If you suffer from migraines, you don’t need us to tell you how debilitating a migraine spell can be. Seemingly harmless sensory stimuli, like bright lights, strong aromas, or loud noises, can trigger unbearable pain. Stress, neck tension, and even jet lag can set a crippling migraine in motion too. This intense pain can be accompanied by a loss of sensation, nausea, or alarming visual changes. The severity of the pain is enough to cause sufferers to miss days at work or school. It puts everything on hold until the pain clears.
What makes things even worse is that both prescription and over the counter medications often have little to no effect on severe migraines.
Marijuana might be one under-the-counter remedy for migraine relief. Some research shows that it may help ease migraine symptoms or possibly keep them from starting. But most studies haven’t found solid proof of that.
Researchers are now discovering that one of the causes of migraines is deficient levels of endocannabinoids within the body. In some cases, it can be that one’s body doesn’t produce adequate amounts of endocannabinoids. It turns out that the cannabinoids present in marijuana can act as substitutes for missing endocannabinoids needed by the body. They can also help regulate the endocannabinoid system to start producing correct levels of endocannabinoids.
Research has now emerged, showing that migraines are one of the numerous pathologies that have their roots in what is termed “clinical endocannabinoid deficiency” (CECD). Samples of spinal tap fluid from people who suffer from migraines, show abnormally low levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide (the body’s equivalent of THC).
If this is what is causing your migraine attacks, then it is possible that using marijuana could target the root cause by topping up your endocannabinoid levels and healing your endocannabinoid system.
According to the research, THC can act as a direct replacement for the endocannabinoid AEA. CBD can work on the endocannabinoid system as a whole to regulate it. Together these two can boost levels of natural endocannabinoids in the body.
The next area where marijuana can be of great benefit for migraines is pain relief. Medical marijuana has been taken by patients for pain relief for some time and can be highly effective. Some doctors are calling cannabis a contender for opiates. To give you an idea of how effective cannabis is for pain relief, let’s take a look at the research.
A study done in 2017 revealed that a whopping 97% of patients survey preferred to take cannabis over opiates for pain. What’s more, a further 81% reported that marijuana was more effective at pain treatment that prescription opiates.
Another significant benefit that marijuana can have for the treatment of migraines is that it fights inflammation in the body.
Research has shown that migraines are linked to severe swelling in the brain. When you think of the feeling of a migraine, this makes total sense.
Now the two most well-known compounds in cannabis happen to possess potent anti-inflammatory actions. The anti-inflammatory qualities of THC and CBD are so strong that they are being researched for use in new anti-inflammatory drugs.
If you suffer from intense migraines, you are probably all too familiar with nausea that often accompanies them. As luck would have it, though, another medical benefit of marijuana is that it combats nausea. The anti-nausea component is one of the reasons why cannabis and its compounds are used so extensively for cancer patients. Multiple studies exist, documenting that marijuana and the compounds in it can ease nausea and prevent vomiting.
If you’re already taking prescription medicines for migraines but contemplating cannabis as an alternative, it’s best to talk to a physician experienced in cannabis medicine.
“A little bit goes a long way with cannabis medicine. The sublingual or inhalational method allows for incremental dosing, which will help patients learn how much is needed to be effective,” Dr. Debra Kimless, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Pure Green