Marihuana, the Forbidden Medicine

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Lester Grinspoon and James B. Bakalar

View Inside Format: Paper
Price: $25.00
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In this important and timely book, two eminent researchers describe the medical benefits of marihuana, explain why its use has been forbidden, and argue for its full legalization to make it available to all patients who need it. Highly praised when it was first published in 1993, the book has been expanded to include new examples of the ways that marihuana alleviates symptoms of cancer chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis, glaucoma, AIDS, and depression, as well as symptoms of such less common disorders as Crohn’s disease, diabetic gastroparesis, and posttraumatic stress disorder.
Praise for the first edition:
“Grinspoon and Bakalar have provided a valuable compendium of marihuana’s beneficial properties. . . . This book is valuable for its breadth of first-person accounts of beneficial effects of marihuana smoking in physically and emotionally distressed individuals.”—Rick J. Strassman, m.d., Journal of the American Medical Association
“Cogent and convincing arguments for the legalization of marihuana and its pharmacologically active components. . . . This book provides an excellent overview of the subject from a medical perspective.”—Robert M. Swift, m.d., ph.d., New England Journal of Medicine
“A very important book. . . . It is highly recommended reading for anyone interested in the history, biomedical science, and public policy surrounding these most amazing plants.”—David E. Presti and Richard Evans Schultes, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs

Lester Grinspoon, M.D., is associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. James B. Bakalar is associate editor of the Harvard Mental Health Letter and a lecturer in law in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

A selection of the Nurse's Book Society

"The authors of this remarkable book deserve great credit for documenting so persuasively the destruction of human lives that has resulted from the laws prohibiting the use of marihuana for any purpose. No one can read this book without feeling outraged at the inhumanity of which bureaucrats are capable in interpreting a bad law."—Milton Friedman, Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution

"This is a highly readable, well-documented, and thorough account of the many potential uses of marihuana in contemporary medicine, a must-read for all those interested in herbal medicine, natural health, and drug policy. How foolish we have been to deny ourselves the benefits of a plant that has alleviated so much suffering throughout history and is so much less toxic than many of the synthetic drugs doctors prescribe so readily!"—Andrew Weil, m.d., University or Arizona College of Medicine, Author of Health and Healing and Natural Health, Natural Medicine

"The public will be well served by reading this book."—Stephen E. Sallan, m.d., Dana Farber Cancer Institute

"A powerful book about the medical uses of cannabis, in which [Grinspoon] recounts not only his own family's experience (including the eventual death of his son) but that of more than 30 patients, who have found relief in marijuana."—Annabel Ferriman, The Times

"Marijuana: The Forbidden Medicine, . . . describes with impressive thoroughness the potential uses of the drug in relieving pain."—Independent Magazine

"These accounts dramatically illustrate marihuana's potential to alleviate suffering when traditionally prescribed medications have proved ineffective, but they also illustrate the great stress placed on these individuals and their families by using an illegal substance. . . . Recommended."—Library Journal

"Grinspoon and Bakalar attempt to demonstrate that, in prohibiting marijuana, Western society is not only hypocritical, but is depriving itself of a valuable medicament. . . . clear, well written and accessible to the layman."—A.M. Daniels, Times Literary Supplement


"Marihuana is not only useful as medicine, but far less toxic and harmful than alcohol when used for nonmedical purposes. Marihuana, The Forbidden Medicine provides convincing arguments for these views and will be a useful reference for drug abuse counselors, criminal defense attorneys, health workers, and others interested in the effects of this widely used substance."—Eugene Schoenfeld, M.D., Whole Earth Review

"Grinspoon and Bakalar weave anecdotes about the medicinal uses of marihuana together with relevant supporting research findings into an eminently readable account. . . . The sheer range of useful effects recounted in the anecdotes [is] remarkable."—Robert Gray, The Lancet

"Grinspoon and Bakalar have provided a valuable compendium of marijuana's beneficial properties. . . . This book is valuable for its breadth of first-person accounts of beneficial effects of marijuana smoking in physically and emotionally distressed individuals."—Rick J. Strassman, m.d., Journal of the American Medical Association

"In this new book, [Grinspoon & Bakalar] present a scholarly and lucid review of the use of marihuana in the treatment of a variety of medical problems. . . . A very important book. The authors have produced an eminently readable text that can be appreciated by an entire spectrum of readers, from persons first learning about the subject to experts and specialists seeking to bring their knowledge up-to-date. It is highly recommended reading for anyone interested in the history, biomedical science, and public policy surrounding these most amazing plants."—David E. Presti, Ph.D. and Richard Evans Schultes, Ph.D., Journal of Psychoactive Drugs

"An authoritative discussion of the growing evidence that cannabis may have a number of important therapeutic applications. . . . This is a powerful book and deserves the attention of those who are interested in health perspectives of cannabis."—Alex Wodak, Drug and Alcohol Review

"Cogent and convincing. . . . The authors present a compelling argument for unrestricted access to [the] therapeutic agents derived from marijuana. . . . This book provides an excellent overview of the subject from a medical perspective."—Robert M. Swift, m.d., phd, New England Journal of Medicine

"For those who would deny medicinal marijuana to terminal cancer patients and glaucoma victims, Marijuana: The Forbidden Medicine ought to be required reading.—Andrew Oliver II, National Review

"An excellent account of the therapeutic benefits of marijuana use, the barriers that exist to prevent its pharmaceutical development, and it is also a call to reassess why certain drugs are ignored when they seem to present a therapeutic potential."—International Journal of the Addictions

"Should leave readers furious at our government's spectacularly duplicitous lawmaking, and with some luck, further the movement for change."—Will Hermes, City Pages

"Grinspoon and Bakalar marshal the remarkably voluminous evidence on marijuana's medical applications (and its widespread use) and on the policy decisions that keep it from being prescribed openly."—Scientific American

"This is a very informative book that speaks to the positive uses of marihuana in a medical setting. It is recommended for private libraries as well as all other libraries."—AIDS Book Review Journal

ISBN: 9780300070866
Publication Date: August 25, 1997
320 pages, 5.5 x 8.25