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Medical marijuana for migraines

Migraines are one of the most common sources of pain all over the world, with almost 40 million men, women and children affected in the United States and 1 billion worldwide. One of the characteristics of migraines is how hard it is to treat, with conventional drugs not offering much relieve. Medical marijuana might be the solution here, with many studies proving the effectiveness of medical marijuana as a treatment for relieving migraines and maybe even preventing future attacks from starting.

What is a migraine?

A migraine is a very specific condition, originating in the brain, and is often described as a severe headache. There are however some very specific symptoms that come with a migraine, such as sensitivity to light, sound and smells. The pain usually originates from one side of your head and feels like pounding or throbbing. It is very easy to confuse a severe headache with a migraine and vice versa, so in order to be completely sure we highly recommended you talk to your doctor about your symptoms. He or she will be able to determine if you suffer from migraines and will be able to determine what type of migraine it is. There are two major kinds of migraines: with or without aura. A migraine without aura includes one or more of the following symptoms: sensitivity to light, sound or smells, nausea, mood changes, blurred vision or fatigue.

A single attack can last anywhere from four to 72 hours and should only occur a few times per year. Migraines with aura are similar to those without aura, but also include visual disturbances before your headache starts. You may see flashing lights, blind spots, zig-zag and wavy lines, lasting for 10 minutes to more than one hour before the actual migraine starts. Conventional treatments for migraines are drugs like ibuprofen, acetaminophen or naproxen sodium. Triptans are also used and are more effective for treating migraines, but they come with their own side-effects, such as dizziness, dry mouth, chest pain and fatigue. Other alternative are also available, all with certain side-effects. Common for all these drugs is that they all cause dizziness and fatigue, meaning that still prevent the patient from carrying on their daily life.

Using medical marijuana for treating migraines

Medical marijuana might be the answer for treating migraines. Many patients report that their pain has gone down after using medical marijuana and there are some studies that are backing this claim up. Recent research has shown that THC, the main chemical component in marijuana, can help alleviate the pain and nauseous feelings that often come with a migraine. There are also signs that THC helps inhibit the release of serotonin during a migraine attack, which also helps reduce the pain. One important study in 2016 ran a trial with 121 participants who suffered from migraine attacks and found around 40 perfect reported positive effects from ingesting or inhaling marijuana. Not only did marijuana help them in decreasing their pain levels, it also helped decreasing the frequency by which migraines occurred. Some patients even reported that their migraines stopped altogether and 85 percent said that marijuana helped them have fewer migraines each month. These results indicate that medical marijuana might be treatment that millions of adults with regular migraines have been waiting for. If you are one of those and suffer from migraine attacks regularly medical marijuana might be worth trying out.

We recommended you go talk to your doctor, who should know your situation best and will be able to determine what is the best solution for you. If you do decide to try medical marijuana we highly recommend you start lightly, but do choose a strain that has a high THC content. What method you choose to ingest or inhale the medical marijuana is up to you, but if you plan on using the marijuana right when you feel a migraine attack coming we recommend choosing a method that works quickly, such as vaping or smoking. Edibles are also an option, but take some time to kick in and so are only really useful if you plan on using daily.