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Jul-13-2008 21:31printcomments

Headaches, Headaches, Headaches and Marijuana

Phillip Leveque has spent his life as a Combat Infantryman, Physician and Toxicologist.

(MOLALLA, Ore.) - I recently wrote about migraines and successful marijuana treatment but because "headaches" are supposed to be different I thought I had better muddy the waters.

One week following my article, Marijuana VS Migraines, (see: Marijuana Vs. Migraines: Modern Medical Miracle) The Oregonian newspaper came out with Solving Migraine Mysteries, which to me didn't really solve much. The medical/scientific community historically believed that migraines are some dysfunction of vasoconstriction/vasodilation.

Dr. David Dodick, of the The Mayo Clinic says it's not the blood vessels but the brain.

Dr. Christine Peterson, of the Portland, Oregon, Headache Clinic seems to agree. The strange thing is that if one pokes the brain with a needle or a knife there is no pain.

Migraines frequently have a trigger, which seems to be almost anything. After you read this, I hope you will agree. It seems like the triggers, which cause primary headaches can cause migraines also. It boils down to what causes headaches.

My background as a Forensic Toxicologist started turning on light bulbs over my head. I started going through the index in my head. I knew that carbon monoxide poisoning causes extreme headaches, as does carbon dioxide, etc. from car exhausts. These are not vascular effects but rather effects from lack of oxygen to the brain. Anemia and vasoconstrictors (Ephedrine, maybe) also cause headaches, presumably by hypoxia.

Hydrocarbon solvents and halogenated hydrocarbons like ethyl chloride also cause headaches. Alcohol does as well. Have you ever had a hangover? The mechanism here doesn't seem to be clear. It could be vasodilation.

Nitroglycerine, as for Angina, causes headaches and so do drugs like Viagra. These are by vasodilation of blood vessels, including those in the brain. Conversely, maybe, high blood pressure and hypertension also cause headaches.

Metal fumes of many types cause headaches. Many kinds of pesticides, whether they are chlorinated hydrocarbons or not, also cause headaches. According to The Merck Manual even caffeine withdrawal causes headaches. Maybe this is why many headache remedies contain caffeine.

Fever from any cause frequently includes headaches. If all this hasn't muddied the waters in your achy, breaky headachy brains, what will?

Much of the stuff listed above can be avoided. Many medicines cause headaches, nausea and vomiting. You probably found this out the hard way.

The worst thing about all of this is that one in six women and one in seventeen men suffer migraines yet apparently nobody seems to know the cause. My experience with marijuana verses migraines should come to someone’s attention.

Also see these articles by Dr. Phil Leveque if you have questions about headaches, migraines and marijuana:

Medical Marijuana: Headaches/Migraines


Medical Marijuana Medical Conditions

Phillip Leveque is a physician, toxicologist and WWII Combat Infantryman. Watch for his video question and answer segments about medical marijuana with Bonnie King.
You can email your questions to the doctor:

Other articles and video segments about medical marijuana on

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