Q. I would like to give my opinion on marijuana, but first you need some background. I have a history of migraines, the worst kind. When I have one I stay in a dark room from day to day, can’t sleep or eat, vomit, lose weight and feel depressed.
To top it off I was in a near-fatal accident. It took me 20 months to learn to do everything all over again. Ever since, I’ve had a bad back and can’t work.
I have spent days in the hospital with migraines. The medicine they gave me was so strong I would sleep two or three days straight. They had me taking so many kinds of pain medicines I didn’t know if I was coming or going.
When I smoke marijuana it helps me sleep and eat, and I don’t feel so much discomfort. I don’t have a problem functioning like I did on the prescribed medicine. I even told my doctors about this, and they say it’s okay if it helps.
A. Jerome Kassirer, M.D., a past Editor-In-Chief of The New England Journal of Medicine, might agree with your doctors. His editorial (Jan. 30, 1997) took the government to task for its misguided policies on the medicinal use of marijuana for seriously ill people.
Dr. Kassirer pointed out that powerful prescription pain medications such as morphine and meperidine (Demerol) can cause dangerous side effects or even death at high doses. He maintains that “there is no risk of death from smoking marijuana.”
There are many migraine medications, available these days, and you might want to ask a headache specialist about another way to relieve your agony. You should not have to take powerful narcotic pain killers that knock you out to get rid of your migraines.
Here’s a novel home remedy that we keep hearing about (the link will provide stories). Try eating ice cream or drinking an icy-cold slurpy or slushy until you experience what doctors call “sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia.” Others refer to this as brain freeze. It occurs when you eat something very cold too fast and it numbs the roof of the mouth. For some, this ice-cream headache actually seems to overcome a migraine. We have no idea if it would work for you, but it represents a low-tech legal option.