Headaches are a common occurrence, and everyone gets them at some point. However, recurring headaches that last or interfere with your daily activities may need you to seek medical attention. Medical marijuana can help relieve pain from headaches and even prevent them from starting. While there’s limited research, studies show that marijuana, when inhaled, can reduce a headache or migraine by about 50%.
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Inhaling cannabis has been shown to reduce headaches by 47.3% and migraine by 49.6%. What’s more, cannabis is reported to reduce migraines in a larger percentage in men compared to women, and concentrates like cannabis oil produced better results compared to flowers.
Types and Causes of Headache
Headaches come in two major types, primary headaches and secondary headaches. Primary headaches are most common and exist as standalone medical conditions. Secondary headaches, on the other hand, occur due to underlying conditions such as sinusitis, head injury. They are usually symptoms of other diseases rather than being a headache condition in itself.
Usually, primary headaches drive people to seek medical attention. Below are the most common types of headache conditions and their causes.
1. Tension Headaches
Tension headaches are characterized by feelings of tightness around your head. They come in two types, episodic tension headaches, and chronic tension headaches. Episodic tension headaches are mild and last not more than one week. You can only experience episodic tension headache for no more than half a month. On the other hand, chronic tension headaches are continuous and can last for hours. Chronic tension headaches last for over 15 days monthly for three months.
Muscle tension is the main reason for tension headaches. However, they can be triggered by stress, sleep deprivation, hunger and fatigue, weather changes, alcohol, as well as caffeine withdrawal.
Migraines occur as a throbbing pain and are sometimes accompanied by nausea and vomiting, blurry vision, and even loss of appetite. They are most common in women more than men. Since migraines have been found to sometimes run in families, they may be passed through genes. Other than being hereditary, you can also suffer a migraine due to chemical imbalance in the brain.
While the cause of migraines can be hard to establish, they can be triggered by triggers of tension headaches. Other possible risks include certain scents, bright light, estrogen levels in women, smoke, certain foods, and food additives like nitrates.
3. Cluster Headaches
Cluster headaches occur during specific periods where you suffer from intense headaches, followed by a period of no headache incidents. They occur in brief severe episodes that usually occur behind one eye and lasts between 1 and 3 hours. Although cluster headaches are the most severe, they are less common compared to migraines and tension headaches. Causes of cluster headaches include bright light, alcohol or tobacco, heat, and food that contain nitrates.
While medications and over the counter treatments may provide some relief, they usually come with unpleasant side effects. Medical marijuana has the potential to help manage headache conditions by significantly reducing the pain and stress without the harmful side effects that come with drugs.
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How Medical Cannabis Helps to Treat Migraines and Headaches
Marijuana contains pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to cannabinoids that work to reduce headaches by acting as a natural analgesic. The cannabinoids work by identifying pain receptors in the body and calming them down. While it is a well-known fact that THC and CBD are mostly responsible for pain relief and calming inflammation, research shows that other compounds such as terpenes and flavonoids may be responsible for headache reduction.
Since headaches and migraines mostly occur because of muscle tension and inflammation, medical marijuana is an excellent treatment alternative as it contains CBD, which reduces inflammation. It also prevents the metabolization of anandamide, a chemical in the brain that is linked to pain regulation. THC, on the other hand, produces a calming effect throughout the body and lowers stress, anxiety, and depression.
Medical marijuana not only reduces headaches but also helps in muscle relaxation and produces a calming effect. It also reduces nausea, helps you sleep better, and prevents fatigue, factors responsible for triggering headaches.
Marijuana Strains for Headache
While there are numerous marijuana strains, below are some of the best strains for treating and managing chronic headaches and migraines.
- OG Kush. This is the most common strain and is popular for providing quick relief from migraines as well as reducing stress. It is highly potent and produces deep relaxation. OG Kush can be useful in preventing headaches before they occur.
- Remedy. Remedy has a high concentration of CBD and barely any THC. It is highly powerful in treating migraines and produces a relaxing feeling without necessarily making you high.
- Purple Kush. Purple Kush has numbing effects that promote sleep and aids relaxation. It is ideal before going to bed so you can sleep the migraine off as it has a high THC concentration and very little CBD.
- Northern Lights. It is an Indica strain popular for treating both acute and chronic headaches. It contains both powerful pain-relieving and relaxing properties.
- Sour Diesel. The best for use during the daytime, it not only offers quick relief but also relives but also promotes creativity. You can also use it to fight depression and stress.
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You can inhale, ingest, or use medical marijuana topically to enjoy its healing properties. However, inhalation produces faster results, whether you smoke or vaporize it. Using tinctures where you place medical marijuana under the tongue is also a fast and more precise way to administer the right dosage and realize quick results.
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