MIGRAINE HEADACHE / POWDERED CANNABIS:
The pain killing properties of Cannabis were known to western medicine since the time of the Roman Empire. But it wasn't until after O'Shaughnessy (1839) published his findings on the medical properties of Indian Cannabis that its use in western medicine became wide spread. Soon the Medical Journals were carrying article after article, praising its general pain killing properties. But oddly enough, it wasn't until the 1870s that its use for migraine headaches began, and not until the 1880s that it was widely recommended and used for migraine.
9.0 - OF MIGRAINE HEADACHE and POWDERED CANNABIS:
9.1 - CANNABIS AND MIGRAINE HEADACHES:
"Migraine refers to a type of headache that is seriously disabling and vascular in nature with attacks lasting between 3-4 hours to 3-4 days. Spasm and narrowing of the blood vessels leading to the brain produces a migraine "syndrome". Reduced blood to the brain causes lower oxygen levels, which in turn triggers the release of the brain chemical serotonin and the vasodilatation of blood vessels outside of the brain that can become congested with platelets. Driving, talking, and walking can become difficult.
Frequent bouts of vomiting (some so acute they prevent oral medications from being used) may occur along with the head pain. Narcotic painkillers must sometimes be used to dull the ache of migraine.
How then might adjunctive therapy with medical cannabis be of benefit to those victims of these terrible headaches?
Cannabis contains a variety of cannabinoids that act synergistically to help relieve migraine symptoms. It is both anti-inflammatory and analgesic in addition to its known anti-emetic properties. History shows that cannabis preparations in the 19th century were widely prescribed for migraine. In England and America, cannabis was the primary drug used to treat "sick headache". Today tinctures are available that are absorbed under the tongue (sublingual) and work in minutes. Inhalation through a vaporizer or smoking can produce even more rapid relief. Absorption of cannabis through the lungs or sublingually is independent of the GI tract so is unaffected by nausea or vomiting. Dose is patient dependent as is easily controlled with either tincture or through the smoking or vaporization. A dose as low as 3-4 drops of tincture or less than a gram of flowers is often sufficient providing long lasting action (4-6 hours)."
Jay R. Cavanaugh, Ph.D. -
[wording used with permission of author: http://www.onlinepot.org/medical/migraine.htm ]
9.2 - MIGRAINE HEADACHE - A PERSONAL STORY:
While in a Wisconsin antique store the owner (after discovering my special interest in the subject) told me about a deceased relative who suffered greatly from severe migraine headaches. She had been seen by numerous doctors and had tried every medication prescribed without result. She was a very law abiding women but (forced by desperation) she first tried, and after that became a regular user, of Cannabis. There simply was no alternative. Nothing else would stop the pain.
After her death an autopsy reveled that part of her spinal column had abnormally grown right into her brain cavity. All agree that in her last years she must have been suffering great pain.
This story is mentioned not to draw sympathy, and certainly not to preach disrespect for the law, but instead to illustrate the desperation that some people are driven to by migraine pain. In the case of this woman and so many others, they quite literally are risking everything:
And all of this is happening in today's world --- NOW imagine a world in which even aspirin has yet to be invented. Cannabis with its pain killing qualities (that in some cases even today have no equal) truely must have been a Godsend.
- They risk drug asset forfeiture laws.
- They risk their children being taken away from them.
- They risk jail, the taking away of their very liberties.
- They risk losing their very right to human dignity -- the label DRUG ABUSER.
9.3 - DEADLY HEADACHE CURES:
Given today's over the counter painkillers, it is difficult for the average person to even imagine a world in which even aspirin had yet to be invented. In a world where even a simple headache could disable you for the day and a migraine could totally disrupt the rest of your life.
Many would risk their lives daily to alleviate the pain by using what they must have known to be dangerous medications.
It is interesting to note that Samuel Adams (author - The Great American Fraud) never accused the Mfg. of headache medicine "Orangeline" of quackery, only that people were risking, and some times losing, their lives by using it. A risk, it seems, the users were willing [with full knowledge] to take. Sadly, the history of medicine is full of such stories.
For Migraine Sufferers, Cannabis must have truly been a God Send.
CHAPTER 9B - POWDER CANNABIS:
9.4.1 - MIGRAINES AND CANNABIS POWDERS:
Question: What do Migraine Headaches and Cannabis Powders have in common?
Answer: To the reader at this point the answer should be obvious; Cannabis is/was used to treat migraine headache pain. But exactly Why powder Cannabis, needs some further explanation.
Technically most Cannabis Antique Collectors classify Powder Cannabis as just another form of Bulk or Raw Cannabis, which included:
Thus technically, Powder Cannabis should really have been included as part of Chapter 5, which deals specifically with Bulk Products. However, unlike the other Bulk products, which were mostly sold/traded in large quantities within the pharmaceutical industry, Powder Cannabis was also, [very actively] sold to end users in smaller 1 oz containers.
- Bulk or Raw Cannabis:---- The dried flowering tops of the Hemp plant
- Solid Form:---- Highly compressed loose leaf or powder Cannabis
- Granulated Form:----
- Powder Form:---- [Raw Cannabis, milled into a fine powder]
[1919 Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical Catalog]
9.4.2 - Headache and Head Pains:
With this in mind, let's return to the original question: What do Migraine Headaches and Cannabis Powders have in common? Or at least, why did this author group the two subjects together? Perhaps the best way to explain is to first show a couple of pages from the following book, "Headache and Head Pains; A Ready Reference Manual for Physicians, by Walton Dutton [copyright 1939].
