Migraines + Cannabis: Does it Help?
Migraines can be debilitating, stress-inducing, and overall miserable. Migraine is the 3rd most prevalent illness in the world and the 6th most debilitating illness in the world. Every 10 seconds, someone in the U.S. goes to the emergency room complaining of head pain, and approximately 1.2 million visits are for acute migraine attacks (from the Migraine Research Foundation). This winter/spring in Maryland has been less than forgiving for those that are sensitive to the weather, which is one of the top triggers for a migraine! There are many migraine medicines on the market that have helped some that suffer from this excruciating pain -- but too often they are accompanied with unwanted side effects. Then there are those that find no relief with pharmaceuticals. So where does medical marijuana fall into this spectrum?
(Photo from American Migraine Foundation)
First off, what is a migraine? Migraine is not just a bad headache.
Migraines are sudden, strong headaches that often occur on one side of the head and can be described as stabbing, shooting, throbbing, or burning/stinging pain. They can be moderate to severe and can last a few hours up to days. Physical activity often raises the severity of the pain. Some migraine sufferers also can become extremely light and sound sensitive. Nausea, vomiting, and visual disturbances; dizziness; extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch, and smell; and tingling or numbness in the extremities or face can occur during a migraine attack. Depression, anxiety, and sleep issues are common for those with chronic migraines, which is classified as 15 migraines or more a month.
Medical Cannabis for Migraines:
Research shows that medical marijuana may ease migraine symptoms as well as possibly keep them from starting in the first place. A study of 121 people who got frequent migraines headaches was done in Colorado within a medical cannabis clinic. The participants used cannabis daily to prevent attacks and the study found that about 40% of them said the number of migraine headaches they had each month was cut in half, while 14 patients said their migraines were aborted with cannabis use (PubMed). But how?
Every person has an intricate network of cannabinoid receptors through their body that make up the Endocannabinoid System. The body makes some of its own natural endocannabinoids (endo=inside), while plants like cannabis create phytocannabinoids (from the sun = phyto) that interact with our bodies like the ones we make. The Endocannabinoid System keeps our body in balance (maintains homeostasis). When our bodies are off balance, that is when conditions occur. 'Endocannabinoid deficiency has been theorized as a possible cause for migraine and other chronic pain disorders, including chronic migraine and medication overuse headache (Herb).'
THC has been shown to inhibit serotonin release from blood platelets. Serotonin release is responsible for the dilation of blood vessels, which causes the inflammation and pain when those vessels are constricted. Anandamide (one of our body's natural endocannabinoids) can inhibit certain sub types of serotonin receptors. In a study, they found that migraine patients had lower levels on anandamide. Ultimately, if we boost our body's endocannabinoid system with cannabinoids like THC & CBD, it could relieve migraine symptoms and frequency of migraines (GreenFlower).
Cannabis Products for Migraines:
**Please note that the following are all from anecdotal reports from Positive Energy patients and are not from any formal study. Of course, every body is different and the following effects may not be felt on each individual. Trial and error is common with any medicine, and cannabis is no different.
Always consult your doctor if you have any concerns with any medicine.
1) Mary's Medicinals 1:1 Compound
This balm is a transdermal compounds that is equal parts CBD:THC, which helps provide localized relief. Being a transdermal compound, it helps penetrate the skin for deep, cooling relief, which is great for migraine patients. Apply this balm to the temples, the back of the neck, or from wherever the migraine stems. Please note that this product does contain some menthol!
2) Jack Herer - Sativa - Flower
For energizing day time relief, Jack Herer is an optimal flower choice. Patients have reported a reduction in nausea, head pressure/pain, and fatigue. Vaporizing is a great way to get the most from your flower without the agitation of smoke. (Click here to learn about our vaporizers)
3) Lost Coast Hash Plant - INDICA - CartridGe
Pain and insomnia go hand in hand when a migraine hits at night. Lost Coast Hash Plant is an indica cartridge perfect for nighttime relief, which helps ease tension in the body and facilitates sleep to heal. Also in the event you wake up in the middle of the night with pain, this is an easy grab and puff from the night stand!
4) THC - Sativa Transdermal Patch from Mary's Medicinals
Fight daytime nausea and pain with this discreet and convenient patch. Transdermal patches work best when applied to a thin, veinous part of the skin (like the inside of the wrist or top of the hand) so that it can penetrate all layers of the skin into the bloodstream to provide systemic relief. Great for pain, fatigue, and nausea.
5) The Remedy - CBD - Tincture from Mary's Medicinals
With almost 2 mg of CBD per drop, the Remedy tincture helps reduce pain/inflammation. CBD boosts the body's natural endocannabinoids and can provide relief from anxiety and tension, which are often an unwanted component of migraines.
ON-THE-GO ALTERNATIVE to the CBD REMEDY TINCTURE:
PAINKILLER XL - CBD - CARTRIDGE
Painkiller XL, which holds up to its name, is a 10:1 ratio of CBD to THC (high levels of CBD). CBD, cannabidiol, works in the body by boosting our body's own natural endocannabinoids while simultaneously increasing the efficiency of THC. CBD is an effective anti-inflammatory, neuroprotectant, antioxidant, and anti-anxiety amongst many other properties. Patients also enjoy discreet dosing and no smoke from this vape battery cartridge.
Still have questions about these products or other alternative?
Stop by our dispensary in West Ocean City!