Side Effects of Medical Marijuana
Dying to Get High: Marijuana as Medicine (New York University Press, 2008) is an important and accessible book -- not heavy on academic jargon, but rather lively and engaging, like a true detective novel -- with a broad appeal to those interested in the medical potential of cannabis, an end to the drug war, and grass roots activism. I asked the co-authors how working on the book changed them.
WENDY CHAPKIS: “I certainly was one of those people who thought that 'medical marijuana' was probably mostly a way for Americans to get around ridiculously punitive drug laws. It seemed like a reasonable strategy to me. But the very first time I walked into a WAMM [WoMen’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana] membership meeting, looked around the room and saw people who were ghostly white and frail, people in wheelchairs, people huddled in small groups talking about a WAMM member who needed round the clock care, I realized that medical marijuana was no 'ruse.' These were very ill people. And, as I started doing interviews, the stories of the medicinal properties of pot blew me away.
“I wasn’t the only one surprised to discover that marijuana did in fact have therapeutic effects. Many patients were equally astonished. Like me, they had been recreational users who appreciated the pleasurable effects of marijuana and were suspicious of the claim that the herb was medicine. Then they started chemotherapy, for example, found themselves fighting off non-stop nausea, took a hit and the nausea disappeared. Or they had intolerable nerve pain from multiple sclerosis, AIDS, or post-polio syndrome, used some cannabis tincture and the pain quieted down. It was funny how surprised we all were that it really worked. (my emphasis /StingRay)