September 29, 2020

Medical Marijuana For Migraine – How it Works, Strains & More

Migraine headaches can be difficult to manage. Sometimes, over-the-counter medications are unable to ease pain, nausea, etc. Is there any other treatment option? Studies show that marijuana can help with migraine relief. As a result, more states are considering cannabis legalization, thus making it easier for patients to access the herb easily by applying for 420 evaluations. Since each state has its own regulations for medical marijuana, you should carefully check the local laws to buy, possess, consume, and grow the herb. 

What Causes Migraines?

Migraines usually last for hours, and even days. The pulsing pain can begin from the forehead or sides of the head. If left untreated, migraines gradually get worse. Patients with migraines often experience nausea and vomiting.

Medical experts don’t know what exactly causes migraines. Some doctors believe that the change in certain chemicals (such as serotonin) in the brain can cause migraine headaches. The fall of serotonin levels results in dilating the blood vessels, thus causing pain. 

Some scientific evidence suggests that migraines may run in families. According to the American Migraine Foundation, if one of your parents has migraines, there are 50 percent chances that you experience the same. However, it becomes 75 percent in case both of your parents experience migraine headaches.

Certain foods can cause migraines. These include aged cheese, avocado, beans, chocolate, caffeine, alcoholic beverages, figs, raisins, snow peas, etc. Other triggers of migraines are—stress, a medical condition, and certain medicines.

Traditional Treatment For Migraine

Doctors usually recommend medications for migraine relief. Common medications that can be used for it are—pain relievers, dihydroergotamine, lasmiditan, opioid medications, and anti-nausea drugs. Some preventive medicines can also help ease severe, long-lasting migraines. These include antidepressants, blood pressure-lowering medications, anti-seizure drugs, and botox injections.

Some medical experts believe that cognitive-behavioral therapy can benefit patients with migraines. It’s psychotherapy aimed at teaching how behaviors and thoughts work and how they affect the way you perceive pain.

Clinical trials show that acupuncture may be useful for patients with migraine headaches. The treatment involves inserting fine needles into different points in the skin. Acupuncture usually takes an hour, and patients are recommended to undergo at least 6 sessions, particularly once a week.

Marijuana For Easing Migraine Pain

In the brain and other parts of the body, there exists a network of cannabinoid receptors. These receptors can directly affect how you feel pain. There’s scientific evidence that these receptors are activated by naturally produced cannabinoids to reduce migraine pain. Interestingly, marijuana’s cannabinoids are similar to endocannabinoids. Thus, they can mimic the role of naturally produced chemicals.

Moreover, the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis can help minimize the release of pro-inflammatory substances, which can lead to migraines.

There’s a wide range of studies available on marijuana treatment for migraines. A study by the University of Colorado was focused on evaluating the effects of cannabis use on patients with regular migraine headaches. Researchers found that 40 percent of the total participants reduced the number of migraine attacks by half. The patients used different methods of cannabis consumption and found that inhaling helped ease the pain. However, edibles didn’t work well.

According to a study published in the Journal of Pain in November 2019, marijuana can reduce the severity of migraine headaches by 50 percent. However, over time, users can build tolerance for cannabis. Researchers found that cannabis concentrates could deliver significant benefits than flowers.

A retrospective study published in Neurology reported that cannabis helped 88.3 percent of the participants with improvement in headaches. Moreover, over 50 percent of the patients reduced headache frequency while 38.3 percent of them improved sleep. The study also found that 50 percent of opioid users reduced their use.

Additionally, marijuana is proven helpful for managing anxiety, nausea, muscle spasms, stress, etc. These health issues are directly linked to migraines. 

Related- Fight These Mental Illnesses With Marijuana

Does CBD Work?

CBD is packed with anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea properties, which can help ease migraine symptoms effectively. Research shows that CBD can help reduce pain and inflammation by targeting certain receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system.

CBD delivers calming effects, thus managing overall stress levels. This is beneficial for migraine patients since stress is one of the reasons for triggering migraine pain.

However, many patients require small doses of THC along with CBD to alleviate their symptoms. It’s called the entourage effect. In fact, terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids present in marijuana play a vital role in managing migraines. So, it’s important to check these parameters when buying cannabis from medical dispensaries.

Related- Major Factors Affecting Marijuana High

Cannabis Topicals For Headaches

Applying peppermint oil on the headache, neck, and other areas around can help you get migraine relief. Do cannabis topicals deliver the same effects? A report on preliminary studies said that cannabis is commonly used for managing headache disorders

Not all headaches are equal. For instance, tension headaches begin in the skull, thus tightening neck muscles and delivering an inflammatory response. Cannabis topicals can help reduce migraine pain and other symptoms, such as nausea, sensitivity to light & sound. Some studies show that CBD works like triptans—a family of tryptamine-based drugs that are prescribed for managing migraines and cluster headaches.

Top Strains For Migraine Patients

The type of marijuana strains you consume plays a key role in managing migraine headaches. So, it’s important to check the cannabinoid profile and other details when buying cannabis. We suggest you visit state-licensed dispensaries to purchase marijuana products. To access licensed dispensaries, you require a medical marijuana card signed by a board-certified doctor.

Here are the top cannabis strains for fighting migraine headaches-

  • ACDC
  • Harlequin
  • Pineapple Express
  • Remedy
  • Northern Lights
  • Canna-Tsu
  • Purple Kush
  • OG Kush

Mixing Marijuana With Medications

Medical research shows that cannabis is more effective in reducing the frequency of migraine pain than prescription medicines. The best part is that marijuana treatment doesn’t cause any unpleasant side-effects.

Can you mix marijuana and migraine medicines? Well, we don’t recommend this. When mixed with certain medicines, cannabis compounds may worsen the symptoms.

Additionally, it’s difficult to analyze the effects of both treatments when they are mixed. So, stop taking medicines to check the effectiveness of marijuana for migraine headaches and vice-versa.

Research says that both grapefruit juice and CBD can affect the metabolic process. So, medications that come with a grapefruit warning should not be taken with CBD.

Key Takeaways

Marijuana for migraines is more effective than prescription medications. It contains cannabinoids, which are similar to endocannabinoids produced by the body itself. The cannabinoids stimulate the receptors in the endocannabinoid system, thus reducing the perception of pain. There are different forms of cannabis available, such as flowers, oils, concentrates, topicals, etc. Depending on the severity of your condition, you can select the cannabis consumption method. Moreover, check the levels of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other chemical compounds in marijuana because they play a key role in the type of medicinal effects you receive.

Always choose an authorized source to buy marijuana. In each cannabis legalized state, there is a wide range of state-licensed dispensaries. You can access them only if you have a medical marijuana card signed by a board-certified doctor. Apply for 420 evaluations to get legal access to medical marijuana for your condition.

In light of the COVID pandemic, we advise all our patients to see a doctor online instead of visiting the clinic. Help us flatten the curve by opting for an online 420 evaluation.