Cluster Headaches, Weed & You

Thread starter #1
I thought I'd make this post in an effort to help those who, like me, suffer from what are known as "Cluster Headaches".

First, we need to know what a cluster headache is - as the name suggests, these are headaches that come in clusters; the description from the "migraine trust" website follows:

Migraine Trust UK said:
Cluster headache is a rare type of headache that affects about 1 to 2 people in every 1,000. It is one of the most painful conditions an individual can experience, described as excruciating and even more debilitating than migraine.

The symptoms of cluster headache are very typical. The pain in your head is always unilateral (one sided), although for some people the side can vary from time to time. The pain is usually centred over one eye, one temple or the forehead. It can spread to a larger area making diagnosis harder.

During a bout of cluster headache the pain is often experienced at a similar time each day. The headache often starts at night waking people one to two hours after they have gone to sleep. The pain usually reaches its full intensity within 5 to 10 minutes and lasts at this agonising level for between 30 and 60 minutes. For some people the pain can last for 15 minutes, for others 3 hours has been known. It then stops, usually fairly abruptly.

You may experience the head pain every other day during a bout, or up to 8 times per day during a bad cluster.

In about 80% of people with cluster headache the bouts (or "clusters") of head pain last for 4 to 12 weeks once a year often at the same time and often in the Spring or Autumn. It may then disappear for several months or even years. This is known as episodic cluster headache. The reason for this seasonal timing is not completely known, although it is one of the key aspects of diagnosis and may involve a brain area called the hypothalamus. The remaining 20% of people do not have these pain free intervals and are said to have "chronic cluster headache."

People with cluster headache are usually unable to keep still during an attack and often try to relieve the agonising pain by pacing the room or walking outside, sometimes even banging their heads against a wall until the pain subsides.

Other symptoms which are characteristic of cluster headache are a blocked or runny nose, and on the same side of the head as the pain, a drooping eyelid and watering and redness of one eye. Many people also experience a flushed or sweating face.
All very informative and exciting.
The informational fact sheet continues to discuss the following triggers; that is to say, things that can deliver the headaches to you:

Migraine Trust UK said:
Alcohol is one well known trigger of cluster headache, often bringing on the pain within an hour of drinking. If you have cluster headache you should not drink any alcohol during a cluster period. Once the bout is over you will be to drink alcohol again.

A significant number of people find that strong smelling substances such as petrol, paint fumes, perfume, bleach or solvents can trigger an attack. During an episode of cluster headaches you should try to avoid these things.

Some people find exercise or becoming over heated will bring on an attack, so again avoiding these is the best advice during a bout.

Research has showed that heavy smokers are at an increased risk of developing chronic cluster headache so giving up smoking or cutting down is worth considering.
Clearly, for anyone who smokes, has children [and therefore exercises a lot] and likes to have a drink now and then, such a thing can be limiting.

There's good news and bad news for anyone with this condition and I will now deliver it to you in my own meandering way.

Weed as a treatment?
No. Not directly at least.
If you already have the headache, smoking pot WILL amplify the pain by orders of magnitude so vast you'll strain your brain trying to fathom it. I advise anyone currently suffering from a headache; cluster or otherwise, NOT to take weed.

While you're pain free?
Yes. Based on tests that I've personally conducted using my own brain; I've determined that smoking weed can prevent an occurrence of a cluster headache.
There are, however, caveats:
Drink water - obvious but often overlooked. If you do not drink enough water, you're inviting a dehydration headache and for someone like me, that always leads to much worse headaches; i sometimes curse myself for taking the water in litres after I've already gotten the headache as the massive influx of water after the fact always makes it worse. If you've already got the headache, take sips, don't down pints in seconds (especially if it's very cold!)

Don't smoke it if you're very tired; if you sometimes smoke a bit of weed to get you to sleep because, for example you suffer insomnia, don't smoke it if you're already tired enough to be able to get over to sleep. The extra hour or so it will take you to sleep is a small price to pay to avoid losing a whole night's sleep to an evil headache that wants to ruin your life and get you fired from your job.

Do not mix it with alcohol; this is a recipe for pain the likes you've never known and if the headache does come, the vomiting will almost certainly accompany. I cannot stress this particular point enough. Don't mix weed and alcohol. Yes, your friends might get away with it but if you're still reading this post then no, you cannot and you never will. It's just the way it is.

Don't engage in strenuous activity, such as (but not limited to) sex, sports or evading capture by police officers. Anyone who gets this type of headache already knows this. Putting weed into the mix will just fuck you up worse. Your head will just beat like a second heart, hurting you in waves that are in sync with your pulse and the faster your pulse, the faster the waves. It's not great.

Do not over-smoke. Again, this should be obvious but guys will be guys and will show off in front of their mates, clearing massive bowls and rolling 20-skinner joints just to look cool. If it takes you one decent size joint to get comfortably stoned, stop there. Don't race through your stash and end up with a headache because we know that when that happens, your whole stone is blown and you just wasted whatever you smoked.

