cover image Marijuana RX: The Patient's Fight for Medicinal Pot

Marijuana RX: The Patient's Fight for Medicinal Pot

R. C. Randall, Robert C. Randall. Thunder's Mouth Press, $14.95 (352pp) ISBN 978-1-56025-166-8

Randall and his companion, O'Leary, cofounders of Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics (ACT) and coauthors of Marijuana, Medicine and the Law (1988), began their battle to make medicinal marijuana available in the 1970s after Randall, who has glaucoma, discovered that he actually saw better after smoking pot than he normally did. Told by his physician that he would be blind by the age of 30, he and O'Leary began growing the plant at home; in 1975, their apartment was raided and both were arrested. Narrated in Randall's voice, this memoir chronicles his personal battle to obtain the drug legally, which was granted in 1976 when he became the first U.S. citizen to have marijuana prescribed for a medical condition. Radicalized by this experience, Randall and O'Leary have devoted their lives to assisting others diagnosed with serious illnesses such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and AIDS. Research studies, described here, document the usefulness of marijuana in easing many symptoms, including the severe nausea resulting from chemotherapy. Although the authors don't set out the numerous court battles and political skirmishes with the greatest clarity, they provide examples of human tragedies that have occurred because people were unable to obtain marijuana. They blame uncaring government bureaucracy and the unthinking embrace of a ""just say no"" philosophy by both Republican and Democratic politicians for the fact that marijuana is not easily available for medicinal use. The authors scored a minor coup in getting Lyn Nofziger, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, to write a foreword. Author tour. (Feb.)