East Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- There’s a renewed push for medical marijuana in New York State from those suffering with multiple sclerosis.
A special forum was held in East Syracuse to educate patients on what some claim are the benefits of marijuana.
Susan Rusinko was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2000.
“It was just basically, me doing what I needed to do so that I could live my life, you know, and still be Susan Rusinko, and not be defined by MS,” she told NewsChannel 9.
Rusinko says she depends on medical marijuana and says she's tried almost everything to deal with the pain.
“We played with dosing; you know, let’s try less of this, more of this, take this away and try that. I played that game for a long time,” she said.
She says keeping up with her family’s active lifestyle wasn’t easy. So she did her research and turned to medical marijuana.
And she’s not the only one. Many at Wednesday night’s forum admit to using it to help treat their symptoms.
Guest speaker Dr. Sunil Aggarwal has done years of research and says treatment could just be the start.
“Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest, therapeutically active substances known to man,” said Dr. Aggarwal. "But more than that there's study's showing that potentially we could slow this, modify the disease process to potentially slow it by taking cannabis based medicines on a regular basis."
Legalizing medical marijuana would also erase the risks of getting it illegally – from the potential of getting arrested, to not knowing exactly what you're getting, as it's certainly not controlled out on the street.
For now, with her family’s support, Rusinko says it’s worth the risk.
A bill to legalize medical marijuana has passed twice in the Assembly, but has failed in the Senate. The issue is expected to be reintroduced again in 2013.