Medicinal Marihoochi

by Lisa

bleeding-dogwood

       I would like to expand upon Bill’s last post. It may surprise some of you to know that I smoked marijuana once. (No comments from the 80’s peanut gallery.)  I used to see pot as the great creativity booster when it had a good percentage of oregano in it giving it a good ‘ol down home country feeling–that little harmless placebo effect. Then growers figured out how to make it so strong that you felt like you were going to have a nervous breakdown and a heart attack which just was not fun.  I gave it up long ago.

       However, I am considering trying it up again. Here’s why. I have tried every drug known to man for migraine headaches. The depakote I am on now, not only does not work, but it has unpleasant side effects. It makes me veeery hungry. I will mow you down to get to that cheeseburger, and then I want two more.  It makes my hands shake (wonderful for doing demos). I also have to have my liver enzymes checked every 6 months to make sure my liver is not going to explode or corrode, or whatever livers do. There are other wonderful side effects that I won’t go into other than to say it causes great stress every month when I have to pay $160 for it. Stress triggers migraines. At least I know I won’t have a seizure when the pharmacist hands me a bill because depakote is used for epilepy too. Thank goodness.

       So last week I talked to my neurologist about medical marijuana, having heard from someone that it helped them.  Although he would not give me a prescription for it, he thought it might be worth a try, and said I could go to any hoochi clinic and get the prescription easily enough. He’ll keep plying me with drugs that have nasty side effects if I want, or I can try the evil weed.

       What do you all think? My artwork might all start looking like the painting above. Now, those of you who say “YES!!!!” will automatically be suspect fellow tokers, so watch yourselves. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just get some rolling papers, go to the spice cabinet and look under ‘O’.

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30 Responses to Medicinal Marihoochi

  1. Nava says:

    “It is no longer illegal to grow it here for medicinal purposes”

    Uh Oh… I can see Bill rushing to his doctor with a list of ailments, and then proceed to the nursery to purchase a bunch of weeds, and start a little green patch in his backyard.

    That is one cheery painting, Lisa. Very evocative, and one that keeps you in. I admire the contrast between the lovely flowers and the broken dolls.

    No advice on turning to the evil weed. I am almost ashamed to admit that I am one of the very few who’ve never tried it. Can I still be considered an artist?

  2. Jala Pfaff says:

    Is that your painting?!

    I sympathize about the migraines. Mine started about 5 or 6 years ago and haven’t stopped, regardless of what I tried. (I was also once on Depakote for other reasons and hated it.) However, the one thing that has actually helped (not cured, but reduced) my migraines was to quit caffeine and quit migraine meds. I was skeptical until I learned that what caffeine and migraine-specific meds do is suddenly shrink the vessels that are inflamed (which is what causes the pain), which makes you feel better…but then there’s a rebound effect within hours, days, or weeks, where the next time those vessels expand even more, causing more pain, etc., etc. A vicious cycle. Good luck to you.
    Oh, and sorry, I have zero experience w/ marijuana, but would be interested to hear if it could help w/migraines.

  3. Rebecca says:

    Great painting, Lisa! I don’t see what the fuss is, either. I think you should try it if you wont get fired from your job for being a user. It has many benefits, and we are a really backward puritan society.

    You are not a sinner with no conscience trying to negatively influence the youth, are you?
    Well then, why not try. Besides, prescription drugs or this drug…what’s the difference, right? Right now, people are committing crimes to get that stuff Limbaugh took, which was a prescription!

    Last rant, pot probably wont kill you, like prescriptions will.

  4. lbtowers says:

    Nava, how did you escape the drug culture of the 80’s? Just smart? And yes, you are an artist. A smart one.

    Jala, yes that is my painting. I guess I should allude to that in the post. And you are absolutely right about the drugs and caffeine and the rebound effect. I drink one cup of half caf in the morning, and THAT’S IT. I’m okay if I stay real consistent. If I drink a cup of whole caf, I pay the price the next day unless I drink the same amount. I would cut it out altogether if I didn’t love a little chicory in my coffee.

