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The Hoosier Who Moved to Michigan for Medicinal Marijuana

Adam Warczynski has Crohn's disease and was addicted to opioids for 15 years. He said he knew the day would come.

SOUTH BEND, Ind.--Medical marijuana isn't legal in Indiana. But, a Hoosier who has a chronic and painful disease found a simple way around that law to treat both his Crohn's disease, and his addiction to the opioids used to treat his pain: he moved to Michigan.

The day had to come

"The day had to come where I had to stop taking that stuff because it was controlling my life. It was controlli ng my thought process," said Adam Warczynski. He met up with WIBC in South Bend, about half an hour from where he now lives and grows his own medicinal cannabis.

Warczynski made quite a change, and the marijuana he uses to control his disease and some of his pain was not an overnight success. It took about four years of trial and error to determine which strain worked best.

But, Warczynski calls what has happened to him after he started using cannabis, a miracle. He gained 60 lbs., and weaned himself off of opioid pain medications, to which he spent 15 years addicted. The turning point was when he had a procedure for his Crohn's disease, that went badly.

What turned it around

"My temperature went through the roof, it hit like 106. And, I went unconscious and was laying in a bed of ice in ICU for four or five days. Finally when I came out of that hospital visit, I just knew like nothing they were doing was helping me," he said.

That's when Warczynski, originally of Crown Point, opened himself up to the idea of medical marijuana, and moved to Michigan. Even then it was tough. Crohn's disease inflames your colon, causes severe diarrhea, weight loss and malnutrition. It doesn't go away overnight. And, he struggled to find and grow the cannabis that would help.

Scared it was something you could get addicted to

And, his mother, upon whom he depended, was a former Indiana state trooper.

"She was really kinda scared it was something you could get addicted to, all these things we've been told for many years. She's a police officer. So, she enforced a law she believed in because that's what our government and state had told her to do," said Warczynski.

People who are reluctant to see Indiana's law changed have said they believe medical marijuana could be a gateway drug. Warczynski said he believes it's a gateway to get off drugs. He said he knew for years that he needed to get off of his prescribed pain meds, but didn't have the tool until he moved to Michigan.

People with chronic pain

Now, he says, he believes people with chronic pain should not be prescribed opioids.

"You just don't even realize it until you are like five or six years into it and you're like, what have I been doing to myself."

Warczynski said he does believe opioid meds have a place.

"I am for pain medication. I don't think it needs to be wiped off of this Earth because there might be a day when I do have a flare up again, I eat something I shouldn't have and I get that severe pain," he said. But, for living day to day with his Crohn's disease, Warczynski said he believes cannabis has been, and will be his answer for the foreseeable future.

He's now focusing on trying to change the minds of Indiana's lawmakers, so he can move back home.

PHOTO: Chris Davis/Emmis

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