrums in check.


GUPTA: It's a moment every parent dreads. Your toddler is melting down at the grocery store or anywhere frankly in public.

I know this feeling. You feel helpless. I've seen it firsthand. But my next guest says you don't have to feel that way. That's why she's on the show today.

You might recognize global parenting expert Jo Frost from the ABC show "Supernanny." She's also got a new book out. It's called "Jo Frost's Toddler Rules: Your Five Step Guide to Shaping Proper Behavior."

Welcome to the program.

JO FROST, SUPERNANNY: Thank you for having me. Thank you.

GUPTA: I have been dying to meet you.

FROST: Likewise.

GUPTA: And I watch you and feel like I can benefit from what you have to say.

FROST: Thank you.

GUPTA: So, let me I want to get to some of those steps. Your story, how did you get involved with this sort of -- when did you become the supernanny? How did that come about?

FROST: Well, I started off as a professional nanny many years ago, and had the opportunity through consulting and helping families and working with so many families with troubleshooting areas to then take it to the next level and being able to help families on television, which then obviously we know from "Supernanny", extreme parental guidance, family (INAUDIBLE), and having the opportunity to do that. Yes.

GUPTA: We see what we see on TV. But what is your process? What do you think about when you're entering a situation?

FROST: SOS, which is in the book. It's a method of being able to look at the whole picture --

GUPTA: Right.

FROST: -- and stepping in with resolution.

GUPTA: So, SOS stands for what?

FROST: Being able to step back, you know, and to observe and to be able to step in with resolution, with a game plan, making a decision so that I can move forward and help the family. So I wanted to incorporate that into the book so families can recognize that even though emotionally they feel the way they do when they get caught up in the rock of those tantrums, just being able to detach yourself and physically step back until you get better -- being able to mentally do it allows you to see the bigger picture.

GUPTA: You have what you call, obviously, the toddler rules with the five-step guide, the five tools you call them. What are they?

FROST: Well, I think what was so important is being able to recognize that when you become more of a disciplined parent, you're able to set down rituals and good behavioral habits that help our children be able to sleep really well. So, no family is going through sleep deprivation and feeling sleep deprived.

Looking at food and nutrition and being able to introduce our children to different varieties of foods and good table manners. Socializing and feeling very confident about how our children interact with our own peer groups and other people in the world, and also making sure that we can be interactive when it comes to child development, as well as addressing temper tantrums and identifying through my many years of what type of temper tantrum your child is having, so you know how to respond rather than having to react when you're in public or at home.

GUPTA: Some of the temper tantrums may be directly the result of one of those five rules falling apart, they haven't gotten enough sleep for example.

FROST: Absolutely. There's no structure in place or a child desires a particular object, materialistic things, and recognizes if it behaves a certain way the mother or the father will give in. And so, that's what I call a mock temper tantrum because it shapes the behavior and also continue.

GUPTA: You know, you help a lot of people --

FROST: Thank you.

GUPTA: -- around the world, because like I said, this is a really important issue. That's why we wanted to have you on the show.

FROST: Thank you.

GUPTA: You can have a much more joyful life if you understand these rules and you're able to raise happier kids. Thank you very much.

FROST: Thank you. I appreciate it. Thank you.

GUPTA: And once you've tamed your toddler, the question becomes, how about your teen? And the one and only Jane Fonda is going to follow up here with some sage advice as well, right after this.


GUPTA: All of you know Jane Fonda. She's the Oscar winning actress, physical fitness pioneer, best-selling author. She's also my good friend. She has another cause near and dear to her heart that she's here to talk about today. We're delighted to have her. She's written a book called "Being a Teen: Everything Teen Girls and Boys Should Know About Relationships, Sex, Love, Health, Identify and More."

Welcome to the show.

JANE FONDA, ACTRESS: Thank you, Sanjay.

GUPTA: It's a real honor to have you on the program.

FONDA: I'm honored to have you here.

GUPTA: You've taken on a lot in this book, which everybody should read, frankly. We have three young girls, as you know. And they're going to be teenagers, and you -- one of the things that jumps out is you have a soft spot in your heart for teenagers.

FONDA: I do. And, you know, babies are easy to love, but adolescents are hard because they got real prickly. You know, I remember a bumper sticker I saw that staid, hire a teenager while they still know everything. You know, you -- they give you the feeling that they don't want to hear from you, that you're just an old fogey and that they know everything but they do need us, they need guidance and boundaries.

