- About About
Medical Patient Resources Becoming a State-Authorized Patient Talking to your doctor The Medical Cannabis Patient’s Guide for U.S. Travel Patient's Guide to CBD Patient's Guide to Medical Cannabis Guide to Using Medical Cannabis Condition-based Booklets Growing Cannabis Cannabis Tincture, Salve, Butter and Oil Recipes Leaf411 Affordability Program Tracking Treatment & Gathering Data with Releaf App Medical Professional Resources CME for Medical Professionals Cannabis Safety Medical Cannabis Research
- Legal Legal
Advocacy ASA Chapters Start an ASA Chapter Take Action Campaigns No Patient Left Behind End Pain, Not Lives Vote Medical Marijuana Medical Cannabis Advocate's Training Center Resources for Tabling and Lobby Days Strategic Planning Civics 101 Strategic Messaging Citizen Lobbying Participating in Implementation Movement Building Organizing a Demonstration Organizing Turnout for Civic Meetings Public Speaking Media 101 Patient's History of Medical Cannabis
Policy Model Federal Legislation Download Ending The Federal Conflict Public Comments by ASA Industry Standards Guide to Regulating Industry Standards Recognizing Science using the Data Quality Act Fact Sheet on ASA's Data Quality Act Petition to HHS Data Quality Act Briefs ASA Data Quality Act petition to HHS Information on Lawyers and Named Patients in the Data Quality Act Lawsuit Reports 2020 State of the States Medical Cannabis in America Medical Cannabis Access for Pain Treatment
- Join Join
Shirley Hsu, San Gabriel Valley TribuneNot a week goes by that Julie Garcia doesn't get a migraine.
It's not the type of headache you can take two aspirin for, or draw a hot bath and wait it out.
It's a splitting, unrelenting pain that lasts hours and renders her unproductive for an entire day.
'It's just pounding and pounding ... It's awful. It's really awful,' said Garcia, 36, who's been getting the migraines since she was a teen.
Garcia, who lives in Santa Fe Springs, used to take drugs such as ibuprofen and codeine to treat the pain, but worried about the cumulative effect a lifetime of using the drugs would have on her liver.
Then, last September, a doctor recommended that she use marijuana.
'It does wonders for the migraines,' she said. 'It relaxes your head, and the muscles in your head.'
The drug doesn't have the side effects the prescription medications had, said Garcia, who also smokes to relieve the pain from back and neck injuries from several car accidents years ago. The former manicurist is now on permanent disability.
Her case isn't unusual, said Dr. Philip Denney, a family practitioner based in Orange County who now specializes in medical marijuana.
Denney said he recommends marijuana for many of his patients who suffer from migraines.
'Cannabis is one of the best medicines for migraines,' he said. 'It's so effective - it works rapidly, and it has limited toxicity,' although lung damage from smoking is a concern, he added.
Marijuana can effectively stop a migraine from happening if used at the first onset of a headache, Denney said.
What's more, it takes 'relatively small amounts,' to treat some pains, he said. 'People don't have to get high. You don't have to be impaired,' he said.
Meanwhile, Garcia makes the three- or four-hour trip, with traffic, to West Hollywood, where at least seven marijuana 'collectives' or clubs dispense the drug.
A dispensary a little closer - like in Hacienda Heights - would be a godsend, she said.
She also dreams of a day when the medication will be covered by her insurance - she spends hundreds of dollars a month on the drugs, she said.
But for now, Garcia wishes people would stop demonizing the drug and people who use it.
'Drinking is far more dangerous (than smoking marijuana),' she said. 'I don't understand. It gets me so mad - that something so lethal of a killer (is legal) ... and something that can save lives isn't.'
Shirley Hsu can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2306, or by e-mail at [email protected] .