Migraine by Patricia

I've suffered from migraines since I was three years old. I have been diagnosed with classic and cluster migraines. I experience a migraine at least once week. They last from 24 to 72 hours. Vomiting is always involved.

I had an uncle who died from a migraine-related stroke at the age of 52.

Migraines are the bane of my existence. They prevent me from working; they've cast a shadow on my personal life. I can't count the number of times I've been trapped at roadside rest stops, unable to drive home because I couldn't see straight from a migraine.

I have been prescribed the following drugs (prescribed by my primary care physician and a neurologist):

* Imitrex (didn't work)

* Frova (didn't work)

* Inderal (didn't work)

* Topamax (didn't work and made me very ill)

* Neurontin (didn't work)

* Pamelor (sort of worked in reducing the length of the migraines to about 12 hours -- had an allergic asthma-like reaction at high doses and was told to stop)

* Hydrocodone (if I can hold down it masks the pain for about an hour)

* Depakote (didn't work)

I've found two things that help relieve or end my migraines: Maxalt and marijuana.

Maxalt works as an abortive therapy about half the time for me -- I usually require 20 milligrams to see any result, which isn't very healthy. I also experience rebound headaches from the Maxalt. My health insurance company will not cover more than 12 pills per month (and that was a recent fight). I never have enough Maxalt to treat my migraines. I always run out before the month is through. And its effectiveness has waned with time.

Marijuana works for me as an abortive drug and as a pain reliever. If I smoke marijuana in the early "aura" stages of a migraine, it stops the migraine in its tracks. If I smoke marijuana when the migraine is in full force, it relieves the pain and stops the vomiting. It also shortens the length of a migraine.

In college, when I had access to daily marijuana, I had fewer headaches.

I am being honest when I say that I don't use recreational drugs. I've never even tried them ... because I'm afraid they'd give me a migraine! I do not drink alcohol because it gives me migraines.

I'm 31 and I'm at my wit's end. I've been dealing with these migraines all my life, and they're only getting more severe with age. There are two things which can help me: one is too expensive and not very effective, and the other more effective solution is illegal.

I don't want to be a criminal. And frankly, I'm not very good at being a criminal, because I rarely come in contact with people who supply marijuana.

It is very frustrating to know that an effective treatment exists which is out of my reach.