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Jun-30-2008 17:09printcomments

Marijuana Vs. Migraines: Modern Medical Miracle

Phillip Leveque has spent his life as a Combat Infantryman, Physician, Toxicologist and Pharmacologist. He is an expert in medical marijuana treatment.

Salem-News.com
"Perfect marijuana leaves"
Photo courtesy: seedsplaza.com

(MOLALLA, Ore.) - Migraine headaches are possibly one of the most misunderstood maladies of man. The Merck Manual states “The cause is unknown and the pathophysiology (mechanism) is not fully understood.” Except that it has something to do with brain blood vessel dilation/constriction; nobody seems to know what is going on here. If I’m wrong about this I’m sure I will hear plenty.

To save myself professional embarrassment, I checked the Merck Manual. One would think some mad scientist produced the highly diverse pot pourri of drugs which have been used to alleviate these severe and paralyzing headaches, with nausea and vomiting, which affect some 10 million people in the U.S.

To start with, migraines are headaches but not all headaches are migraines. Many headaches can be successfully treated with aspirin or Tylenol but, if my patients are correct, they don’t touch migraines. Because of the extremely wide variety of non-effective medicines, which have been used, I take a dim view of any new medicine being heavily advertised on TV.

In my own regular medical practice I discovered that an injection of Demerol with Benadryl was effective but the patient was out of action for at least 24 hours.

When I stared seeing patients for Medical Marijuana permits, I was surprised when the first migraine patient showed up. I knew that marijuana worked for severe pain, nausea and vomiting and I knew that it also causes vasodilatation but I couldn’t quite put the two together, pharmacologically, for migraines.

The light bulb over my head lit up and I said to myself “if the patient says marijuana works for this, and they were willing to pay the $300 clinic and State fee, it must work”.

I ended up with about 30 migraine patients out of 4,000. I have since heard that the California Marijuana doctors, with some 300,000 patients, have the same experience.

I hope readers of this series will write in their own experiences about this.



Got a question or comment for Dr. Leveque?
Email him: Newsroom@Salem-News.com

More information on the history of Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of Phil Leveque about his experiences in WWII.
Order the book by mail by following this link: Dogface Soldier.

If you are a World War II history buff, you don't want to miss it.

Watch for more streaming video question and answer segments about medical marijuana with Bonnie King and Dr. Phil Leveque.

Click on this link for other articles and video segments about PTSD and medical marijuana on Salem-News.com: Dr. Leveque INTERVIEWS & ARTICLES




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:) May 21, 2013 2:58 pm (Pacific time)

I have migrains since I was around 8 years old and it never got any better. Since I started smoking marijuana it all went a little bit more smoothly, the number of attacks decreased and it also made me calm. Now that my mother found out that I smoke weed, she doesn't want me to do it anymore. Lately the headaches are increasing and I really need something to take it off of my mind.. The best thing for me would be if it would be legalised everywhere or atleast here in Belgium. I vote for a petition to legalise marijuana in Europe, who's with me?

Do you want our medical marijuana doctor who is a WWII Veteran to write to your mom?


Anonymous September 1, 2011 7:35 am (Pacific time)

I have recently started having migrain headaches and I have to say it is painful. I recently started smoking marijuana in order to cope with the pain and it helps. Luckily for me I live in Denver where marijuana is legal and I go to this one dispensary closest to my house and get some Kush and it usually takes my pain right away. The bad part is that I am risking being fired from my job because of it.


Summer August 10, 2011 9:57 pm (Pacific time)

I started getting migrains when I was 13. Normaly tylenol or motrine helped , but it would still take days to go away. I would get a migrain about once or twice a month after I started having children. Now I am 29, and about 6 months ago I went blind in my left eye, I was terrified. The ER gave me imitrex which made me feel like my brain was on fire, so no more of that. The last migrain lasted for 1 whole month. it started on the 4th of june. The ER gave me demerol that only worked for a few hrs. My husband, who smokes told me that he hear smoking treats migrains, so of course I smoked it. Migrain gone. at first it I was only migrain free for a couple of hrs but after a few days it did not come back. So I quit smoking for 1 and a half months and go figure I got an aura migrain this evening. I smoked and its gone. I wont quit again! Too bad I live in tx. its still ileagal here.:(


