Cannabis as Mediciation: How I treat my Migiraine with Weed
For as long as I can remember, I have been burdened with migraines. It runs in the family. My grandfather had it and my mother has it too. So it was unfortunate and annoying to discover that my daughter has also suffered from migraine attacks from a young age. No, not fun. Looking forward to something and then not being able to participate because you have a migraine attack. Being sick at your own party. A house full of visitors and you have to go to bed because the headache is too severe.
Migraine is not just severe headaches. It is officially a brain disorder that can be hereditary. Without medication, a migraine attack can last a long time. Sometimes an attack lasts half a day, but it can also be three to four days. Especially without medication or painkillers.
Aside from the headaches, my migraines are accompanied by nausea. Sometimes the pain is so severe that vomiting gives some kind of relief. At the time of the attack, I cannot tolerate any light or sound. Even with my eyes closed, the light through the eyelids is still too much. I sometimes lie in bed with a blindfold.
What is migraine?
The cause of migraine is still unclear to this day. It is suspected that it originates between the connection of the spinal cord and the brain. In the area of the brain stem. Neurotransmitters, signaling or messenger substances in the brain, become overstimulated. They cause an inflammatory reaction in the body, this causes the severe headaches in migraine. During a migraine attack, signals to the blood vessels are disrupted and the meninges become irritated.
In patients with many attacks, migraine has a major impact on their daily lives. They will often have to cancel (work) appointments and are often unable to participate in social activities. A lot of misunderstanding from the environment. Colleagues at work who do not understand, they "also come to work with a headache". As a result, people with migraine can even develop anxiety disorders or depression.
Cannabis and my migraines
Around the age of 20, migraines changed for me. The attacks were shorter and could be described more as a regular headache. It can happen that migraines decrease or disappear with age. It can also happen the other way around.
For a long time I thought this was the case with me as well. I also started smoking cannabis regularly around that age but I hadn't thought of the link between my migraine and cannabis at the time. It was in 2016 that I first heard about a migraine patient who benefited from smoking or vaporizing weed. I remember this man saying: I got my life back with marijuana. His story made a big impression on me.
Some time later I found myself in a situation where blowing did not work out. For a whole period of time, I did not consume cannabis very much, if at all. After the first migraine attack during this period, I didn't really notice it yet. But the second attack came pretty soon after. Followed by a third one. Three violent migraine attacks in a short period of time. It wasn't long before I started making the link to cannabis.
Not every cannabis strain is good for migraines
I picked up blowing again. My tolerance level was very low after quitting, so I needed very little to get an effect. My own supply had long since run out, so I had to rely on the coffee shop. There I bought strains with fancy names. I didn't buy the most expensive, but I didn't buy the cheapest either. I started with a good OG-Kush. Always been and still is one of my favorite strains.
Soon I was back to being a daily blower. I had no problem with it. On the contrary, I hardly had any migraines during this period. I did sometimes feel like I was going to have a migraine attack, but worse a bearable headache didn't get there. Sometimes I didn't even suffer from my migraines at all.
I had the opportunity to stockpile a small supply. I don't remember what kind it was. But for me it was a new unknown strain. In the beginning I really liked this strain but after a few days I was actually "smoked out" on it. But yes, I had it now and stocked up. To my surprise and disappointment, I soon developed another severe migraine attack. There goes my theory that cannabis helps against migraine. I thought. After all, I had already grown and harvested some plants outside myself. After smoking this weed for a while, the symptoms subsided.
Weed oil against my migraines
I already had some experience making cannabis oil from my outdoor plants. But really only used it to get high. Until I had met Rick Simpson in person. In a conversation with him, he told me that daily one or more lighter doses can be even more effective against migraines and you are not high.
He also told me that it was good to make oil from outdoor plants and it was best for me to use a Haze strain or a Kush strain.
I followed his advice. I made oil from a Haze plant and started dosing it the way Rick Simpson had advised me. With success, because by using it this way I noticed that my migraine attacks were less frequent and less severe. Something that makes life a lot more pleasant.
In my opinion, the advice to take a Haze or a Kush was to make the strongest possible oil. But I was wrong about that.
Which cannabis is good for migraines?
