In March, area resident Jules Demetrius went to the doctor with severe stomach pain and was immediately sent to the emergency room.
“I went in for a stomach ache and two days later they told me I had three different types of malignant cancer,” he said. “That definitely was not the Monday I was expecting.”
Demetrius spent 43 days in the hospital, receiving thousands of dollars worth of pain medication every hour. Every 45 minutes the pain returned.
Eventually, he got a visit from a friend who gave him some marijuana. He slipped outside for a walk and gave it a try and the result was remarkable.
“Within two minutes I was pain free,” he said. “Then I was pain free for the next four hours. It was maybe $5 worth of weed and it regulated the pain. At that point I was absolutely convinced.”
Demetrius, an artist and graphic designer, admits to having tried marijuana in the past, but says he was in no way a regular user. Today, he has his medical marijuana card and purchases what he needs once a week from Harvest of Tempe, then smokes every few hours as needed. Each “hit” takes away his pain for up to five hours.
He gets several different strains. Most are to help with the pain, but others help with nausea or to get to sleep. The strains are carefully engineered so there are even some available that will control pain without causing a high. That’s a huge benefit for Demetrius, who has kids and has been able to spend some time with them on his good days.
Each day is a struggle as Demetrius’ body fights off three different types of cancer. Some portions of his chemo treatments will knock him out for weeks at a time. He has been prescribed plenty of pain medication, but the cost is astounding and the results aren’t always helpful.
“The hospitals can give me all the morphine and dilaudid they want, but it’s going to take an hour and 30 minutes before it helps me versus one minute with a joint or a roll,” Demetrius said. “My pain is controlled for hours and hours.”
While the use of medical marijuana remains controversial, Demetrius says it has been a saving grace for him.
“It is medicine,” he said. “I know there are people out there who abuse the system. There’s a bad rap. But I’m sick. It worked. It’s better than all the pills I take at the cost of thousands. I can come here and spend $100 and I can pretty much have pain-free days, which is awesome after a year of being in pain.”
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