509meds December 14, 2010 2:38 am (Pacific time)

Marijuana cures all pain period. im a patient for migraines and i legally grow some strong weed for pain here in washington st and it works great marijuana is truly Gods gift to us all so f@#k all those ignorent dinosaurs who compare marijuana to meth and heroin, weed is not the problem its the solution so spread the love and support the marijuana movement


JA November 2, 2010 12:34 pm (Pacific time)

I'm kinda at my wits end on what to do regarding my migraines related to a seizure disorder. is there proof that marijuana works in this instance? is it worth pursuing? any thoughts? I'm down to listen and possibly try something that actually works instead of always taking the meds which are killing my kidneys and liver.


Lewis Yearsley October 16, 2010 4:04 pm (Pacific time)

From quite a young age, I suffered with migraines Which would render me a useless mess for a while day each time, as they became more and more frequent, I started to get desperate for a cure which actually works. I ha tried all the tablets and cooling pads and stuff but they were useless and if they did work they would take several hours to take effect. So last year when I was 15, I heard that weed can help migraines, so with no hesitation I smoked some weed, I kept a twice a month dosage of weed and quickly, the migraines became less and less frequent until one last major migraine. Since then I have barely had the slightest head ache. Thank god for weed, it changed my life, please make it legal somone :)


Ashton September 1, 2010 4:57 pm (Pacific time)

I've suffered from migraines my whole life. Ive seen numerous doctors and tryed countless medicines. I eventually found one that reduces the amount of migraines i get but nothing helps the onset leaving me useless. All i can do is go to sleep. I've smoked for about 3 years but didn't realize this was the answer til about a year ago. It was life changing and now every time i had weed and a migraine i smoke of course. It just needs to be legal. It will boost our economy and empty our jail cells!


Ashton September 1, 2010 4:56 pm (Pacific time)

I've suffered from migraines my whole life. Ive seen numerous doctors and tryed countless medicines. I eventually found one that reduces the amount of migraines i get but nothing helps the onset leaving me useless. All i can do is go to sleep. I've smoked for about 3 years but didn't realize this was the answer til about a year ago. It was life changing and now every time i had weed and a migraine i smoke of course. It just needs to be legal. It will boost our economy and empty our jail cells!


Migrainesufferer August 3, 2010 9:26 pm (Pacific time)

I am a migraine suffer for over 20 yrs now and I have been on everything they have comeout with for migraines and none of it has worked. I have tried weeding out triggers and nothing still got them. My friend took me out one day and told me here smoke this with me. at 1st I was hesitant but I did I took two h its off a joint and my migraine was tolerable and I wasnt sick to my stomach. I am tired of "here take this pain pill or this one" But I have to do research cause my hubby is military and not sure how federal law would look at that even if It was legal in the state.


kris.k July 13, 2010 10:15 pm (Pacific time)

im 15 i play sports and get involved in school i suffer from migranes for about 9 years i get them alot like at least 2 a week mostly ive been getting them 3 or 4 times a week to the point were im sick and cant do nothing but my parents dnt want me to do marijuana ive taken all sorts of pills to help they dnt work ive even been given vikaden it doesnt workthough what do i do


Mary June 24, 2010 1:53 pm (Pacific time)

