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Donna R.

Syracuse, NY

Donna, a mother and grandmother had her life turned upside down when she learned of her Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. An MRI revealed that she has several lesions on her brain, brain stem and cervical spine. As a result, the muscles in her legs are often spastic and contracted, causing heaviness, stiffness and twitching. She also experiences pain that she describes as “nagging” and “stabbing” in her neck, spine and head. As she explains, “it’s the kind of pain that just wears you down.”

“When I use medical marijuana I don’t feel the pain, and it’s like the burden has been lifted,” Donna says. She has used other drugs for her muscle spasms, but she is sensitive to pharmaceutical medications and risks severe side-effects. “I’d rather smoke medical marijuana at night than take even Nyquil for pain, otherwise I feel drowsy and dragging the next day,” she says.

Donna only uses medicinal marijuana about once a month to manage her condition. She fears that even during one of her occasional uses, a police officer might make an impromptu visit to her door. “I’m willing to take the risk only because it relieves my symptoms,” she says.