A migraine is a throbbing headache that is often coupled with other symptoms such as nausea and vision loss. While most of us have experienced some form of a headache, migraines can become so severe that a person is unable to work.
Fortunately, if your migraines have been stubborn to traditional treatments, you have another option: Medical cannabis.
In this post, we’ll explain how medical marijuana can be used for migraines—both to prevent it and treat the pain it causes.
Does Medical Marijuana Work For Migraines?
Medical cannabis has been shown to be effective for migraines in several studies. In a 2015 review of research conducted by the American Headache Society, the authors concluded that cannabis and cannabinoids play a therapeutic role in migraines and cluster headaches.
A 2016 study looked at how inhaled and ingested cannabis affected people who suffered from migraines. Out of 121 participants, researchers found that the number of migraines decreased from an average of 10.4 per month to about 4.6. About 85% of volunteers had fewer migraines each month while using cannabis.
Although research shows that cannabis can help migraine sufferers, researchers are still working to pinpoint which strains, doses and delivery methods are most effective.
Cannabis For Migraine Prevention
Those suffering from migraines may find that medical marijuana is best used to prevent their pain before it even starts.
A 2017 study showed that marijuana may help stop migraines from occurring.
“We were able to demonstrate that cannabinoids are an alternative to established treatments in migraine prevention,” lead researcher Dr. Maria Nicolodi says.
If you want to prevent migraines but don’t want the “high” from cannabis, you can consider CBD-based products, such as CBD oil. Since CBD doesn’t have psychoactive effects, you can feel comfortable taking the medicine while at work or driving.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much research yet on CBD and migraines specifically. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that patients have success when taking CBD oil as a preventative treatment. If you’re interested in treating your migraines without the euphoric high of cannabis, talk to your doctor about CBD-based medication.
Cannabis For Migraine Pain Relief
Although preventing migraines is the best way to control them, marijuana can also help if the pain has already settled in.
For thousands of years, people have used cannabis to treat pain and many studies have also proven its effectiveness. A review of research stated that there was enough evidence to support the use of marijuana to treat chronic pain.
There are also several studies on cannabis and migraine pain specifically.
A 2016 study found that inhaled forms of marijuana (i.e. smoked or vaporized) provided the fastest pain-relief and stopped migraines. Patients who used edible medical marijuana took longer to feel relief (edibles need to be digested and therefore take longer to “kick in”).
Cannabis can be even more effective than an antidepressant medication used to treat migraines. In a 2017 study, participants who were given a THC-CBD drug had slightly fewer migraines than those using the traditionally prescribed medication. Cannabis had reduced their migraines by 43.5%.
How To Use Medical Marijuana For Migraines
The first step to getting rid of your migraine pain is to consult a medical marijuana doctor. He or she will help you determine which type of medical marijuana will work best for you.
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