By Norma Love

Clayton Holton says his use of opiate painkillers is greatly reduced when he uses marijuana. He suffers from muscular dystrophy and has been in a wheelchair since he was 10.

JIM COLE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Clayton Holton says his use of opiate painkillers is greatly reduced when he uses marijuana. He suffers from muscular dystrophy and has been in a wheelchair since he was 10.

 

At 27, Clayton Holton of Rochester is 5 feet 11 but weighs only 66 pounds.

Holton suffers from a rare form of muscular dystrophy that causes wasting syndrome and complete muscle loss. He has been in a wheelchair since he was 10. He struggles even to eat.

Six years ago, he ended up in a hospital and then a nursing home where he was given Oxycontin. Then friends helped him visit California, where medical use of marijuana is legal. He started using it for pain relief, and he gained 8 pounds.

Now, when he needs relief, he reaches for marijuana.

‘‘When I have it, I am able to keep my appetite up and take a lot less opiate painkillers than without it,’’ he said.
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