Avoid loudness; anything from an argument with the missus to Sin by Nine Inch Nails can download a fresh headache whether you're stoned or not, but it's more likely when you're stoned.

Turn the heat down but not too far down: Try to keep your head (at least) at a comfortable temperature; if it's too hot or too cold, you're basically fucked and take it from me, trying to normalise your temperature after you get the headache won't make a damn difference.

Avoid certain substances; whether you're stoned or not; as a fellow Cluster Headache sufferer, you'll already be accustomed to avoiding too much sugar, caffeine, nicotine and yeast. The three stimulants are obvious, however, the yeast can be insidious as fuck; that delicious crusty roll you had with your soup a few hours ago can work against you and you won't have made the connection. it took me YEARS to make that connection. You're welcome.

Don't smoke when you've got any illness that affects your sinuses; colds and flus. You're getting a headache anyway, so just ride it out and treat yourself to a fattie once you're done with the tissue box.

Be prepared: when you run out of weed, it's highly likely that a cluster fuck is coming your way. Usually within the "comedown" period. A way in which I counteract this is to take two paracetamol tablets, a good meal and an early night.

So, in conclusion (the tl;dr version)

Weed can be used prophylactically if you stay inside your sandbox.
Weed will exacerbate an existing cluster headache.
If the weed took away your headache then it was a weak headache and you're a lucky duck.

Thank you and goodnight
 
Low pressure headaches? After YEARS of tests, blood work, journals, caffeine, CTs, MRIs and myliograms (spellcheck) I think we finally have a good diagnosis of my mother's headaches. Low spinal fluid pressure.
I say WE because my wife and I have been there many many times in the ER, holding vomit buckets, cold rags, hot rags and wiping tears for my mother. Mom often says she would welcome a migrain over her pressure headaches. After much discussion, we talked mom into trying cannibis. I'm NOT going to the neighborhood weed guy, I will only let her try pot that I grow. I've had two failed grow (once, my failure, second, bad seeds).
I've ordered Gage Green Freedom Baby seeds from Herbies because of a higher cbd content. Mom has never smoked, so I'm worried about any paranoia that she may have while high. We will certainly be there the first few times.
She is not too keen on smoking, so was wondering... Have you had any expirence with the oil or edibles? If we get her to smoke I'm buying a vape for her, she had never smoked cigarettes and the last thing I want is for her to start coughing.
It's interesting that smoking while you have a headache makes it worse, but it makes sense I guess.
So back to my question, oil and edible expirence?
Thanks in advance
 
I want to thank you for writing this post. While I was reading your post, it felt as if I was reading my mind. You put it in words very well.

As a sufferer of Cluster Headache, it took me a while to conclude the problem I had. Visiting doctors was an experiment. Starting with casual headache, to Sinus related problems, to Migraines, to Teeth related problems, to vision related Eye problem. But the bottom-line is that nobody was able to do a successful diagnosis. Tests included CT Scan and what not. All the doctors could do was experiments.

One unfortunate thing I've suffered in dealing with my CH is, I started taking medication (pain killers) which put severe side-effects on me. I took medicines, to suppress my pain, a combination of paracetamol and ibuprofen. This eventually led to Chronic Ulcers in my intestines, something which now has broken my will to fight CH.

A couple of months ago, on my own, I came to the conclusion that Marijuana was very very effective in suppressing my pain. Irony is, I can't share this information with everyone, you know, because we are taught to treat these substances as BAD

Now with your post, I have more data points that my belief was probably correct.

As I mentioned, everything you've mentioned applies to me. I really like the logic you put about water. It is spot on.

The only point which has gotten me curious is your comment about engaging in strenuous activity. My personal experience has been that anything that involved head movement, was felt unpleasant overall, eventually resulting in me having to avoide it completely. This includes, Crunches, Pushups etc.
What has been your experience so far ? Have you been able to pleasantly do physical exercises ? If only a sub-set, which ones ?


Thanks.
 
Allow me to play a possible devil's advocate here. Psilocybin mushrooms (yes magic mushrooms) have been proven to help with cluster headaches. I don't have the research link to post at the moment but I'm sure you could look it up if you're interested. Psilocybin is illegal to grow in all 50 states but it's not illegal to buy and obtain the spore prints in most states for looking at through a microscope. Like I said, I'm playing a bit of a devil's advocate in that they are illegal but it's a definite aid to those with cluster headaches and I know a few people that treat them with psilocybin mushrooms successfully. It's an all natural cure to a problem so why not try it?
They can be surprisingly easy to grow and you can microdose with them without hallucinating. You can even brew a tea with chopped up mushrooms and no one would ever know. You only need to learn about sterile procedures and get a few basic tools. If you're curious head over to the shroomery.org .
 

voduk

New Member
I suffered terribly with cluster headaches twice a year for 8 years i had been smoking hash(solids) and then later on weed for 20 years. It never once seemed to help with the pain. Then one year i decided to drastically cut down on my drug use and to my amazement the cluster headaches went away and never came back. I dont know if there was any link but thats just how it worked for me. I gave up smoking weed for good after that.

Im not anti weed at all im just sharing my experience.