Recipients of Legal Medical Cannabis, provided by the U.S. government under the Investigational New Drug Program (Compassionate Access I.N.D.)
Believe it or not, the federal government sends free pre-rolled cannabis cigarettes to a special, but dwindling group of patients on a regular basis beginning in 1976 with Robert Randall. It all started when Robert was arrested for growing cannabis on his back deck and had to prove that this medicine was essential in to prevent his progressive loss of vision from glaucoma. Robert Randall won his case and subsequently the federal government allowed him access to the federal cannabis supply through the Compassionate Investigational New Drug (IND) Program that was under the authority of the FDA.
By1992 the program had grown to 15 patients and the FDA was flooded with patient applications for cannabis (primarily HIV/AIDS patients) so the federal government closed the program. The 15 pateints would continue to receive their medication, but approximately 35 patients who had recently just been approved to enter the program were now told they would never receive their medicine. The hundreds of applications waiting for a decision would never even be reviewed.
As of 2008 only 4 patients remain in the IND program and they are Irv Rosenfeld, Elvy Musikka, George McMahon and Barbara Douglass. They are all on the Board of Directors of Patients Out of Time. They are glad to have this access, but know it is not fair that other patients don't have this treatment option. So, how can our federal government continue to claim that marijuana has no therapeutic value on one hand and with the other provide these few patients with cannabis for medical use?
In 1978, Robert Randall became the first patient to gain this IND access to cannabis to control his glaucoma. After gaining his right to this medicine he and his wife, Alice O’Leary, formed the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics and started the patient movement to end the prohibition of medicinal cannabis. During his final years, Robert was very ill and he and Alice asked Patients Out of Time to continue to work as patient advocates. He died in 2001. Corrine Millet was also provided cannabis through the IND access to control her glaucoma and she died in 2007.
The Compassionate IND program through which they receive their medication was closed in 1992 to any future patients. At that time there were 15 patients receiving cannabis from the NIDA-sponsored marijuana farm at the University of Mississippi. By 1995, seven of those patients had died leaving only 8 federal medical marijuana patients. Six of those 8 remaining patients have been closely involved with Patients Out of Time. We chose the name for our organization to stress the urgency of the need for this medicine to patients throughout the U.S. We recognize the need for additional research and fully support it. However, patients do not have the luxury of time and they should have the option of using this medicine now.
To date, only four patients, Barbara Douglass (IA), George McMahon (IA), Irving Rosenfeld (FL) and Elvy Musikka (OR) continue to receive their medication from the federal government and all are on our Board of Directors. They recognize their special status as "legal" medical marijuana patients, they know how valuable it is to the quality of their lives and they are in this fight because they know others can benefit as well. In 2001 these 4 patients agreed to undergo a series of exams and laboratory tests in a study led by Dr. Ethan Russo to determine the long term effects of cannabis. This was a project undertaken by Patients Out of Time primarily because the federal government never bothered to do so, even though the patients’ individual research protocols were approved by the FDA to allow them into the IND research program. The resulting study is called the Chronic Cannabis Use Study, often referred to as the Missoula Chronic Use Study. Despite the fact that the patients received poor quality cannabis (sometimes as old as 14 years, very dry and brittle containing seeds and stems), they showed no evidence of harm from years of cannabis smoking, except for mild bronchitis. In fact, considering their ages and illnesses, they were in pretty good health.
All of our Clinical Conferences on Cannabis Therapeutics have been attended by the federal I.N.D. patients, whose perspectives as legal patients have proved valuable in visioning the goal of universal access to cannabis medicine in its' myriad forms. Please search our conference video pages for DVDs and on-line videos of the legal patients over the years.
In 2008, George McMahonsat down for an extended interview that provides an intimate window into the life of a government medical marijuana recipient. In part one, he recalls his congenital condition that would have ended his life had it not been for medical cannabis. Legal Marijuana Patient George McMahon, Part 1
In part two, George opens a new tin of medical marijuana, grown by the U.S. government at a facility at the University of Mississippi, and offers more insight on equal access to a remarkable medicine. Gov't-Grown Marijuana, with Legal Patient George McMahon