GUPTA: It makes it hard to have the soft spot because there is that sort of -- you know, we don't need you, we got it all figured out. You hear about these kids becoming surly as they become teenagers.

FONDA: Right.

GUPTA: What do you -- where does the soft spot come from? What do you tell parents or what do you tell the teens?

FONDA: You know, it's only relatively recently that people, experts like you, have come to realize that adolescents is a unique stage in human development. You know, before, it was childhood and then you became an adult. And now, we realize that there is this period where the brain is still under construction, which is one reason why pot is not so good when you're a young person because it can affect the brain.

The brain is still under construction. Hormones are raging. And you're not quite an adult yet. It's the gateway to adulthood.

And so, it's a stage when kids move from concrete thinking, right now, what's going on right now to abstract thinking, big concepts, the future, values. And so they begin to individuate, and that's painful for parents because they begin to question the values and things parents have taught them, which is a very healthy sign actually, but it's painful for parents.

So, you know, I try to encourage parents to realize they make you feel like you're not wanted, but you need to be there. And be there very much as a listener --


FONDA: -- nonjudgmental. Remain an approachable parent that a kid is going to want to come to with troubles, because they had so many questions and I had so many questions as a teen, and I had nowhere to go. It's one reason I wanted to write this.

GUPTA: You're 76 years old now?


GUPTA: You look fantastic.

FONDA: Thank you. So do you.

GUPTA: Thank you. I appreciate that. You're known for physical fitness. How physically fit are you? What are you doing in terms of physical fitness nowadays?

FONDA: I meditate.

GUPTA: Good for you.

FONDA: I walk a lot, I lift weights. I pull those bands -- I use those bands a lot.

GUPTA: Good for you.

FONDA: You know, the book I wrote before this for teenagers was for older people. It was called "Primetime." One of the main things I learned was, one of the most successful things in successful aging is to stay active.

GUPTA: Right.

FONDA: Physically active.

GUPTA: You also write it's good to be in touch with your emotions.

FONDA: I think when you get older, it's easier, too, to be in the moment. At least it has been for me. I find myself much more readily moved by beautiful things, by joy. People -- I wrote a blog called "Crying." Some people interpret it like I'm scared of dying.

I'm not scared of dying, but I do cry a lot when I'm touched, when I'm moved. And I think it's because I'm in the moment. I think it's a good sign.

GUPTA: You and I did a panel discussion recently. And I -- it was intense, and I know what you mean. I cried, and I don't do that typically. But I think you put me in the moment as well, because it was -- I felt very relaxed around you.

Look, I love you. I love having you on the show and just love you in general.

FONDA: I admire you so much. Thank you for having me. GUPTA: Thank you. I hope we get to talk again soon.

FONDA: I hope so.

GUPTA: And my kids appreciate you, as well. Thank you very much, Jane Fonda.

Still ahead, success through stillness. Russell Simmons, the original hip-hop mogul. He's going to share what I think is the best way that you can spend 10 minutes of your day. We'll explain.



GUPTA (voice-over): Overcoming obstacles is nothing new for Tatyana McFadden. She was born with spina bifida. That's a birth defect that prevents the spinal court from properly closing while the baby is still in the womb. As an unwanted disabled child in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tatyana was immediately sent to an orphanage after her surgery.

TATYANA MCFADDEN, 2014 PARALYMPIAN: I didn't have a wheelchair, so my legs were atrophied behind my back, and I walked around on my hands all the time.

GUPTA: Six years later, a chance visit by an American to the orphanage changed her life.

MCFADDEN: I immediately knew that she was my mom.

GUPTA: Adoption gave Tatyana an instant family. Her mom pushed Tatyana to participate in sports.

MCFADDEN: Getting involved with sports, you know, saved my life. I wrote down my goals and I said I really want to be a Paralympic athlete and be a medalist someday.

GUPTA: At 15 year old, became the youngest member of the USA track and field theme, at the Athens Paralympic Games. McFadden won four more medals in Beijing. And in London, she finally won gold. In 2013, McFadden won the Grand Slam title for marathon wheelchair racing, and then traded her wheelchair for a sit-ski (ph).

Now, McFadden is back in Russia where she's competing in the Sochi Paralympic cross country Nordic skiing event.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.



GUPTA: We talk about meditation a lot on this program. It can do a lot of things. It can lower your blood pressure, your stress levels, increase brain function. I think it makes me more creative. My next guest says it can even lead to success.