I suffered two concussions (from blows to the same area of my head) in 2006, a few months apart. The second time I nearly drowned because I lost all control of my body. Since then I have constant headaches centered on the area of my head where I was hit. Sometimes it's just a dull discomfort, other times a radiating heat, and, unfortunately, several months after the second concussion I began suffering crippling migraines. I could not work without vicodin, and even that merely took the edge off. When I finally was able to see a neurologist I was prescribed depakote to control the migraines, and I take an extremely high dose every night. I still get 2-5 headaches a week and about one migraine a month, neither of which are helped much. I recently got a prescription for midrin and tried that on my last migraine. It helped me sleep, but it doesn't seem like a good long-term solution, since it puts me to sleep. Another condition I developed a little over a year ago is uncontrollable nausea and vomiting unrelated to the migraines. This rendered me unable to hold down any food or liquid until I went to the ER, where multiple tests were conducted (to no avail) and I was sent home with anti-nausea drugs. When the condition returned after I ran out of those drugs, my doctor put me on reglan, which has been a lifesaver for me. I literally do not think I would be alive today without that drug. As much as conventional medicine has been able to help me so far, I am worried about the long-term effects of all the drugs I am taking for these and other conditions. I want to have children some day, and I know most of my medications will have to be stopped in order to bear a healthy child - especially my migraine medication. I'm also worried about what will happen when my COBRA subsidy expires and I can no longer afford my prescriptions, which are not only costly but also require routine doctor visits. So, I have just recently tried smoking some marijuana when my nausea gets bad. Not only have I noticed immediate and long-lasting relief from the nausea, I have also been headache-free in a way I have not experienced except while on a short course of prednisone. I will continue evaluating the situation on my own, but I do wish I had access to a doctor experienced with medicinal marijuana and able to legally prescribe it.


Andrea June 23, 2010 1:25 pm (Pacific time)

I started suffereing from disabilitating migraines when I was 9 years old, persumably from stress. I would experience nausea, vomitting, dizziness, sensitivity to light and let's not forget the ungodly throbbing in my brain. I suffer from them about three times a year and they put me out of commission for about three days on average. However, 2 years ago i got the idea that marijuana could possibly help mynausea from a cancer patient. Needless, to say not only do I rebound from my migraines faster but I have finally found something that worked because tylenol, advil, etc were not doing the trick. THANK GOD FOR WEED!


thomas k. February 21, 2010 10:39 am (Pacific time)

i've had debilitating migraines since i was around 10 years old, every day. i'm sure it stems from head trauma, when i was a child i was accidentally hit in the forehead by a wooden baseball bat. i was never taken to the hospital, but i was knocked out on the ground for some time, and weeks after i had streaks of internal bleeding running from my forehead to my neck in nearly every color. (my school teacher sent me to the office because she thought i was wearing face paint). but now i'm almost 21, i dont smoke cigarettes and i dont drink any alcohol because they are one of the many countless triggers. the worst trigger i know is red dye. I eat totally healthy all natural food now, and i'm still sick ALL THE TIME. my immune system seems weak, i'll go outside for 10 minutes, and if there's any moisture in the air i'll catch a severe cold for weeks on end. ANYWAYS i have much faith in marijuana, i did not start smoking until i was 19, but since then i try to smoke every day, it helps me eat more (i weigh 130lbs, a bit low for a nearly 21 year old male) and it takes away the daily pain i go through, sometimes the pain in my head is so bad i can feel my head pulsing and i swear it feels like it's about to burst open. on top of that i am a happy person, intelligent, i have faith in some of humanity, but when i have migraines i think of killing myself to end the pain. I'm at the highest utmost risk of melanoma cancer, my dad died of it at 40, after at least 5 previous cancer outbreaks. and i have worse condition skin than him. but whats this? i hear HASH OIL can CURE skin cancer too? if i get cancer, i'm going to need to move because i am not going to limit my recovery to the government. They know there are cures out there, but wheres the money in curing everyone? thats all they are after is money, not prosperity. LEGALIZE IT IN TEXAS!!


Jen December 17, 2009 3:24 pm (Pacific time)

I started getting migraines when I was 19...I can remember the exact night. I am 26 now, and still get migraines about 3 times a week. My PC and several neurologists have given me countless things to try...from pills to exercises. The only thing that has ever worked (which the "experts" have suggested) is RELPAX. I am currently taking the maximum daily dosage at the onset of a migraine. Thanks Doc, really looking forward to those side effects of early strokes. With that on my mind...I decided to try lighting up at the onset of a migraine. Typically I would take the RELPAX and follow it up with MJ to ease the incapacitating pain in my head. So I packed up the bowl, kept the pills close by...and light it up. What do you know?! The pills remained un-ingested...and the migraine subsided enough for me to function. I held off as long as I could, replenishing the bowl after about 2 hours. After taking only half of my usual dosage, and getting some sleep (thanks to MJ), I woke up pretty much painless. Smoked a doobie...and went on with my day. Migraine didn't return for another day and a half...and so I started the process again. If I didn't have MJ...I wouldn't be able to function as a normal person...I'd be miserable and in pain all the time...who wants that kind of life?! I smoke to prevent, remedy, and feel at ease. Massachusetts needs to get on board to help out us crazy-pained-people.


