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How This MS Patient Found Marijuana To Be The Best Medicine

July 3, 2017

Susan Rusinko, a mother of three active boys, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2000 and is a user of medical marijuana for 14 years. Cannabis has changed her life for treating her disease. When she was first diagnosed, she was prescribed one pill, which led to other pills. Altogether, she was taking 17 different pills. She contacted her doctor to tell him she wanted a new way to treat her MS and to start weening off the medications she was taking. She wanted to try marijuana as treatment, which was illegal where she lived, New York. However, she talked it through with her doctor, which advised her not to smoke it via a joint. Rusinko started using a ‘dugout bat,’ a one-hit.

There was one drug that was very difficult to ween, which was amitriptyline. It is a prescribed medication for anti-depression, but works for MS patients for night time painful paresthesias. Rusinko started to ween in March and by June, she was still taking 12 pills. She decided to go cold turkey on the drug, to which she regrets because she had the worst withdrawal. However, because she was using cannabis, it helped ease her withdrawal. Rusinko originally kept her cannabis therapy from her family, with only her sisters and her husband knowing. It wasn’t until her son was in the 12th grade that she told him, telling him that he had to keep it a secret. In 2012, she notified everyone, including all her family, parents, and even her brothers.

In 2012, through the Drug Policy Alliance in Colorado, Rusinko was introduced to cannabis salve. She started learning about more possibilities of the plant, and eventually learned to take sativa for her MS. She said she used it during the day, while using hybrid or indica at night. She has become a full advocate for medical marijuana, and lobbied for the bill to be passed in New York. She believes that cannabis has been what has helped her stay healthy 17 years later after her MS diagnosis.