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James P.

Syracuse, NY

James Paries is a 25-year old living with multiple sclerosis (MS). He was diagnosed at age 17. A former team leader of a cleaning crew, James is now unable to work at all due to debilitating symptoms, including fatigue, pain and numbness.

He has been prescribed many medications, including Marinol, a medicine containing 100 percent THC (one of the active ingredients in marijuana) but found it to be too sedating. He says that after taking it, he felt “doped up” and could barely get off his couch.

On the other hand, when James smokes marijuana, a medication that typically contains 20 percent THC, he does not experience that “doped up” feeling. “Medical marijuana helps ease the pain associated with MS and helps with my symptoms,” James says. Additionally, he reports reduced anxiety and depression when he uses medical marijuana.

Even though James is often in pain, he uses medical marijuana only infrequently. He says that if medical marijuana were legal, he would be able to use it more. He avoids taking too many pain medications because of the side effects they have on his liver. James says, “If medical marijuana were legalized, I wouldn’t be in so much pain all the time.”

New York does not currently permit the medicinal use of marijuana, so James is forced to break the law in order to ease his suffering. This is a choice no one should have to make.