    Rebecca, thank you also. You guys are a great support group!!!

  5. PegiSue says:

    I got as far as “Depakote” and just skimmed over the rest. I have to tell you, depakote will make you gain weight!!!! I was on it for a while and gained SIXTY LBS!!!!! Stop it now, you are showing the signs of the weight gain…gonna kill for a cheeseburger!!LOL My doc looked at me after I’d been on it for 3 months and just said “Do NOT take it anymore!!” Well, no shit!!
    I do follow your blog and love it. If you need something else for migrains, DO IT!! I’ve taken “Furinol” (sp?)…and it has helped and has NO side effects. I hope this helps you in some way… Pegi

  6. Jala Pfaff says:

    Hi again Lisa,

    That’s a scary painting. Did you have a migraine while painting it? ;) I drink decaf only (even though we all know it has a tiny bit of caffeine in it). My migraines didn’t really reduce until I quit even the half-caf. Sorry to say.

  7. lbtowers says:

    Wow, sixty pounds Pegi? In 3 months??? I have tried Fiorinal and Fioricet. (I’m telling you, I have tried everything, including biofeedback.) I have been on depakote for a year and a half. I’m actually very lucky in that I have not gained weight. It is just annoying to me and everyone around me who gets tired of seeing me leap across the table when the food is not being passed fast enough because I am so hungry. The drug seemed to work well at first for my headaches. Then I realized I could get generic MUCH cheaper on my new insurance plan, and switched. I only recently told my doctor that, who thinks that the switch was a mistake, and made me go back to brand. I will take that through the next month after I get back from China, and see if it is working. If not, then I’ll get off it and I will start out by cutting out caffeine as well.

    Jala, I probably did have a migraine. Looks like it, huh? Actually, there is a lot of symbolism in the painting. Do you understand it?

  8. Rhonda says:

    Lisa, I really like this painting – it does make you think and look and think some more. I would put it on my wall and wait for the comments :)
    I, too, suffer from migraines and am now on Maltrex (a pill that dissolves on your tongue as soon as you start having the aura and it has been stopping the migraines). I wish there was something you could take to help you. I’m okay unless I overdo something – like caffeine or chocolate or too much of anything, really, or have a change in sleep/wake patterns – like when you travel into different time zones and have to readjust. My dentist even gave me a mouthpiece (called an NTI Device) that helped stop them for a while by stopping the tension in my neck/head.

  9. lbtowers says:

    Very interesting Rhonda. I should have written about my migraines sooner for all this great feedback! It amazes me how many people I know suffer from them like I do including you regular commenters here on our blog.

    Anyway, it sounds like you have the typical hyperexcitable migraine brain which overreacts to everything Rhonda. I don’t get auras anymore, but years ago I did. Is Maltrex a brand new tryptan? I have tried about seven of them, and now I take frova when I get one. None of the others have worked.

    BTW, I don’t know how old you guys are who get migraines, but are you hoping, like I am, that they leave you the hell alone after menapause? I say bring it on–my last hope.

  10. Angela says:

    How could mj be worse than depakote?! Some doctors are so weird.

    I quit smoking pot because…well, for a lot of reasons I guess…but mainly because it makes a person so incredibly lazy – but depakote slows you down too, plus does so many other terrible things.

    I’d try anything else. If it works, I don’t see how managing the side effects of pot would be any different than those of other drugs…

    Although do you remember what it’s like to be stoned? I wouldn’t count on it to get rid of the ‘leap across the table for a cheeseburger’ reaction – I distinctly remember considering doing unimaginable things for a jar of peanut butter! (Considering! I didn’t do them! But still…)
    :)

  11. Jala Pfaff says:

    I’m about to turn 44 and have had them since age 38, which I hear is a pretty common age to start having migraines. Peri-menopause and all. Yes, I PRAY they will go away completely after menopause… When I do get one now (in spite of the no-caffeine and no migraine meds, to avoid the rebound effects of those), it’s ALWAYS triggered at ovulation, PMS, or period time. I.e., it’s always hormonally triggered. Ah, such fun being a woman.

