Federal Medical-Marijuana Patient Barbara Douglass, 1956-2018

One of the last four federal marijuana patients, Barbara Douglass, passed away on August 26. She was 62 years old.

Born in Storm Lake, IA on April 13, 1956, Douglass suffered from multiple sclerosis. She petitioned the government in 1991 to allow her to enter NIDA’s Compassionate Investigative New Drug (IND) program, which provided a monthly allotment of government-grown marijuana to patients.

Diagnosed with MS in 1988, Douglass had never used marijuana until it was recommended that she try some to find relief. She quickly discovered that cannabis helped treat pain and spasticity. She also had a wasting syndrome, but was able to overcome that thanks to the marijuana, which gave her an appetite.

In the 1980s and ’90s, the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics (ACT) opened the door to the relatively unknown IND program. Robert Randall – the first person to legally receive federal medical marijuana through the program (for glaucoma) – and his partner, Alice O’Leary, founded the group. Randall was approved to receive marijuana in 1975. The compassionate IND program’s application was quite complicated, involving a great deal of paperwork. To help guide patients though the process, Randall and O’Leary put together a how-to manual that helped a

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