Migraines and Marijuana, and update

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Migraines and Marijuana, and update

Post  charmed quark on Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:11 am

I have migraine with aura apparently triggered by my cervical spine lesions, which are also causing me spasticiity and neuropathic pain. So my migraines may be caused by different factors than most of you.

I've been using Marinol, pure prescription THC (the stuff that makes people high), for over a decade to help control my migraines and spasticity. It works for me but I find the Marinol very unpleasant and it often triggers panic attacks in me. Because of this I can't take a high enough dosage to completely control either my migraines or spasticity. I use some anti-spasmotic drugs to help but find them very debilitating, i.e., I can't get out of bed if I take them,  and like to avoid them.

I recently joined our state's new medical marijuana program and can now report on the results.

Overall, the cannabis is MUCH more pleasant to use than the Marinol. I've had no problem with anxiety from it at all, in fact quite the opposite.


But the results have been variable. Some of the strains have actually caused non-migraine headaches. Others work for migraines but not the spasticity and pain. Others don't work on either but make me really happy.

I've also found you cannot trust the strain names or the descriptions. Nearly all the strains I've tried are hybids, a mix of sativa and indicas. Supposedly sativa-dominant strains are high in THC and low in the non-psychoactive CBD  and are uplifting and good for getting stuff done while indica-dominant strains are higher in CBD and good for pain, headaches and helping you sleep.

I haven't found any relationship that is that simple. Some of the sativas DID make me very energetic but a lot of the indicas gave me headaches.

Anyway, I eventually found a hybrid strain that worked well. It helps me with all my symptoms and doesn't make me sleepy or energetic.

It's been a godsend. I have been cycling through really bad stiffness and spasticity for a month or so, then weeks of really bad headaches. The strain stopped that cycle. And vaporizing (I don't smoke) only three times a week is enough to keep the migraines away although I have to use it daily when the spasticity is bad.

So success. But I think the takeaway of this is you can't just try street "weed" and expect it to work on migraines.

-Pete

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Re: Migraines and Marijuana, and update

Post  Kem10 on Sat Dec 21, 2013 6:08 am

Very interesting Pete, thank you for posting this. I have long been a proponent of medical use of marijuana when it is dispensed as a controlled substance. A trusted MD friend has told me that it is the best medication he has seen for controlling the nausea of chemotherapy. I do think more research should be done for it's other uses. The state I live in does not allow it's use for medical purposes and that is a shame in my opinion.
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Re: Migraines and Marijuana, and update

Post  charmed quark on Sat May 03, 2014 5:17 pm

After trying three strains, I tried a forth strain from our dispensary. Since I started the new strain I have not had a migraine in 5 weeks, almost 6. I haven't even needed to take an Advil.

This is just amazing for me. I started getting migraines over 30 years ago and this is the first time since then that I haven't had at least one migraine a week.

Even using Marinol I still got about two a week, although they tended to be mild. THAT was a big improvement for me compared to what I got before the Marinol, where I was on the edge of disability from daily migraines, many extremely severe.

But this is a whole new level, absolutely amazing.

I increased the "dose" in the evening and that and the strain seems to do the trick. I even stopped for about 4 days while I traveled out-of-state and it had enough residual effect to still work, although I could feel it creeping back, plus my spasticity was getting real bad. My wife said I was showing "pre-migraine" irritation.

Based on past history with the MANY prescribed pharmaceuticals I have tried for migraine, this effectiveness may not last forever but I am crossing my fingers.

I hope some of you in marijuana-legal states can give this a try to see if it works for you.  I have no idea if this success is common or not, but I sure am glad if works for me!

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Re: Migraines and Marijuana, and update

Post  Platypus on Wed May 07, 2014 1:56 pm

That's great news, hope you have continued success w/ MM. Particularly interesting that it's working for you preventatively.

MM worked for me abortively for about 5 months, then lost its efficacy.

Platy
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Re: Migraines and Marijuana, and update

Post  sailingmuffin on Thu May 08, 2014 10:47 am

Hi,

Thanks so much for the information!

I am glad that some states are using a medical marijuana program. I am also glad that you have found a strain that seems to help you.

I have never tried marijuana at all. However, over the past few years I have considered it. There is some anecdotal evidence about it helping people who have severe POTS, which I have. There is also some evidence about it helping with severe seizures (that is mostly using the CBD oil, though.) We do not know if the fainting problem I have is cardiac or neurological in origin. However, if there was a way for me to try it legally and safely, I would strongly consider it. After all of the medications I have tried to battle the monster over the years, this might help.

I am glad that my state has decided to allow a study of CBD oil- the oil found in cannabis- to go forward. It is for a very small study for children who experience bad seizures and for whom other medicines did not work. It is a small step, but still to get anything passed like that in the Alabama legislature is a step forward.

The closest anyone has come to an official diagnosis is Neurocardiogenic Syncope/ severe dysautonomia. The only things that have helped are florinef, DDAVP, salt, klonopin, and Pristiq. The thing that has made a huge difference is a 55 llb Labrador retriever named Dora who can alert to attacks and keep me down until it is ok to get up.

Please keep us updated.