  12. lbtowers says:

    Jala, you are one of the lucky ones to have started so late with headaches. Yours very well may go away with menapause since they are so linked to your cycle. Mine are not and my doctor is not terribly hopeful.

    I got an email from someone who read this post, and I thought I should cut and paste it here since it is further valuable information supporting the idea of cutting caffeine out of the diet:

    Hi Lisa,
    I’m a fellow migraine sufferer. I diminished the number and severity of them by quitting everything that contained caffeine – including the migraine pills that contain caffeine!!! That means no chocolate, no coffee, no Coke or Pepsi or other forms of Cola, no regular tea nor jasmine tea nor green tea nor mint tea with regular tea in it. I’m very good at reading labels now. If it doesn’t say caffeine free, its’ not for me. Decaf coffee is alright. That being said, I used to take very expensive medicines for migraines and now take Naproxen. If I take it early enough, I don’t get the headache. I just get a bit sleepy and it takes about half an hour for the symptoms to go away. They are way less expensive than all the other pricey Migraine meds I took.

    Anonymous

    Now, after suffering from these headaches for 25 years, I know lots about them as well as how caffeine can be a detriment. However, out of ALL the doctors I have seen, never has one of them INSISTED that I cut out caffeine altogether. You guys have inspired me so much. As soon as I get back from China, I am going to get off of everything, I promise. INCLUDING DOCTORS!!! You guys are great!!!

  13. You asked for age and whether menopause ends migraines. I turn 60 this year, and menopause did not end my migraines. However, I do hear from one of my doc friends that age does end the migraines for many people.

    Marijuana does not help migraines.

    It sounds like you’ve tried the triptans, which have been an answer to prayer for me. Imitrix usually works for me, although occasionally (usually if it viral) I still suffer. But gone are the days when I regularly could do nothing except stay in a dark quiet room and pray for relief.

    I’ve also learned to avoid the triggers; loud noise (including most of my kids’ “music”), smoke (esp. tobacco), most alcohol, aged cheeses, CHOCOLATE, dehydration, bright (esp. flashing) lights, strong smells (esp. most perfumes), smoked meats or fish, or nutrasweet. Stress, bad sleep, or too many skipped meals can also bring on headaches for me. Being in the car a long time can also do it.

    So … my ideal life is somewhat monastic. :~)

    Those darn hormones do wreak havoc on the brain, esp. when levels fluctuate. Pain pills are worthless and just make you drunk.

    Sometimes an antihistamine and ibuprofen can knock down a migraine for some folks.

    I hope your doc can help you find a migraine med that works for you. You have my sincere sympathy, dear Lisa.

  14. Katrina says:

    You are a good artist, Lisa. It’s a diconcerting image though.
    As for looking in your medicine cab, as long as “O” isn’t for Oliander. We may not see you after that…

  15. Jala Pfaff says:

    Cutting out all caffeine (including migraine meds!) is painful in and of itself for a few weeks, but giving it all up did really reduce my migraines, that’s all I can attest to. When I do have them, they are definitely still triggered by noise, bright lights, car rides, etc. …same as for most migraine sufferers.

    I’m embarrassed to say I DON’T understand this painting! What’s it about? I see dismembered dolls and one with a bullet in her head?? …??

  16. lbtowers says:

    Diana, your comment was a bit like Debbie Downer, but we are talking about the reality of migraines. No menapause cure, no pot remedy. Darn. Forva is the only triptan I have found that works for mine when the depakote fails me. I hate the stuff though because it leaves me completely wasted for the rest of the day. I actually cannot take ibuprofen anymore because hurts my stomach. Doesn’t work anyway. Gee, now who sounds like Debbie Downer?

    As far as the painting, the dogwood is a symbol of Christ. I painted this as a result of my disillusionment with organized religion. Does that help?

