Federal Medical Cannabis Patient, Barbara Douglass, Passes Away at 62

Share this with your friends

The federal government has spent decades trying to keep cannabis out of the hands of its citizens. The federal government has spent decades trying to keep cannabis out of the hands of it citizens. However, that hasn’t stopped them from securing a patent on the plants or conducting studies. In fact, the federal government actually created a program that resulted in them shipping cannabis to multiple patients across the country, some of them for many years.

Barbara Mae Douglass, who recently passed away, was one of those patients. She was born in Iowa and never used marijuana when she was young and healthy. After her diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis at the young age of 32, a doctor recommended medical cannabis to her as a way to relieve her symptoms and potentially slow the progression of her disease. Like many people with degenerative conditions, Douglass found that cannabis worked for her.

In 1991, she petitioned the federal government to not only allow her to consume cannabis, but to provide it for her. She asked to join the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA’s) Compassionate Investigative New Drug (IND) program.

This program has has been providing a small group of patients with cannabis in the form of pre-rolled joints, since 1976 when they enrolled Robert Randall. Barbara joined the relatively elite ranks of the people who participated in IND. She was one of the last four qualifying patients still receiving cannabis from the government until 2013, when her physician relocated and she has to withdraw from the program.

Image of Barbara Douglass on her mobility scooter

Barbara Douglass on her mobility scooter

Barbara didn’t want this medicine to only belong to a select, approved few, which is why she was one of the founding directors of Patients Out of Time. She wanted to help bring safe, legal medical cannabis to other people whose conditions caused them pain or potentially shortened their lives. She remained a spokesperson for Patients Out of Time until she passed away peacefully, in her own home, on August 26, 2018, as the result of her condition.

Barbara Douglass was an activist. She was also a beloved partner, a mother, a sister, and a grandmother. She will be dearly missed both by her family and by the community of cannabis activists as a whole.


For previous articles that discuss multiple sclerosis, click here.


Photo Credit: Publicly shared images from the Fratzke & Jensen Funeral Home Life Tribute page for Barbara Douglass