Pain free days,
sailingm
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Re: Migraines and Marijuana, and update

Post  jewel6 on Wed May 14, 2014 6:13 pm

Thank you for the detailed information on MM. I have seriously considered trying it, but it's not legal in the state I live in. It's great to hear that it's working preventatively, as well. Very useful information.
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Re: Migraines and Marijuana, and update

Post  Platypus on Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:42 pm

charmed quark wrote: Supposedly sativa-dominant strains are high in THC and low in the non-psychoactive CBD  and are uplifting and good for getting stuff done while indica-dominant strains are higher in CBD and good for pain, headaches and helping you sleep.

-Pete

The CBD and THC content of any given strain is independent of whether it is a sativa, indica or hybrid. Good dispensaries lab test the products they sell and indicate the CBD and THC levels.... While CBD is in general the analgesic component of marijuana, it has been very widely observed and reported that for migraine, THC level is what makes the difference.

Platy
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Re: Migraines and Marijuana, and update

Post  Brent on Wed Aug 06, 2014 5:24 pm

I have been away from this forum for a couple years but I wanted to check back to see if medical marijuana has been discussed at all. I'm glad to see that some very good info has been posted here. I was fortunate to have my migraines successfully eliminated with surgery. But with all the meds I took/tried along with having four herniated disks I ended up with some liver damage. Spinal steroid injections gave me a few months of relief but were $2800. So I ended up with few pain control options. And that is when a doc that is a patient at the clinic suggested medical marijuana. He "prescribes" it which many docs here are afraid of even though it's legal here.

So after sampling a few different strains I found one that works very well. I vaporize it since my sinuses would never tolerate smoking it. I'm fully functional using low doses 24/7. I was raised in a very anti drug family and circle of very religious friends. I tried it once in college and then never touched it again.

So I really hope that all MIG sufferers at least try it as long as it's from a safe trusted source. In states that it's legal for medical uses you can pretty much trust the dispensaries, at least in most cases. It's safer then every single MIG med that is routinely prescribed.

I know several people that have had great success with it. I read here a few that it didn't. At least consider it an option. It was an option that I didn't even think of until a doc told me about it. I was a victim of the deeply entrenched stigmas and ignorance about it. A months supply for me would cost about what one Maxalt or Imatrex would. I grow mine and for two other MMJ patients and do sell to a dispensary. For me it's about 50 cents a month and I know exactly what's in it.

Please think about it and spend 5-10 minutes reading about it. The people I see at the local dispensaries are just common folks like us, not stoners with piercings and bizarre clothing.

I wish I would have tried it 6 years ago instead of dealing with the hellish nightmare of migraines and chronic low back pain.
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Re: Migraines and Marijuana, and update

Post  EcoMigraine on Wed Aug 13, 2014 4:07 pm

Thanks Brent and others for bringing up this route of therapy. I'm going to try it! Even if it can't 'cure' my migraines, I feel like it could address a lot of the symptoms as well as the side-effects of the Sumatriptans. Very encouraging to read your post.

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Re: Migraines and Marijuana, and update

Post  charmed quark on Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:39 pm

I am still having good control of my migraines, so I am very happy. The strain I have had the most success with is, according to the state's measurements, is 35% THC but only 0.08% CBD, so it is a low CBD strain.

As I become more educated on this matter, I've come to believe the flowers' terpene/terpenoid content are very important to their medical effects. These are the compounds that give cannabis strains their unique odors and are also found in many other plants. The terpenes found in cannabis are also found in pine needles, rosemary, lavender, peppermint, black pepper, citrus fruit and so on.

I mention this because several companies are selling terpene mixes, made from essential oils, that they are selling to enhance various aspects of cannabis. The idea is you add a drop of a selected mixture to low-quality cannabis to get the effect of high-quality stuff.

I'm wondering if vaporizing the terpenes by themselves would help migraines. I've certainly found mild relief in the past by inhaling lavender and peppermint.

My state, unfortunately, does not test for the terpenes, but many testing services in Colorado do. I will try to find out what is the profile of my strain.

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Re: Migraines and Marijuana, and update

Post  Migrainegirl on Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:39 am

CQ,

What is the name of the strain that is working for you?  It might be a good starting point for people who are considering this route. Brent, same question for you.  

If it is that variable, a common resource reporting on effects of different strains/ mixes would be helpful.

Thanks!
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Re: Migraines and Marijuana, and update

Post  Brent on Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:12 am

Some very interesting research about cannabis CB2 receptors and migraines.

http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/24636539
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Re: Migraines and Marijuana, and update

Post  charmed quark on Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:31 am

The one I have found effective is an indica leaning hybrid called "Death Star". It is available from dispensaries in New Jersy and Denver, CO, that I know of.

A good starting point for learning medical potential of strains is Leafly.com. My doctor hands out their brochures to patients.

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Re: Migraines and Marijuana, and update

Post  Cathy on Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:09 pm

I live in PA where they are just starting to put the legislation through for medical marijuana.  We have a governor who isn't favorable to the passing of the legislation but we also have an election coming up with the opposing candidate being for the law and the polls put them very close right now with the pro candidate ahead.  What has come out of the legislature so far is so watered down as to help very few people without the opportunity to grow your own.  Not knowing what's in it as far as pesticides, chemical fertilizers, etc. is disturbing.  But we have to start somewhere.  The people are making their voices heard, now if only the lawmakers will listen.  I hope to be able to try this for my pain someday. thanks to everyone who posted on here.  The information is helpful to many.

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