Four and a half years ago Anton contracted the varicella zoster virus and developed shingles. Soon thereafter, he developed postherpedic neuralgia, nerve damage caused by the virus. Postherpedic neuralgia can last for life and can result in excruciating pain in the damaged nerve area.
In order to treat his condition, Anton was prescribed a variety of pain medications, including gabapentin, nortriptyline and oxycodone. These medications had many side effects, and Anton had to limit his medication intake in order to control them. As a result, he continued to suffer with severe pain. It was only after friends and relatives in Israel, a country with a regulated medical marijuana system, encourage him to try medical marijuana that he began to experience some relief. As Anton explained, “If I still lived in Israel I would have access to medical marijuana. I have relatives there who have been prescribed it for multiple sclerosis and cancer.”
Even though medical marijuana is not legal in New York, doctors have encouraged Anton to use it to treat his condition. He explains, “Doctors have said, I can’t tell you officially to use it, but off the record it can help.”
In New York Anton is forced to break the law in order to ease his suffering. As a result, he is considering leaving the state to move to one of the nearby states with a regulated medical marijuana system. This is a decision no one should have to make.