One of the most common applications for medical marijuana is pain, whether it’s inflammation, headaches, neuropathic pain, muscle soreness, spinal injury, fibromyalgia, or cramps. Patients have seen varying degrees of success with cannabis in treating various pain-related ailments, depending on the type of pain, the intensity, and the individual’s own physiology.
Migraine headaches are debilitatingly painful and often don’t respond to standard pain relievers. Luckily, that’s what cannabis is for!
Existing research shows marijuana to be an effective general pain reliever, and new evidence suggests migraine pain frequently responds quite well to certain marijuana strains. A 1987 study described an “unknown mechanism” that caused migraine headaches to develop in some long-term marijuana users shortly after they abruptly discontinued use. The implication was that marijuana use had been keeping migraine symptoms at bay in vulnerable individuals, Dr. Gary L. Wenk explains in a Psychology Today post. A number of studies have since echoed those findings that marijuana appears to relieve migraine pain and frequency.
Most recently, a January 2016 study published by researchers at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado found that 85 percent of study participants experienced fewer migraines with cannabis treatment. Average migraines per month dropped from 10.4 to 4.6 among the group of 121 adults studied.
CBD has been found to be very effective at treating migraines because of its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. THC is also helpful at relieving migraine symptoms due to its ability to reduce pain. CBD heavy strains, however, help alleviate symptoms while keeping sufferers alert.
Most notably, high CBD strains will allow a patient to get through the day without the feeling of being stoned. Most of the high CBD strains listed below do contain some THC however. Depending on how sensitive you are to THC, some strains may be borderline psychoactive.
Purple arrow hits the target somewhere between heavy pain relief and uplifting euphoria, making it a great choice for headache sufferers needing swift relief without the couchlock effects typical of indica varieties.
Canna Tsu is a hybrid strain that is a mix of Cannatonic and Sour Tsunami. Canna Tsu is known for its high levels of CBD and low levels of THC. It is known to produce calming effects and mental clarity. CannaTsu helps reduce inflammation, which is often one of the most common causes of migraines. This strain is also well known for alleviating pain associate with migraines and headaches.
Harlequin is a 75% Sativa dominant hybrid that has a 5:2 CBD to THC ratio. It usually has about 4-7% THC and 8-16% CBD and produces the feeling of a clear headed and alertness which may help people get through their day. This strain is very helpful for people that have high levels of pain associated with their migraines because it has a balance of THC and CBD that allows for good pain relief without an intense psychoactive high. Harlequin is also known to be relaxing, but non-sedative.
ACDC is a high CBD strain that is sativa dominant. ACDC has a 1:20 THC to CBD ratio, with CBD levels as high as 19%. It is known for its efficacy at reducing inflammation because of its high levels of CBD, which make it effective at reducing the symptoms of migraines. ACDC is also good at reducing anxiety and depression. Due to the low THC content, a psychoactive high will never occur.
Cannatonic is known for its low THC content, which is often below 6%, and its high CBD content, which is normally at about 6-17% though it can sometimes be higher. It is known for having a relaxing and uplifting quality. Cannatonic is acclaimed as one of the top medical marijuana strains because it is great at treating pain and migraines with little to no psychoactive effects.
Sour Tsunami is specifically bred for its high CBD content, making it effective at reducing inflammation. It is a sativa dominant hybrid with about 10% CBD and a THC content under 10%. Sour Tsunami is known for its ability to relieve pain associated with migraines. At a 1:1 ratio there may be a psychoactive high associated with this strain, albeit mild.
Remedy is an indica strain with high levels of CBD and almost no THC. Remedy normally has a CBD content of about 15% and THC levels under 1%. Remedy is known to produce a mellow relaxation. Its high CBD levels make it good at helping reduce the inflammation that causes migraines. Remedy is most akin to ACDC as it is known to help with pain without the head high that is associate with higher levels of THC.
Stephen Hawking Kush
Stephan Hawking Kush, also known as SHK, is an indica dominant hybrid. SHK is known for its high levels of CBD. It is known to be soothing and relaxing, and for its ability to keep pain away without a high levels of THC. There are 3 slightly different phenotypes of SHK and they are all known to be extremely effective at treating migraines. SHK is also know to help people with fatigue, so it keeps people awake as it relieves their pain symptoms.
Hawaiian Dream is known to be an uplifting sativa strain with high levels of CBD. It usually has about double the amount of CBD as it does THC. Hawaiian dream is known to be a good remedy for treating pain, inflammation, and migraines. It is also known to provide relief without any brain fog, so it is extremely helpful at treating migraine symptoms in the day.
Sweet and Sour Widow
Sweet and Sour Widow is a 70% indica dominant cannabis strain. It typically has a ratio of 1:1 of CBD to THC. This allows it to be a strain that has the pain relieving qualities of THC while remaining borderline or mild in its psychoactive effect. The CBD provides the added benefit of anti-inflammatory properties and provides a clear headedness while relieving migraine symptoms.
- Do you know of any other strains that are really good at helping out with migraines? Leave a comment below!
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