Science & Technology \ Health Sciences

Chapkis, Wendy.  Dying to get high: marijuana as medicine, by Wendy Chapkis and Richard J. Webb.  New York University, 2008.  257p index afp; ISBN 9780814716663, $70.00; ISBN 9780814716670 pbk, $22.00. Reviewed in 2009mar CHOICE.


Chapkis (sociology, Univ. of Southern Maine) and Webb (communications studies, San Josť State Univ.) offer a well-written exposition of the polemics involved in the medical marijuana controversy. Their beginning chapter traces a brief history of the transformation of marijuana from an accepted medicine to its being perceived as a demonical scourge on American society. The remaining seven chapters review the evolution of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) and resulting conflicts with the federal government. Chapter 2 details the development of WAMM, and chapter 3 reviews the 1980s-90s research that led to the rebirth of marijuana as a medical treatment. The distinction between marijuana's medical and recreational uses is the focus of the fourth chapter. Chapters 5 and 6 examine the "high" and the alleged dangers associated with marijuana use. In chapter 7, WAMM's cultivated garden for growing high-quality cannabis is described along with the DEA raid designed to eliminate the organization. Chapter 8 portends the ongoing conflict through court and legislative actions. Chapkis and Webb have skillfully intertwined abstract concepts with "real life" experiences that exemplify the costs and benefits of the medical marijuana drama. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through graduate students; general readers. -- G. A. Blevins, Governors State University