By now you’re well informed of medical marijuana’s pain-relieving properties. It’s an increasingly sought-after alternative to prescription medication. THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids do a better job of tackling pain than potentially addictive and harmful opioids.
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According to the Migraine Research Foundation, nearly 25% of US households have someone who suffers from this painful and incapacitating condition. As marijuana research continues, more evidence of its medical benefits appears. Is there scientific evidence that cannabis alleviates migraines?
Key Studies On Marijuana’s Effects On Migraines
In the past, there wasn’t enough research on marijuana’s medical benefits due to the stigma associated with the plant. A 2004 study confirmed that there exists a relationship between migraines and your body’s endocannabinoid system. A further animal study in 2014 showed cannabis’ therapeutic potential to treat headaches and migraines. If you suffer migraines, you probably have a deficiency of anandamide. This endocannabinoid is key to stopping migraine triggers. Marijuana’s anti-inflammatory, neuro-relaxant, and vasodilatory properties combine to tackle some of the symptoms of a splitting headache.
The largest and latest study of this kind was conducted in 2019 and published in the Journal of Pain. It aimed to establish short and long-term effects of marijuana on migraines. Key findings include:
- The migraine ratings of patients who used cannabis reduced by nearly half.
- Male subjects reported bigger reductions in migraine severity than women after using medical marijuana.
- Subjects who used cannabis concentrates witnessed bigger reductions in headaches than those who used the flower. They also needed lower doses over time to achieve the same results.
- There was no risk of overdosing when using marijuana for migraine relief.
- There was no evidence that cannabis overuse worsened headaches and migraines.
This study confirms what has been apparent for centuries: that marijuana is effective against migraines and other types of pain.
What Role Do Cannabinoids Play?
There are over 100 unique cannabinoids, with THC, CBD, and CBN being the most popular. Every cannabis plant also has a combination of hundreds of other compounds, including terpenes and flavonoids. They all work in synergy to provide pain relief. This coordination is also known as the entourage effect. Although nearly all marijuana strains are hybrids, users report marginally better results with Indica-dominant products compared to Sativa.
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Indicas help more with pain relief, neuropathy, sedation, and sleep. Not all cannabis strains have a positive effect on your brain. We recommend buying your medical marijuana from a recognized dispensary for customized and effective solutions. Some of the best strains for migraine relief include OG Kush, ACDC, Harlequin, Remedy, and Purple Kush.
How Does Cannabis Reduce or Stop Migraines?
Marijuana eases migraine pain when cannabinoids attach themselves to the endocannabinoid receptors in your brain. This process changes the way the receptors work by causing a calming effect on pain signals. Cannabinoids also help in tackling specific migraine triggers, which include:
- Stress: Although research is still ongoing, various studies show marijuana’s effectiveness at tackling anxiety, stress, and depression.
- Allergies: Some experts and users claim cannabis helps them manage allergies better.
- Unusual environments: They include places with bright lights, strong odors, and loud noise. Marijuana’s numbing and calming effect helps you overcome these otherwise uncomfortable conditions.
- Sleep disorders: Constant travel and erratic sleep patterns can cause severe headaches. This situation is a vicious cycle because your migraine makes it hard to sleep, which in turn increases the intensity of pain.
- Dietary changes: Some migraine patients report sudden dietary changes as a trigger. They include overeating or having too little, skipping meals, or eating foods rich in nitrates and tyramine.
Other migraine triggers include hormonal changes, eye strain, medication, and certain weather conditions. By preventing or stopping their effects, marijuana helps reduce the overall pain migraines cause.
Which Are the Most Effective Delivery Methods?
Inhalation is by far the fastest method of tackling migraines when using medical marijuana. You’ll feel the effects in minutes, which is preferable considering the extreme pain. If you’re not a fan of smoking, vaping offers a viable alternative. To prevent the possibility of inhaling contaminants, always buy your cannabis from licensed sellers. Since vaping is a relatively new phenomenon, research is still ongoing on its effectiveness and side effects.
Tinctures are convenient because you place them under the tongue. You can also measure your dosage more accurately compared to other delivery methods. Since results vary from one person to the next, it’s advisable to start with low doses. You can increase them gradually until you settle on an amount that works for you. For the best results, seek the services of licensed medical professionals.
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At MMJ Doctor, we consistently study marijuana-based research. As scientists uncover the positive effects of this wonder plant, we’re committed to spreading its benefits to you. For added flexibility and convenience, we provide medical marijuana cards to ensure you medicate without worrying about legal issues. Our online application includes consultation with a licensed doctor, a year’s recommendation, instant copy through email, and verification by phone.
Please contact us today for more details.