Intended for healthcare professionals

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Feature Christmas 2018: Look Before You Leap

Adventures in self experimentation

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: (Published 11 December 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k5006

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Re: Adventures in self experimentation

Self-experimentation has also been an especially important mode of inquiry for those traditionally excluded from establishment research—which makes me skeptical of the claim that women are much less likely to experiment on themselves than men. As traditional healers and midwives, I suspect women used self-experimentation to develop many of their protocols and techniques. More recently, the women’s health movement used self-experimentation as a political practice to empower women who had for too long been ignored by biomedicine. Women are now also leaders in the medical marijuana movement--self-experimentation is one of the most important ways that patients learn how to use cannabis for healing. Sadly, women often have no recourse but to self-experiment, since far too often their problems are ignored or belittled by the medical establishment.

Competing interests: No competing interests

14 December 2018
Joanna Kempner
Associate Professor of Sociology
Rutgers University
26 Nichol Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901