John F. Kennedy - who was born 100 years ago today - was the first president to have served in the navy, the first to be broadcast on live television and perhaps the first to smoke marijuana in the White House.
Kennedy allegedly tried marijuana in office once for medicinal reasons. During his presidency, Kennedy suffered from a variety of medical conditions, including colitis, prostatitis, Addison's disease and osteoporosis. The pain became so severe that he often struggled to put shoes and socks on. So he took as many as 12 different medications at once to function.
Finding a better remedy might be why Kennedy sampled some of the joints that Mary Meyer - one of many mistresses - brought to the White House one summer, according to Michael O'Brien's book 'John F. Kennedy: A Biography' (2005).
"On the evening of July 16, 1962, according to [journalist] Jim Truitt, Kennedy and Mary smoked marijuana together," O'Brien wrote. "The White House was hosting a conference on narcotics in two months, and Kennedy joked about it to Mary. (Truitt claimed he himself provided Mary with the pot.)"
Kennedy allegedly smoked three of the six joints provided before they hit him.
"At first he felt no effects," O'Brien added. "Then he closed his eyes and refused a fourth joint. 'Suppose the Russians did something now,'" he said while declining any more tokes. And that wasn't just paranoia talking. Three months later, the U.S. would be on the brink of nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis. So he had good reason to worry about the Ruskies.
Unfortunately for Kennedy, the non-psychoactive cannabis extract CBD wasn't available during his presidency. With CBD, he could have treated his pain while keeping a clear head to respond to any threats from the USSR.