  17. Nava says:

    Well… the drug culture wasn’t as wide spread really exist in my home country. Nor did the drinking culture. Coffee is my addiction :-)

  18. Jala Pfaff says:

    Hm, maybe because I’m Jewish Buddhist Agnostic, I didn’t get the symbolism. Or maybe I’m just dense? Or maybe it’s because *I* have a migraine.

  19. Jala Pfaff says:

    P.S. My ideal life in terms of health and my brain seems to be also rather “monastic” (ref. Diana).

  20. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for the comment about having energy!! ROFLMAO! Well, I try. Need more espresso…

  21. Nava says:

    Lisa, a little surprise is awaiting you on my blog.

  22. Rhonda says:

    Lisa, hadn’t gotten back to check the posts lately so am late in responding to your question about the Maxalt-MLT (it is rizatriptan benzoate) orally disintegrating tablets and yes, expensive ($50 for 9 pills but you cut them in half and I can get rid of a migraine with half dose if I take it ASAP).
    Perhaps the natural way is best and I am mostly caffeine free in my life but other things (like strong perfume in a crowded room or flashing lights) once cannot avoid all the time.

  23. Dar says:

    I’m a big fan of Dr. Oliver Sacks. I have not read this one, http://www.oliversacks.com/migraine.htm, but it’s on my to-do list.

    I understand there is a genre of migraine and aura art. Have any of you experienced migraine related creativity?

  24. Katrina says:

    Steven Halpern puts a newsletter out and has a yahoo forum in regards to his healing music. Have you thought of pursuing healing through sound?
    http://www.innerpeacemusic.com/

  25. lbtowers says:

    Thanks for the nod Nava. All of you reading this need to go check out Nava’s site and after looking at her wonderful work, be sure to read about how funny we are.

    Dar, I read an Oliver Sacks book early on in my history of migraines. In fact, it was very helpful. And no, migraine and creativity is an outright contradiction in terms in my book. Oh, I’ve had those dancing little auras, but it doesn’t make me want to recreate the damn things.

    And thanks for turning me onto that site Katrina. I totally love that music and want to buy or download a CD now for my Ipod and trip to China next week.

  26. wrjones says:

    Lisa – have you thought about healing through touch and giving your paints away?

  27. I had to chuckle at the question about healing through sound because sound is not anything most migraine sufferers can stand. Healing though quiet would be more like it.

    Bill’s suggestion is actually a good one. Massage might help. Leave off the goofy music and the strong smelling oils, however.

    Lisa, I’m with you on the contradiction of creativity and pain. Although emotional pain might produce creativity for some people, searing pain in the brain just makes most folks head for a dark quiet room.

    And please don’t give your paints away. Paint another day (preferably when you don’t have a headache).

    BTW, there is a whole list of migraine triggers that might be useful. I was surprised by several items when I looked it up lately (ripe bananas and avocados).

  28. lbtowers says:

    You are totally right Diana. When it comes time for that one-sided miserable pain, sound is THE last thing I want to experience. However, I have a thing for ambient or white sound which drowns out little noises that annoy me. The music Katrina referred me to is kind of on that level, and if I get stuck between a baby and a drunk on my flight to or from China, I’m going to need something feeding into my brain that ain’t bawling or brawling.

    Yes, massage totally helps too (no, Bill). Smells also do me in. I can get a headache from being hugged by someone with perfume on who deposits their scent on me. On my trip to and from China, I will be stuffing cottonballs up my nose as well.

    I’ve tried all those triggers, or rather not tried them. Food does not seem to matter. I could be wrong though.

    I just can’t lead a monastic life, which is part of the problem. I am no nun (watch it, Bill).

  29. I hope your plane ride is not too awful and that you do manage to get some regular sleep (so important so as to avoid those nasty headaches!).

    Hope you see lots of wonderful and beautiful places and people!

  30. ivdanu says:

    I’ve read (and even try it it some succes) that if you drink more water (some pot smocking on the side doesn’t hurt, either…) you can get rid of the migraines…Best luck with that, Lisa!

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