Will Using Cannabis Cure Your Headache?

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Will Using Cannabis Cure Your Headache?
Looking for medical cannabis for migraines?

You’re not the only one.

Whether it’s prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs, the usual painkillers often don’t really work when it comes to headaches and migraines.

But first, what’s the difference between a headache and a migraine?

A headache typically will cause pain. That tight feeling, like someone, is squeezing or applying intense pressure to your head? Yeah, that’s probably a headache. In more serious cases, you might feel nauseous—or actually, vomit too.

Migraines, on the other hand, are more… interesting. It involves a few more senses—if you start seeing odd light flashes or flickering, or for some reason become suddenly more sensitive to light or sounds, that’s often a sign that you’re about to have a migraine. This is in addition to the usual throbbing ache in your head, either on one or both sides of your head. Other common symptoms include dizziness, pain in your abdominal area, hot or cold feelings, or fatigue.

How Marijuana Helps People with Migraines

When you’re having a headache or migraine, it feels like it hurts because your body’s pain receptors are firing—and how cannabis helps with migraines is dependent on its effects on these pain receptors.

Cannabis contains cannabinoids, which are chemical compounds that act on the receptors in your brain—specifically, they dampen your pain signals, meaning you don’t feel the aches and pains as much.

Many chemo and cancer patients might also be familiar with other benefits of cannabis, as it’s known to alleviate symptoms like nausea, nausea, inflammation, anxiety, and more. This is thanks to its two most well-known cannabinoids: THC and CBD.

THC is, of course, what gives cannabis users the “buzz” or high. CBD has a much higher medicinal profile, and it doesn’t get you high, but can be effective at reducing inflammation and treating depression and anxiety.

We’ve mentioned inflammation quite a bit—so what does inflammation have to do with headaches and migraines?

Well, according to some studies, certain migraines may be caused by inflammation—which is why it’s so significant that cannabis can relieve inflammation. It’s been established for quite some time now that cannabinoids, specifically THC can potentially be used to treat inflammatory disorders.

In one clinical trial at the University of Colorado’s Department of Clinical Pharmacy, researchers found that in study participants who used medical marijuana, “migraine headache frequency decreased from 10.4 to 4.6 headaches per month.”

This study was done over four years, and 40% of patients reported positive effects, “with the most common effects reported being prevention of migraine headache with decreased frequency of migraine headache.” Though there were negative effects as well, the most common ones were sleepiness (only 1.7%) and “difficulty controlling the effects of marijuana-related to timing and intensity of the dose (also 1.7%), which were experienced only in patients using edible marijuana”—which is typical for edibles use.

Using Weed for Headaches

For further proof of the effectiveness of marijuana in treating migraines, the University of Georgia did a study on opioid use and cannabis.

The study found that “prescriptions filled for all opioids decreased by 2.11 million daily doses per year from an average of 23.08 million daily doses per year when a state instituted any medical cannabis law. Prescriptions for all opioids decreased by 3.742 million daily doses per year when medical cannabis dispensaries opened.”

This is huge because up until very recently, opioids have been the cause of widespread addiction throughout North America.

Opioids are commonly prescribed for migraines, headaches, and other types of chronic pain. You may have heard of OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet—and there has been fierce debate over whether these drugs should be prescribed as casually as they have been by doctors.

The problem with opioids is that they are highly addictive—they’ve given rise to what is now known as “The Opioid Crisis,” as once they’ve been prescribed and patients are “hooked,” it’s extremely difficult for them to wean themselves off of these drugs.

As an alternative, cannabis for migraines is generally less addictive. In fact, physicians and medical consultants like Joseph Rosado, who works with International Cannabis Solutions (a Toronto-based consulting firm) and is a general practitioner, are prescribing cannabis to patients who suffer from migraines and headaches—but don’t want to be on opioids anymore. “It helps them come off the narcotics,” he says.

If you’re considering using opioids to soothe headaches and migraines, instead take a look at weed as a possible headache treatment.

CBD Oils for Headaches

Marijuana for headache relief doesn’t have to come in the forms of just smoking or edibles; medical cannabis for migraines is often consumed in the form of CBD oils.

As we mentioned above, CBD is the non-psychoactive compound in cannabis that provides pain relief. And with CBD oils, you have a few options to choose from: vaping, dropping it under your tongue with a dropper, having a CBD-infused edible, or in capsule form.

Of these methods, edibles, of course, would take the longest as your body would have to digest the food, whereas vaping and taking CBD oil via a dropper would be the fastest ways to get your headache relief.

Best Cannabis Strains for Instant Migraine Relief

Here are a few types of cannabis for the treatment of migraine headaches to try:
  • Harlequin – This one’s a hybrid that’s heavier on the CBD, so it’ll keep you awake and alert. It still has a decent amount of THC, so this will give you a good balance of relaxation and relief.
  • Girl Scout Cookies – A hybrid that has both the soothing, deep relaxation effect and also powerful pain relief that people who suffer from more serious migraines might look for.
  • AC/DC – AC/DC is known for its high CBD-to-THC ratio, so you won’t feel a buzz at all, but is good at minimizing inflammation—and by extension, the painfulness of migraines.
  • Purple Kush – This is a high-THC strain, so only use this if you don’t have anywhere to go and want to numb the pain away.


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