Russell Simmons is here. He's the author of "Success Through Stillness". There's the book right there, "Meditation Made Simple."

Thanks for joining us, sir.


GUPTA: You know, even in the commercial break, you're sitting here teaching me things. And I feel like I know a lot about meditation.

But you and I both came to this a little later in life, right? How long ago for you?

SIMMONS: For me, about 15 years, and I found yoga about 20 years ago.

GUPTA: What was going on --

SIMMONS: But I'm old. I'm much older than you.

GUPTA: Yes, you look good, though. You look good.

SIMMONS: Thank you.

GUPTA: What was going on in your life? Was there something that sort of inspired --

SIMMONS: No, I went to yoga for the chicks. There was a lot of hot girls and it was like -- back then there was no men at yoga at all, whatsoever. So me and my buddy Bobby Shriver (ph) and 60 girls, and one of those guys was gay guys (ph).

GUPTA: What does it do for you? I mean, you've written a whole book about it. I know it does a lot, but how do you describe it?

SIMMONS: Well, first, let me say, you have all the research. The left side of the brain, right side of the brain starts separating very early and then they -- you can break down that barrier through meditation by calming your nervous system, then you increase your immune system and your memory gets better. I mean, there's all kinds of research.

Not only does your memory get better, you have these more seconds of being awake during the day. I mean, this idea of being awake has been talked about throughout the ages, the Christ consciousness or Nirvana, or Samadhi, these names that all the prophets have given this state of what some would call God consciousness and others call enlightenment.

These seconds of stillness that come to you, basketball players play ball, and there's a moment where they are in the zone and the rim seems like it's so expansive they can't miss it. You read a book and you're so concentrated on the book, so much concentration that you forget to breathe. Or you're in a car accident, I know people like this --

GUPTA: It slows down time.

SIMMONS: -- it slows.


SIMMONS: The world is actually moving that slow, but the flickering or the fluctuations of the mind make it move faster. So when it's slow, this is bliss.

GUPTA: I know exactly what you mean. It's funny, because people who understand this, they have experienced this, they can understand it, not everybody does. It took me a while, Russell, to get to the point where I felt like I was meditating successfully. I would do it, but I -- what you just described was something that didn't come right away for me.

Let me ask you the obvious question. You're Russell Simmons, you're the hip hop guy.

SIMMONS: I'm Russell Simmons.

GUPTA: You are Russell -- when you talk about meditation, people say that seems like the last thing I'd hear. Now they know you're involved in yoga and meditation, but (AUDIO GAP) are these at odds with your fast-charging guys?

SIMMONS: Those guys two are rappers are more in touch with their spirit than most people. I run a financial service company, three digital companies, a fashion company, we're shipping to Macy's today as we speak. I run five charities.

I run -- I work. I go to work every day and I've got other stuff. But I take time to meditate twice as day because I'm twice as productive in half the time. I know that for a fact, you know?

I know that well-being first. First chakra first, you know that. First chakra first.

After I take care of that and I try to have moving meditation. I try to live in life without, you know, things go right, things go wrong. I can't add up the day whether it was good or bad day. They gave me this, they took this away. It's life.

You know, so as a meditator, you want to be the watcher. The moving meditator is the watcher. And he realizes all that's on the outside is small and everything that's informed and important and inspirational and promotes happiness is inside.

So, on the outside is just fun. You have to make the world fun. The idea of stress and anxiety as it relates to stuff that comes and goes is self-imposed.

GUPTA: I'm glad we're recording this because I want to write this stuff down. I can watch it and remember it that way.

Look, I'm a fan as you know. The book is great. I hope everyone gets a chance to read it. And it's true.


SIMMONS: I'm giving away 100 percent of the money to charity, which I also do with my books. And I also want to change the world and lift the vibration. So, it's a simple book for people afraid of meditation and for those who are kind of thinking about it. It has all the benefits, so you or maybe the research that you might need to back up why you're doing it.

GUPTA: Yes, just in case you need some reminding every now and then.


GUPTA: Yes, it's a pleasure.

SIMMONS: My pleasure. Thank you so much.

GUPTA: Appreciate it.

That's going to wrap things up for SGMD today. But let's keep the conversation going on at Twitter @DrSanjayGupta.

Time now to get you back into the "CNN NEWSROOM" with Don Lemon.