Ann Marie Owen walks with her husband, Bruce, near their home in Port Ewen, N.Y. Owen says the opioids prescribed by doctors made her feel sick and failed to ease her pain. Medical marijuana, she says, saved her life. Allyse Pulliam for Kaiser Health News hide caption
toggle caption Allyse Pulliam for Kaiser Health News
By the time Ann Marie Owen, 61, turned to marijuana to treat her pain, she was struggling to walk and talk. She was also hallucinating.
For four years, her doctor prescribed a wide range of opioids for transverse myelitis, a debilitating disease that caused pain, muscle weakness and paralysis.
The drugs not only failed to ease her symptoms, they hooked her.
When her home state of New York legalized marijuana for the treatment of select medical ailments, Owens decided it was time to swap pills for pot. But her doctors refused to help.
“Even though medical marijuana is legal, none of my doctors were willing to talk to me about it,” she says. “They just