Migraine by Anonymous

I was diagnosed with migraine with aura about 17 years ago when I was in my early 30s. It was very frightening and disabling. Some attacks were so severe that I literally couldn't move for hours on end. It was much more than headache. Before the migraine started, I'd get strange mood changes that would upset my wife and coworkers. Then the migraine would come on and I would get nausea where I couldn't even drink water, often lasting more than a day. It included neurological symptoms such as vertigo. I'd get numbness so that I had difficulty walking, talking, or even thinking. My vision would get weird and I would have trouble seeing. My ears would ring and I'd smell odors that weren't really there. Some of these symptoms would persist for days after the migraine was gone.

My doctors began taking me through all the standard migraine drugs - preventatives such as beta blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, calcium channel blockers, anti-epileptics. Pain drugs. Drugs targeting the symptoms like the vertigo. Nothing worked and the side effects were often terrible. I was able to reduce the frequency somewhat by rigorous lifestyle changes, but my family and work life were still almost completely ruined. Even the new triptans like Imitrex didn't work. In fact they made my symptoms worse and caused dangerous blood pressure spikes. I was told to avoid all vasoconstrictors.

After 15 years of this, I finally followed up on a suggestion from the first neurologist I had seen. He asked me if I had tried marijuana. I knew what it was, as I had smoked it in college. But at that time I hadn't used it for over a decade. I laughed and told him something so mild could have no effect on what I was experiencing. I put it out of my mind for 15 years until I had run out of options.

So I finally tried it. Wow! If I used it when I was getting prodromes or in my early aura it would usually abort the migraine. It even helped with the pain if I used it after I got the migraine, although, paradoxically, it could leave me with a headache later. Better yet, I found that if I used small amounts of it on a regular basis - say a couple of puffs twice a week - it almost eliminated my migraines. And with no noticeable side effects.

I've been using it as a reventative ever since and my life has returned to near normal. I now suffer only infrequent migraines that are so mild I can treat them with NSAIDS.

My doctor, neurologist and pain doctor all got upset when I told them. They want nothing to do with it. And I work at a job where I could get fired if I test positive. But I don't care. I have my life back and I'm not giving that up. I won't stop until something better comes along.

I wish I had tried it sooner.

Not all migraine sufferers seem to get relief this way. I've spoken to a number who say cannabis does nothing or makes their headache worst. But it sure helps me.