Dying to Get High: Marijuana as Medicineby Wendy Chapkis, Richard J. Webb
Pub. Date: 08/03/2008
Publisher: New York University Press
Marijuana as medicine has been a politically charged topic in this country for more than three decades. Despite overwhelming public support and growing scientific evidence of its therapeutic effects-relief of the nausea caused by chemothrapy for cancer and AIDS, control over seizures or spasticity caused by epilepsy or MS, and relief from chronic and acute pain, to name a few-the drug remains illegal under federal law.
In Dying to Get High, noted sociologist Wendy Chapkis and Richard J. Webb investigate one community of seriously-ill patients fighting the federal government for the right to use physician-recommended marijuana. Through compelling interviews with patients, public officials, law enforcement officers, and physicians, Chapkis and Webb ask what distinguishes a legitimate patient from an illegitimate "pothead," "good" drugs from "bad," medicinal effects from "just getting high." Dying to Get High combines abstract argument and the messier terrain of how people actually live, suffer, and die, and offers a moving account of what is at stake in ongoing debates over the legalization of medical marijuana.
About the Author:
Wendy Chapkis is Professor of Sociology and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Southern Maine in Portland, ME
About the Author:
Richard J. Webb is Lecturer in Communication Studies at San Jose State University
- New York University Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)
Table of Contents
Shamans and Snake Oil Salesmen 13
Set and Setting 39
The Greening of Modern Medicine 64
"Potheads Scamming the System" 86
Cannabis and Consciousness 115
Mother's Milk and the Muffin Man 139
Love Grows Here 157
Lessons in Endurance and Impermanence 183
About the Authors 257
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Combines investigative reporting, political drama, and great interviewing.
This book transformed the way I looked at the issue of the medical use of marijuana. The interviews with patients, physicians, and law enforcement are all riveting. The book offers a concise history of the use - and the criminalization of the use - of cannabis in the US and discusses the contemporary political debates surrounding state-by-state legalization. But what distinguishes this book from anything else out there is the absolutely captivating account of the creation of one of the original patient-caregiver cooperatives in California: the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana. One of my favorite chapters (and the one that gives the book its title) discusses what patients have to say about the therapeutic value of the consciousness altering effects (the "high") associated with cannabis, especially for those who are in the process of dying (80% of the members of this organization are living with life threatening illnesses). The book offers a really detailed picture of the organization and describes its battle against the U.S. federal government -- including an account of a terrifying early morning DEA raid in 2002 and the organization's decision to fight back. The group won in federal court and for a while they had the only legal medical marijuana garden in the country. The book also has a couple of dozen really powerful pictures (portraits of patients, photos of the collective's garden, photos of demonstrations). It is scholarly without being in the least bit dry. I recommend it highly.