CBD: Breaking the Migrane Cycle

I hate to be that person, but when people tell me they know what I’m going through when I get a migraine because “last week they had a really bad headache,” I want to cry. It’s impossible to explain if you don’t get them, and when you find another migraine sufferer, you feel a strange kinship. We’re the only other ones who get it.

While some symptoms are the same (i.e., pain, sensitivity to light), others are different. I feel thankful I don’t get the nausea like some of my migraine-kin, but other symptoms include dizziness, visual auras, sound sensitivity, distorted vision, flashing lights, scalp tenderness, and general irritability. Wouldn’t you feel irritable if you were dealing with those symptoms?

Personally, I suffer from chronic hemiplegic migraine. Don’t google it, the internet makes it sound really scary. Basically, I’ll notice a slight numbness in the tips of my left-hand fingers; then, my vision starts getting…wonky, like someone is messing with the contrast of a TV. Eventually, the visual auras will begin, and I’ll get a blind spot in the middle of my vision. While this is happening, the numbness in my fingers spreads across the entire left side of my body, inching up my face and neck until I feel like one side of my body is totally paralyzed. During this time, usually 30 minutes - 2 hours, I often feel a little confused and generally slower. As soon as those symptoms subside the pain starts, and once the pain kicks in I’m completely useless and destined for my bed in a darkened room. The pain usually lasts a couple of hours, but I’ve had countless migraines that lasted days on end. The problem with using prescription drugs for migraine pain (besides the usual long list of side effects), is that they can be triggers. Many times I’d just suffer from a smaller migraine the next day because of the medication I took to get rid of the last one. For me, the only medication that would work is a lot of Vicodin or a Toradol shot.

But then I started using Care By Design. I began taking their 18:1 soft gels around January because I figured, “what’s the worst that could happen?” I started at the lower 10mg soft gel and worked my way up to the 20mg strength soft gel and noticed immediate positive effects. The most noticeable was that my usual migraine triggers weren’t actually triggering migraines anymore. For years, any kind of perfume would instantly set off an aura, flashing lights would stay in my eyes no matter how long I closed them, and I was generally afraid to be around new groups of people (you have no idea how many people wear perfume and cologne).

I’ve been on a preventative medication for migraines for years, but before CBD I would still get 1-2 migraines a month (that may seem like a lot, but before the preventative medication I was having about one a week). In mid-June I realized something, I had only suffered ONE migraine this year (around February before I switched to the 20mg soft gels). I’ll repeat, for 6 1/2 months I only had one migraine. This is a HUGE deal. This life-changing chronic condition that had changed so many elements of my life was suddenly missing, and I was feeling so good I actually FORGOT I wasn’t having them.

But then my fingers started going numb one morning at the end of June. I was sitting at my desk and noticed the slight tingle/numbness. I felt a little panicky and tried shaking my hand out (maybe it’s just asleep?), but the auras started and I knew what was happening. In that moment I decided to see how much Care by Design would actually STOP my migraine once it started.

I happen to work in a very casual environment, so I took out my 18:1, 8:1 (more THC=more pain relief) and a pad of paper. Here’s the rundown:

  • 9 am: Took 1 18:1 CBD soft gel (20mg CBD : 1.1mg THC)
  • 10 am: Took 1 18:1 CBD soft gel (20mg CBD : 1.1mg THC)
  • 10:20 am: 4 sprays of 18:1 (12mg CBD : 0.4mg THC)
  • 10:55 am: 4 sprays of 18:1 (12mg CBD : 0.4mg THC)
  • 11 am: 2 sprays of 8:1 (5.2mg CBD : 0.6mg THC)
  • 12:15 pm: 3 sprays of 8:1 (7.8mg CBD : 0.9mg THC)

During this time I was functional (once the visual symptoms were gone), and the CBD:THC made the pain tolerable, and finally around 1 pm I felt normal (tired, but normal). Normally, if I were at work and I noticed a tingle I would try to get home as soon as possible before the auras started and to ride out whatever I had coming, but with Care by Design I was able to lead a functional work day.

I had consumed approximately 77mg of CBD and 4.5mg of THC. The two work synergistically, and while there’s a ton of science I don’t quite understand (you can read more about that here), I feel confident the strong anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD worked alongside the pain-relieving properties THC offers. OK, are you ready for the coolest news? Care by Design just launched an 18:1 chocolate bar and the entire bar is 80mg of CBD and 4mg of THC for the entire bar. Time to clear out my medicine bag and refill it with chocolate. I’d hate to say I’m “excited” to try out the new bar when I get my next migraine, but I consider it a win that I’m a little less scared, and a lot more hopeful about the future.

Note: This post contains suggestions that have not been verified scientifically with clinical tests nor reviewed by medical experts. It is anecdotal information and should be treated as such. For serious medical concerns, please consult your doctor.

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