Medical Marijuana

There are many different types of treatments out there for Migraines, and many different pain killers available. In my experience, the best pain relief comes from Medical Marijuana (which I will call MMJ). 

Marijuana consists of over 100 different chemicals, called cannabinoids; the most prevalent and well known cannabinoids are THC and CBD. THC is the part of marijuana that causes a “high” feeling, while CBD helps pain and nausea. Over the counter CBD products are not a good substitute for MMJ though; because there are no regulations or testing done on “herbal” CBD products, they are not always effective. 

Although marijuana is a Schedule I drug – the same as LSD and heroin – many states are now legalizing it for medical use, and some are legalizing it for recreational use too. Because it is still a highly controlled substance, getting MMJ can be both difficult and expensive. 

Most doctors cannot provide MMJ certification, requiring patients to find specific clinics that specialize in it. The initial appointment can cost over $200, and then there is a fee to register yourself and get your MMJ card. Once you have your card, it can be difficult to find a dispensary nearby with products that you like (just last week I drove 2 hours to get my MMJ). The medicine itself is expensive – my average is $100 a month – and insurance does not cover it.

So if MMJ is such a hassle, why do I consider it the best option? Because it works.

I have tried Triptans (an abortive Migraine treatment), narcotics, and over the counter pain medicines. MMJ works better than any of them – it works faster, and it is kinder on the body. Because MMJ works to stimulate chemicals that the body naturally produces, it is effective at removing pain and nausea associated with Migraines. Unlike most medications, I do not experience rebound headaches with MMJ, and it is not physically addictive like narcotics are. 

MMJ is not for everyone though. Some people have bad reactions to edibles, MMJ in food form. Because it can be difficult to portion control edibles, many first timers experience too strong a “trip”. Others may have negative reactions to certain types of MMJ – Sativa (an “upper”) gives me awful headaches once it wears off, almost like a bad hangover. Vaping MMJ is the fastest way to get it into the system, but can cause throat and lung problems, especially in people with asthma. 

Despite all the complications and difficulties, I still recommend everyone try MMJ. It is important to listen to the recommendations of your doctor and your dispensary – ask as many questions as you can to find the right product for you. 


Botox – The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

We’ve all heard of Botox – beautiful people use it to stay beautiful. But Botox injections can also help with Migraines. Botox has become a common treatment for Chronic Migraines, which means 15 or more headache days a month.

I have been using Botox for a couple of years now, So while there aren’t a lot of statistical reports on the benefits of Botox, I can share some anecdotal information. 

The Good:

    Botox works for me. Every 3 months, I get injections that paralyse the nerves in my head, preventing them from causing pain. While my Migraines are not gone, the intensity of them has definitely lowered, making life a little easier. 

The Bad:

    It is a LOT of needles. On average, about 32 needles. While they don’t go too deep, it is painful. For me, the procedure involves my forehead, my temples, the base of my head, and my neck – basically a lot of sensitive areas. It hurts a lot, and that pain can last a few hours. 

The Ugly:

    Botox is addictive, in a sense. Once your body responds to the medication, you will feel it when it wears off. This means that at the end of 3 months, my Migraines get worse. This can be frustrating, as life does not always run smoothly. Doctor appointments can be delayed a week, or even a month, due to shipping problems, insurance coverage, or prescription renewals. 

As frustrating and painful as Botox is, it is still worth it. 

Over time, I’ve learned how to handle the injections better. I use a muscle relaxer, an anti-anxiety pill, and a lidocaine cream – the combination helps to numb me to the pain of the needles. 

I recommend Botox for anyone with Chronic Migraines, but I suggest you start the treatment prepared.