Jennifer Cortez November 20, 2009 1:23 am (Pacific time)

I am a 23 year old mother of 2. I suffer from a mystery medical disorder that makes me vomit nearly every day. I have been to severl Doctor and have never been diagnosed with anything. They have all been at a loss for an answer as to what is wrong with me. I wake up every morning and lunge for the garbage I keep at the foot of my bed. As soon as I use marijuana I start to feel better and the vomiting and severe abdominal pain subsides. If I don't smoke I continue to be sick the rest of the day. I have lost a ton of weight. My teeth are rotting because of the stomach acid. Some people have tried to say that I get sick because of marijuana. That is absolutely not the case. I have been sick with this sence I was a child. I only started smoking pot a age 16 when I smoked at my birthday because I was tired of puking and wanted to eat with everyone else. After that first time somoking I felt so much better that I went home and told my family what I had done and that it helped me. Even though no parents want their child to smoke anything, they were happy that I finally had something that made me feel ok. It was the first time in a long time that I felt healthy. Now I am a functioning woman. I couldn't do anything before because I was always sick. I missed classes at school all the time when I was to sick to attend. But now I wake up, smoke, and live a normal life. Please vote lo leagalize it in CA 2010. It can help so many people like it has helped me. PS I also get migraine and marijuan helps those also. But that is not my main sickness. It helps so many different things.


Dawnie November 8, 2009 6:03 am (Pacific time)

I've delt with migraines since I was 17, I've tried alot of meds and nothing seemed to help much. about 4 years ago I took a few puffs of Marijuana and wasnt sure If I liked the feeling but realized it helped my head. I use it now to prevent migraines and it really works. I also use it after I get a migraine and it slows it down enough for me to cope. I am 42 years old and it took this long to find something that really works.


Matt August 20, 2009 2:20 am (Pacific time)

I have had migraine headaches for years. I had them in my stomach when I was a young child and by the time I turned 10 they started attacking one eye or the other. Migraines run in my family, granddad had them and my mother and her siblings have them. I have times where I have a migraine for several days even when I get a Nu-bane and phenorgan shot. I have lost jobs due to my migraines. I smoked pot in High School but never thought to try it for my migraines, guess that when you can't stand light or sound and you can't stop vomiting you just don't think of it. I recently smoked with some friends when I started getting the auras signaling a migraine was about to hit full force and within 15 minutes the migraine retreated. I wish that I could legally use medical MJ as this is the most effective medicine I have ever found. I know that the pharmaceutical companies don't want medical MJ legalized because it would put a major dent in their profits but enough is enough! I need something that works and doesn't put me out for the day just to have the migraine come back the next day.


MigraineMan July 24, 2009 1:21 am (Pacific time)

After 12 years without suffering from migraines I fell and injured myself triggering a new onslaught of migraines which seemed to only get worse and worse no matter what the doctors did. 6 months later, I still am having chronic cluster migraines (DAILY) and after a recent 5 day migraine from hell, a friend gave me a birthday present. Together we smoked a couple bowls. MIGRAINE GONE! It was gone for the rest of the day until some lights were flashed in my face (UGH) triggering a new one. I thought I'd try a frova since it's supposed to knock it out and put me to sleep. NOPE. Very disapointing. One other time I ingested pot in cookies and found the migraine stayed away for a couple days with only about 2 hours of altered mental state and a 1/2 hour nap. Compare that to the 3/4 of my day lost on the meds the neurologist was trying on me and THANK YOU Medical MJ would much more make my day. So I'm sold on it's use... now I am just frustrated that it is not legal and thus easily attainable.


sarah July 20, 2009 5:56 pm (Pacific time)

I have hemi plegic migraines that include leg paraylsis on my left side. Often a small amout of marijuana will help me walk better if a migraine is coming on. It does not stop the migraine, but relieves it for a little while. I am also taking dolgic for pain (but never silmultaneously) and I find the dolgic only slightly relieves the pain, but does not stop the limp. Any ideas why?


