Monday, March 9, 2009

Medication and Stigma

My primary source of relief from my head is marijuana. I used to smoke weed recreationally. I stopped about a year before the headaches started. I didn't try it for my head for about a year and a half, thinking that it would make it worse. Too much pot too quickly gives me a headache, so Logic told me not to toke. Eventually, my boyfriend basically forced me to try it, one day when my head was bad and my arguing skills were nil. It didn't take the headache away, but did make it somewhat ignorable, or at least less important. It definitely improved my mood. I continued to use it daily. It makes me more functional, happier and even hopeful. I don't, however, get high like I used to. I'm more active than sleepy and usually my brain starts functioning better after I smoke. Though, not always. I do sometimes get the giggles and the munchies.

I am experiencing a look from other people when I mention pot as a remedy. It's a street drug, illegal in however many states, therefore evil and gatewayish. Or self-indulgent and infantile. Can't I just take a pill like the grown-ups? I hate feeling like a stoner. It's a label I don't appreciate. Maybe when I was 20 and was a stoner, it would have been okay. But now, I use pot for chronic pain. To minimize that and call me an addict is unfair, especially when that assumption is based on prejudice. Marijuana isn't physically addictive. It can become an addiction but really, you have to force it. Compared to oxycontin and morphine, which my neurologist prescribed (separately), weed is half a wine cooler.

I've taken morphine, topomax, maxalt, depakote, vicodin, oxycontin and naproxen, to name a few. None of these medications helped me like pot does. None of them made a dent in my headaches, some had horrible side effects and some made me worse. The only positive thing they did for me was to help me sleep away the worst of it. I'll take the giggles and munchies over a pill coma any day.