At first I thought it was the outdoor weed that made the attacks less frequent. But I also thought about the OG-Kush it started with. Surely this one was from an indoor grow. So I went to do my own research.
At first, studies focused on the effect of cannabinoids against migraines. Especially CBD and THC. These play a big role, it turned out. Most migraineurs, myself included, benefit most from a cannabis strain with a high CBD content and a medium to high THC content. A CBD-THC ratio that suits many outdoor cannabis strains. But what about this OG-Kush, I kept thinking.
Lately there has been more and more research and studies on the effects of terpenes in cannabis. So also on the effect against migraines. These show that most migraineurs, including me, benefit from cannabis strains with a high content of terpenes:
That terpenes, in addition to cannabinoids, have a great influence on the effects of cannabis began to become more and more obvious to me. After discovering this, I started to find out which cannabis strains contain many of these terpenes. These strains are:
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Then the puzzle fell together and it became clear to me. They are all my own favorite strains. So I already subconsciously had a preference for cannabis strains that are good against my migraines.
Medical cannabis and migraines
I had already discussed with my doctor the use of the medications normally prescribed for migraines. These regular medications are painkillers with chances of serious side effects and risks of addiction. Whereas I benefit from cannabis and it poses no risk to me. Except justice, because the plant is still banned.
On the Internet I read more and more studies and research where cannabis was successfully used to treat migraine. In the Netherlands we have the BMC, Bureau for Medicinal Cannabis. This is a government organization of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport that is responsible for the production of cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes in the Netherlands.
Outside of legal medicinal cannabis, doctors, pharmacists and hospitals can also go there for questions and information. For patients, there is also a lot of information to be found.
For example, I read in an information brochure on medicinal cannabis for doctors and pharmacists that there are experiences of doctors and patients for a possible clinical effect on migraine. Possibly, because it has not yet been officially established in the Netherlands. While studies in Canada and Israel already prove that cannabis does have a clinical effect.
The producer of medicinal cannabis
Currently, the company Bedrocan is the only producer of legal medicinal cannabis in the Netherlands and always has been since its legalization. Since 2003, the company has been producing medicinal cannabis on behalf of the BMC. On their site I also found a lot of information regarding the use of medicinal cannabis. Also related to migraines. Bedrocan produces five different types of cannabis, each with a different variation of cannabinoids and terpenes.
Bedrocan's medicinal cannabis comes in the forms:
Cannabis Flos, the regular flower buds as in the coffee shop
Cannabis Granule, cannabis ground like with a grinder
Cannabis Flos and Granulate from Bedrocan is sent to the pharmacy upon request and the patient can pick it up there. Cannabis Oil is not produced by Bedrocan itself.
This is done by pharmacy Transvaal in The Hague. This is the only place in the Netherlands where Bedrocan's medicinal cannabis is processed into medicinal cannabis oil on behalf of the BMC. Patients can order the oil from this pharmacy and it is then sent home. Because they are the only ones who produce and dispense the oil, they have a good idea of the cases for which the oil is used and provide a lot of information about them.
Cannabis and my family doctor
I myself continued talking to my family doctor about using cannabis against my migraines. I realized that it was not an everyday request and I was surprised that I was not laughed at.
On the contrary, she took it very seriously and given my situation I could certainly benefit from it. And indeed, I was her first patient to actually receive cannabis as medicine. So she asked me to give her some time to figure out how to arrange this.
When I answered that Bedrocan is the producer, BMC is the dispenser and that the Transvaal pharmacy makes the oil, I saw that a light went on in her head. A week later, I had my prescription for medicinal cannabis oil that is completely tailored to the treatment of migraine.
A lot of consumers I know use cannabis as a (self) medication. I always say, it's good for my well-being. Weed helps me and I see the prescription for medicinal cannabis as an acknowledgement of that. Are you also thinking about using medicinal cannabis? Discuss it with your doctor.
Read up on the subject and state clearly why you want to use medical cannabis. Tell how it helps you and make sure you can prove with examples that others do as well.
Do your homework and go to your doctor well informed and with the right arguments. That way you don't come across as someone who only wants prescription cannabis.
For other questions about growing your own (medicinal) weed, explanation of terpenes and CBD, please contact Sirius customer service.
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