Alexa July 16, 2009 10:17 am (Pacific time)

I had just graduated from high school only a few months ago. Although marijuana is not legal many kids smoke it reguardless. Throughout high school I had smoke a lot of pot. I had started getting migraines when I was 15. Because they were very infrequent it wasnt a huge problem. Now I have been getting them 5-7 times a month. I had been visiting the doctor many time within these months and nothing has seemed to work. I thought id experiment with pot and my migraines. I wanted to see if this drug would help my migranes. It helped significantly. Although it didnt completely get rid of my migraine, It certainly helped my pain level.


mr migraine June 6, 2009 7:25 am (Pacific time)

being a migraine sufferer for 15 years i recently started to use cannabis to alleveite the pain it worked wonders compared to other so called treatments i had no sickness or the throbbing horrific pain i dont understand why medical professions do not want to recognise this as a treatment i thought their job was to help people with illnesses not to dismiss what they are being told works i garauntee that 95% of sufferers would find it beneficial why are we not being listened to and surely it would be a cheaper treatment for god sake it grows in the wild and has no manufacturing process i hope people agree with what i say


Suzie June 1, 2009 8:58 am (Pacific time)

What I want to know is how to use marijuana for pain management without getting so loaded I can't function. I have a life. I work. I need to know a way to get the benefits for pain management and still be able to function.


Stacy May 17, 2009 7:16 pm (Pacific time)

I am 27 and have had migraines my whole life. I have tried all the usual medications, but none worked that well. I have had them increasingly in the last two years since I started a stressful job. Marijuana is the only medication that makes my migraines virtually disappear. It's quite dramatic. Vaporizing is much healthier than smoking. I never cared much about the medical marijuana debate until I realized how effective this is for migraines. I think it is ludicrous that migraine sufferers throughout the country are not permitted to legally use marijuana to treat this debilitating problem.


Michelle April 20, 2009 5:16 pm (Pacific time)

Marijuana has been more effective for my infrequent, but very severe, migraines than any other prescription medication I have tried- including even narcotics. Many opponents claim that marijuana smoke is bad for your health, but what few realize is that there is a way to immediately achieve relief using marijuana WITHOUT SMOKING IT! You simply need to buy a high-quality vaporizer, which will eliminate the smoke and allow you to inhale the very gentle vapor and get effects immediately without having to inhale harsh smoke. This is the future of medical marijuana, and I don't understand why more people don't know about it. Get the word out!!!


Kiki April 10, 2009 10:02 pm (Pacific time)

After suffering a concussion in November, I started having migraines that have grown more frequent over time, to the point where I have them for days at a time now. I don't get the severe pounding headaches, that has only occurred once recently, but instead I get nausea and a dull throbbing headache that doesn't go away no matter what I try, and although my prescription medicine works I have tried not to take it because I had no refill. I recently started smoking pot again, and have realized that on the week-ends when I smoke I can concentrate and work longer hours at my computer without having a migraine start. Although I have yet to test to see if it helps any, I realized last time I had a migraine start getting really bad, after I took my medicine I agreed to go smoke with some of my friends, and I felt instantly better after. Unfortunately I get randomly drug tested and hate having to smoke, but if it will help, I'm not going to stop.


Katie April 8, 2009 6:53 pm (Pacific time)

I am 18 and i have been smoking bud since i was 15. i get chronic migranes every day and weed is the only thing that helps me. it needs to be legalized. there is too much of a demand. my school does random drug testing and i tested positive so now i cant smoke and every other med ive tried hasnt come close to how much weed helps me. its the only cure for some people


richard February 11, 2009 6:50 pm (Pacific time)

im a 19 year old man. i have been having Migraine headaches for about 15 years, and when i was 16 i tried weed with some friends.i had a Migraine that day and they talked me in to smoking it to get rid of the Migraine and to my surprise it got helped out tremendously. im just to afraid to try to get it from my DR., how can i go about this the right way?


