Looking back on my childhood, my mom has always been an integral part of my life. From always making sure I focused on school, driving me to hockey games, and helping to nurture my love for writing, there will always be a special place in my heart for Mom! Unfortunately for me, my mom came of age during a period of Reaganism and DARE propaganda, taking all their lies and misinformation at face value. Until I turned 18, I had never tried cannabis before, mainly because I trusted my mom and didn’t feel comfortable using it while underage. However, not long after my 18th birthday I was at a very comfortable setting (a quiet house with close friends) and decided to take a few puffs on my friend’s joint. Soon after that experience I realized that marijuana is nothing like what it was made out to be, and for several years my cannabis use was one of the few points we argued on. When she found out about that I founded Vaporblog in 2012, even more tension tension arose.
For the past eight years my mom has been suffering from debilitating migraines which leave her confined to bet for about two days with extreme pain (which sometimes results in nausea and vomiting). She has been seeing a neurologist twice a year since seven years ago, and he has had her try a cocktail of legally prescribed hard drugs given to her by her neurologist (Amitriptyline and Zolmig to name a few) which she soon discontinues because they either don’t help at all or make things even worse. As a university graduate with a background in psychology, I began to bring up the topic of medical marijuana from time to time, but was always met with resistance. Over time I’ve been trying to educate her about the history of cannabis as medicine, and have showed her reliable studies which demonstrate that cannabis both relieves pain at a low dose (source) and acts as as a safe, effective, and natural anti-emetic (anti-nausea, link to the study), and she slowly began to warm up to the idea as she becomes increasingly frustrated with a lack of relief (being unable to even focus your eyes due to migraine pain every month can become very tiring fast. Although she was becoming increasingly skeptical about her position, the final straw was when she called me to tell me she wants to try a naturopath who plans to charge an exorbitant fee for what I consider to be scientifically baseless treatment (I did some research into it). When I replied “Mom, tell me you realize the irony of throwing a lot of money towards pseudoscience when a proven all-natural solution exists and is effective in helping treat your symptoms, right?” Hearing me say this made her go silent for a moment, and I knew at that point its now only a matter of time before she tries it.
After coming to the realization that perhaps she may in fact be wrong about cannabis (mainly thanks to my encouragement!), my mom confided in me that because she’s asthmatic (she uses an asthma inhaler daily), she is worried that smoking cannabis would cause breathing problems for her in the long run. I was ready for this, and I explained to her that several studies have actually started to look at how cannabis can be an effective bronchodilator with a mechanism of action similar to a corticosteroid (asthma inhaler). Furthermore, I explained that by using a quality herbal vaporizer, she can achieve all the positive effects of cannabis (pain & nausea relief, and asthma), without producing any tar, ash, or smoke. Now with products such as the OPen emerging in Colorado, I showed my mom that soon she will be able to dose cannabis in almost the same way she uses her asthma inhaler. She is now strongly considering trying a very low dose of cannabis (from a vaporizer) the next time she has the migraine, and I plan to help her every step of the way!
As a potential future dad who grew up in a drug prohibitionist (but otherwise liberal household), my approach to cannabis will be to educate my children about its history, effects, and the importance of abstaining (like alcohol) until adulthood rather than championing prohibition (which doesn’t work in the least). I hope that my children will respect me, and although they may sneak one or two puffs here and there when they’re 16 or 17 (who doesn’t remember sneaking a few beers as a teen!), I want them to know exactly what they’re getting into (and that its okay to call dad to pick you up if you accidentally have a panic attack!). Furthermore, educating adults about learning proper breathing techniques and how to choose the right type of strain, anyone can easily learn how to avoid panic attacks (or work through them with minimum discomfort), and this is why the spread of proper information is key.
Cannabis use was completely legal for over 10,000 years, and illegal for only 82 (starting in 1932), thanks to the noble efforts of Harry J. Anslinger, (who was also a notorious racist). As is the case with my mom, cognitive dissonance can be a powerful thing, but with proper scientific studies continuing to discover the benefits of cannabis combined with the willingness to accept past wrongs, I’m slowly helping her open up to the idea of giving cannabis a try and would like to encourage other readers out there to reach out to family members who are suffering from chronic illness or acute pain from migraines or injury. In the past I’ve done an interview with the musician Chris Daniels who was using medical marijuana in order to cope with his cancer symptoms.
If any readers out there have their own experience with using cannabis to treat their own migraines, please contact me and share your experiences so that I can show my mom!
-James aka “Mr.Vape”