Cannabis for Migraines

Migraines have been described as one of the worst pains experienced by both men and women.

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Migraines have been described as one of the worst pains experienced by both men and women. They can cause nausea, acute discomfort in the eyes when exposed to light or pounding pain when loud noise penetrates the ears. They can cause a person to avoid people and public places while disabling them from properly focusing as they are constantly distracted by the severity of throbbing head pain. Migraines can last from hours to days, and those who have them often find using a variety of prescription drugs or trying treatments that cause undesirable side-effects. 

A study done in 2016 at Colorado State University found that the frequency of migraine headaches within the span of a month was cut in half with cannabis use, ranging from about 10 migraines a month down to 4 and 5 migraines a month. The study involved 121 patients, and most used cannabis daily to prevent the onset of a migraine. Those that experienced an acute migraine immediately smoked or vaped cannabis, which often ameliorated the migraine completely. The general conclusions of this study have lead us to understand that cannabis does have the potential of treating both migraines and headaches by reducing their severity, duration, and frequency. This is just the beginning, more studies are needed to further our understand and answer questions about cannabis and migraines – such as what is a proper dose for a migraine? What strains are best smoked, vaped, or ingested to help treat them? And, can a topical cannabis preparation be applied to the head to diminish migraine pain? 

Whatever the answers may be, the results of this specific study come as no surprise to many as they correlate with our current understanding that cannabis has strong potential as an analgesic medication. There are hopes that it could replace some opiate-based pharmaceuticals that can be addictive and often cause undesirable side-effects based self-reports, surveys, and anecdotal evidence.  

It’s possible that if we can figure out how cannabis interacts with the brain during a migraine that we can likely expand our understanding of how migraines form in the first place.

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