Saturday, August 27, 2011


I've been experimenting with marijuana, and it's been good.

The last time I wrote about my cannabis consumption, I was pretty pleased with my experience. Most of the pills I've tried (painkillers, triptans, preventatives of all shapes and sizes) haven't worked, and any relief I did have was short-lived or overwhelmed by negative side effects. Not so with the pot, it's amazing to me how much it helps.

And now that I've added edibles to my repertoire, I've got a whole new migraine weapon. It's a very different effect than smoking, with some serious benefits and just a few drawbacks.

Let's start with the bad.

One time, I ate too much of a brownie. I felt mild nausea and some euphoria, and was more intoxicated than I was comfortable with. The effects lasted almost two hours, then started to taper to more sober levels. It didn't adversely effect my head, though, which smoking can, if I overdo it.

Another time, I ate accidentally ate WAY too much high-dose cookie dough and I slept for 14 hours. I spent the next day feeling sluggish and hungover, also foolish, but then again, rather proud that I had survived my first thc od. Again, without a significant migraine fallout.

When I've had to use high doses often, or even moderate doses frequently, I've built a tolerance to the effects and have had to stop all usage for a few days to sort of reset my system. Those few days are generally uncomfortable, with the sluggishness and hungover feeling accompanying a higher sensitivity to migraine triggers, but once those two or three days have passed, my tolerance and head are back to zero again, so that's pretty cool.

During a painful and busy week or two during which I was using edibles almost exclusively, and liberally, I had a rather dramatic episode of depression when I cut back my intake. It was brief, thankfully, but I've been careful about keeping my consumption moderate since then and I haven't had any further issues. But if you're sensitive to medications, or are prone to depression, this is definitely something to look out for.

I do get the rare rebound headache from over-usage, but those are situations I walk into, knowing how it's going to end. I do the same thing with caffeine and soma, overdo it in the short term and risk paying for it later. How else would I go to doctor's appointments, the beach, or make that holiday party? Drink a cup of coffee and take half a soma every two to four hours with applications of thc as needed, that's how.

Cannabis laced edibles take quite a bit longer to kick in, from 30 minutes to an hour and a half, in my experience. This can make accurate dosing difficult because there's currently no industry standard and every manufacturer thinks "one dose" is something different. Accurate and detailed labeling is coming more into fashion, but trying a new product or method of ingestion can still be a crapshoot. And by the time you discover you haven't medicated enough, it's difficult to catch up because you have another hour or wait time to find out if you got it right the second time. But this becomes easier with experience.

Effectiveness can also vary greatly depending on factors like the method of ingestion, potency of the product, what's already digesting in the stomach, and individual metabolism. This also becomes easier to predict with experience, but it can be frustrating when your medicine has a learning curve.

As for portability and discretion, it's no big deal to carry around a piece of chocolate (as long as it doesn't melt), or a cookie or even a bottle of tincture with a dropper. Smoking may have a faster effect, but it can also make you (feel) very conspicuous.

The effects of eating cannabis usually last longer than smoking and it's a gentler, less intoxicating experience. Bonus: no coughing! But if I've got a slamming headache and need to medicate immediately, smoking is the only way to go. Actually, I've been happiest when I can use a combination of the two methods, eating a pot-snack every few hours and compensating with smoke if needed.

I've actually been eating my medicine quite a bit lately, and I've been working on a detailed review post of some really great products I've been able to try. That'll be coming up in the next week, with pictures!


Migrainista said...

Can't wait to this review of the products you've tried - with pics. Using pot like this has been on my mind for years. I've wondered about it, considered it and even wished to try a number of times. I honestly don't even know where to begin getting something safe...

steph said...

I wish I could send you some goodies! If you ever make your way to California, I'll point you in the right direction. :)

Jessica said...

Can't wait to read the reviews and see the pics!

Sue said...

I'm so glad it's working for you! Hubby uses marijuana for nerve pain from MS/diabetes, and also to increase his appetite. Unfortunately, it just hasn't worked for my head pain, either smoked or eaten (though the brownies were good!).