Throughout this book, numerous compound drugs (making use of Cannabis) are given for the treatment of Migraines. The following are just two examples:
[Just two to the numerous compound drugs mentioned and recommended by the book for Migraines]
But just as often, Cannabis of-and-by itself [as a stand alone drug] was also recommended.
[Cannabis being recommended as a stand-alone drug]
Which brings up yet another question: How was/is the average user to self-administer an oral prescription for Cannabis? While tinctures were also recommended, the logical choice would be as a fine powdered, which can be brewed [just like tea leafs], swallowed directly, or mixed with some other kind of food product. This then is why this author has included Cannabis Powders within this Chapter, instead of the Chapter on Bulk products.
And as can be seen from the number of small 1 - 4 oz Powdered Containers, the pharmaceutical companies were also in agreement.
9.4.3 - GELATIN TABLES:
An often ignored but natural use for Cannabis Powder was in the form of (Gelatin) Tablets. This allowed pharmaceutical manufacturers to take physiologically standardized Cannabis and package it into pre-measured amount.
Gelatin Tablets were/could be used to contain both pure Cannabis as well as compound drug formulas in which Cannabis was but one ingredient.
[1919 Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical Catalog]
CHAPTER APPENDIX - A:
For those interested below is a partial list of Medical Magazine articles on the subject: [See Appendix B for more information]
THE ALKALOIDAL CLINIC (Abbott Labs)
[e]- CANNABIS. - Vol. 3, 1896 page 48-49 [Dr. recommends Cannabis for Head Pain etc.]
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF THE MEDICAL SCIENCES
[S-Jan 1906 pp 165] "Cannabis India in Migraine" G. Caron De La Carriere
BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL
[S]- "Treatment of Sick Headache" Dec 21, 1872 pp25
THE ECLECTIC MEDICAL JOURNAL
[e]- "CANNABIS INDICA IN HEADACHE" By Sydney Ringer, M. D. Jan. 1870 pg.35.
JAMA - JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
[S]- MACKENZIE, S.: Indian Hemp in persistent headache, journal of the American Medical Association, Chicago, 1887, 9, pages 731-732. See also British Medical journal, London 1887, 1, page 98; also Pharmaceutical journal and Transactions, London, 1887, 17, page 608.
[S]- FOX, R. H.: Headaches, a study of some common forms, with especial reference to arterial tension and to treatment (with Indian hemp], Lancet, London, Aug 7, 1897, 2, pages 307-309.
INDIAN MEDICAL RECORD
[S]-- BROOKES, W. L.: "A case of recurrent migraine successfully treated with cannabis Indica", Indian Medical Record, Calcutta, Nov. 16, 1896, Vol. 11, page 338.
[S]- Jun 1872 pg. 85 "Cases of Sick Headache treated successfully by Indian Hemp"
[S]- Feb 1873 pp 25 "Treatment of Sick Headache" (British Medical Journal of Dec. 21, 1872)
[S]- Feb 11, 1899 pp 164 "Treatment of Headache" By Joseph Collins
[S]- Feb 18, 1899 pp 204 "Treatment of Headache" By Joseph Collins
[S]- Feb 23, 1901 pp 300 "Every-day Headaches" (Medicine Jan 1901) Hugh T. Patrick
[S]- July 18, 1885 pp 80 "Migraine"
[S]-July 19, 1890 pp 53 "Recent Observations in the Etiology and Treatment of Migraine" Wharton Sinkler
[S]- Feb 3, 1894 pp 132 Therapeutic Notes - Formula for Migraine
[S]- Mar 3, 1894 pp 230 The Causes and Treatment of Migraine" H. Gradle
[S]- May 29, 1897 pp704 Formula for Migraine
[S]- Jan 1, 1898 pp 20 "For the Relief of Migraine"
[S]- Oct 3, 1903 pg. 630 "Treatment of Migraine" by B.K. Rachford MD.
MEDICAL AND SURGICAL REPORTER
[S]- Feb 7, 1885 pp 184 "Cannabis India in Sick Headache" Francis F. Brown (Bosten M. and S. Jour Oct 23, 1884)
[S]- Apr 25, 1891 pp 468 "Treatment of Headache" (University Medical Magazine April 1891)
[S]- Apr 9, 1892 pp 576 Formula for Headache Capsules
[S]- Aug 5, 1893 pp199 Formula for Migraine
[S]- May 12, 1894 pp 694 "The Causes and Treatment of Migraine" H. Gradle (Chicago Medical Recorder)
MERCK'S ARCHIVES (pub by the Merck Co.)
[S]- Vol. 3 Feb. 1901 - TREATMENT OF HEADACHES - Page 68
[**]- Vol 14, Oct. 1912 "Migraine: its etiology, symptomatology and treatment" by John Banister. A long article, only mentions cannabis in the treatment section.
THE PRACTITIONER - Publisher - Macmillan and Co.
[e]- 1872 Vol 9 - pp267 - "Cannabis in the Treatment of Migraine"
[e]- The treatment of migraine with Indian hemp - 1888 Vol. LXI pp 35-38 By Richard Greene
 - For those of you who have not yet read Chapter 7, Cannabis was/is almost exclusively an oral medication.