Terri January 15, 2009 4:14 pm (Pacific time)

I am 27 years old and I have been getting migraines since I was a little kid, maybe age 8 or so. Asprin, ibuprofen, tylenol and the like don't do much to help even if I can keep them down. I started smoking marijuana when I was 20 and I had really bad post traummatic stress after seeing my husband die and was not able to sleep, eat or function at all. It was the only thing that helped me. Then one day I had a migraine and bad nausea and I thought, hey what the hell, I hear it's supposed to help. It didn't do a whole lot for the pain, but it did help me to relax, and I was able to stop throwing up. My doctor told me she couldn't help and that I should take some Tylenol an give up caffene (which I was avoiding anyway). Now I'm glad that i've found something that can help at least with the nausea, wich is pretty much debilitating. I wish more people would see the benifits of maijuana, and stop thinking of people who use it as a bunch of lowlife bums. There are real decent people out there who are just looking for some relief of their pain without being persicuted for it.


Addie December 25, 2008 6:56 am (Pacific time)

I've been getting migraines since I was 11 years old, and I'm 19 now. This past few days I smoked marijuana a couple times a day and it GAVE me a migraine!


Ronald July 10, 2008 7:00 pm (Pacific time)

Too much money for the DEA? No sir... No way. However, if the FDA were to legalize and regulate marijuana, and heavily tax it, they would make an incredible amount of money, while deterring "criminal activity" like people growing/selling marijuana. When was the last time you saw someone growing their own tobacco? Once the FDA regulates the growing of marijuana, the quality goes up for the consumer, and the need to compete or grow your own disappears. Of course the sell would have to be resricted, like alcohol, and possessing as a minor or aiding minors would be crimes, like alcohol. However, it's really not that complicated. It doesn't even mean you have to give up the drug war. Just focus on the drugs. This would provide a larger budget. You sheep need to do a little background on what you think you know because, surprise, the body has receptors SPECIFIC for cannabinoids (check wikipedia) which is either a strange fate of coincidence (or evolution), either way it stands to reason (in the same way opiod receptors respond to opiates) that these receptors could be used to alter the body. Especially since both opioid and cannabinoid receptors have endongenous ligands that are obviously there for a reason. Umm... I should give up already I know it's hopeless. One last thing--Marinol. One of the active cannabinoids of marijuana has been synthesized and FDA approved for sale in the US. Surprised? Strange they so vehemently charge marijuana as a horrible drug, while at the same time asserting it's medicinal use.


mike in so calif July 2, 2008 2:14 pm (Pacific time)

Being bipolar marijuana a mood altering drug works well in lessing the viscious cycles this debilatating illness causes.100% more effective than pharmacuticals.with less side effects (liver damage,diabeties,ect:).its a shame medical marijuana only said to be unsafe because you smoke it .although THC and other cannibanoids are legal medications.sold in the us.marijuana is not a drug it is a plant.its easier to mass produce dangerous drugs and more profitable .IF MARIJUANA WERE LEGAL 500$ BILLION DOLLAR A YEAR DRUG INDUSTRY WOULD GO BELLY UP.


sts July 1, 2008 12:17 pm (Pacific time)

i agree with thomas, altho, I might add, it makes money for other companies also, such as pharmaceutical industries (who own congress). It was outlawed decades ago because it was a cheap but strong material, and the garment manufacturers did not want the competition. Too many people have been braiwashed by the government propaganda. It leads to harder drugs, and it will kill you etc. All lies and propaganda, and so many people buy into it without thinking on their own. Want to make something illegal? Put the government in jail when they lie, and put people on probation who buy into the lies. :-)


thomas July 1, 2008 10:36 am (Pacific time)

Marijuana needs to be legal. The people want it, and the laws are outdated. It makes to much money for the DEA. That is the only reason for laws against freedom.

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