“Does medical marijuana really help with migraines?” This is a question I get asked by many of my readers who suffer from the condition. Migraines can be extremely difficult to tolerate and live with. They can occur frequently and be very debilitating.
I watch at least two times a month my wife struggle with migraine pains. The pains are so severe they not only prevent her from doing day to day work, they confine her to bed for 2-3 days at a time.
There are many drugs used by western medicine to treat or control migraines. Unfortunately, not all users fully benefit from them. Some may get partial relief from the western medicine, but don’t achieve the complete relief they are seeking.
My wife is in the group has little or no luck with western medicine, especially pills, because the side effects are too tough for her body.
As medical marijuana is often reported to be beneficial in treating and helping relieve the pain associated with migraines, I decided to conduct some research on the subject.
I did this in order to help out those who suffer from migraines and don’t get the relief they seek through western medicine.
Migraines: Possible Causes and Symptoms
Migraines are thought by most to be simply a devastating headache. In fact, a migraine can be much more complicated than that, going through up to the following four stages:
- The first is the onset of prodrome, which includes symptoms like constipation, neck stiffness, mood changes, and food cravings. The prodrome usually happens 1 or 2 days before the actual headache.
- After the prodrome, but before the actual headache, some people experience what is known as the aura. The aura usually manifests itself through neurological symptoms such as seeing bright spots, incurring vision loss, having difficulty speaking, hearing noises that aren’t there, and/or experiencing abnormal sensations or movements.
- The actual headache itself can be severe and repeated. Some people only get a migraine once or twice a year, while others get them several times a month. The pain is usually limited to one side of the head and is often pulsating in nature. During the headache stage, people might also experience sensitivity to sensory inputs.
- The post-drome comes after the headache. Some people can feel perfectly fine while others might experience fatigue for about a day or two.
Not all people go through all four stages listed above. For example, it’s common for some to have an aura, followed by the headache, and nothing else.
One of my wife’s migraine side effects is extreme nausea, which makes her unable to eat any food or drink even water for a few days after.
We don’t really know what causes migraines. Some have suggested that disturbance in the trigeminal nerve triggers the migraine attack. Others say that the cause of migraines is an imbalance of neurotransmitters and chemicals like serotonin.
Current Western Medicine Approaches
Triptans and ergots are commonly used by western medicine to mitigate migraine attacks. Beta blockers can be used by those who get frequent migraines as a prevention measure, but not as a treatment of the acute attack.
Doctors will also advise to rest his or her eyes in a dark and quiet room. Drinking fluids and placing a cool cloth over the head can help mitigate the effects of a migraine too.
My wife tried a few commonly prescribed western medications for preventing her migraines.
Unfortunately, the side effects of such medications were so severe that she had to stop taking them altogether. Her side effects included increased heart rhythms, pains in the heart, dizziness and severe nausea.
Natural Holistic Treatments for Migraines
There are several natural or holistic medical treatments prescribed for migraines. Two examples are:
- Watching what you eat is a good place to start. Foods like chocolate, alcohol, cheese, beans, processed foods, and very cold foods can trigger migraines. So you should try to avoid eating them.
- Acupuncture, ginger, yoga, and biofeedback are suggested to be beneficial in treating migraines. Their full benefit hasn’t been truly studied or confirmed yet. You can try them and see whether or not they work for you.
Avoiding spicy and processed foods and practicing yoga helps my wife reduce the number of migraines episodes she experiences. Unfortunately, this does not help her cure the migraine once it starts.
Medical Marijuana for the Treatment of Migraines
A recent study has shown that medical marijuana helps users mitigate the effects and frequency of their migraines.
If true, this could prove very important for people who suffer from migraines and are looking for an effective treatment without many side effects.
Unfortunately, marijuana has a few side effects, which include dizziness, sleepiness, and/or moodiness.
The good news is, however, that these side effects are temporary and fade away after a few hours. The fact that many people find comfort in marijuana alleviating the effects and frequency of migraines should be a key factor in driving more research on the subject.
Marijuana works through the receptors in the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord.
In addition to allegedly being effective in alleviating the effects of the migraine, marijuana is normally fast acting. This makes it a good option during acute attacks when people are in urgent need of pain relief.
CBD Oil for the Treatment of Migraines
CBD oil is reported to work for migraines the same way that marijuana does. CBD oil is easier to acquire than marijuana for those living in states where marijuana is still illegal.
Unfortunately, my wife tried several different brands of CBD oil without much success. However, she achieved good long lasting relief from her migraine pains by inhaling medical marijuana.
Best Way to Take Marijuana and CBD Oil for Migraines
Our research as shown the best and most effective way to take marijuana and CBD oil for migraines is through inhalation. In the study mentioned earlier, the people who inhaled marijuana benefited the most.
Inhaling a drug such as marijuana is the fastest way to get the benefits directly into your bloodstream, short of injecting it directly into your vein.
Since marijuana can’t be taken intravenously inhalation is the fastest way to derive its benefits. Edibles don’t seem to work as well as inhalation. Therefore, it isn’t recommended as a quick and effective relief.
Where to Purchase Marijuana?
You can buy marijuana at medical marijuana dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is legal. If you live in Canada, you can simply buy marijuana online.
Those who prefer to use CBD oil can easily buy it on the open market. You can also buy CBD oil online, but make sure it’s from a good and reputable source.
Many buy CBD oil of poor quality. Be sure to so check the CBD and THC levels in the CBD oil you buy if possible. If you already know a trusted source, then stick to it, even if a few dollars more expensive.
The same recommendation goes for purchasing medical marijuana online or at your local dispensary. If you find a good reliable place to acquire it, then keep using the source.
Anyone who ever had a migraine knows how difficult they can be. People who go through the four stages can be disabled for up to a week. A few days of going through the prodrome then another few days going through the aura followed by the migraine can eat up an entire week.
Perhaps migraines can be tolerable if they occur once or twice a year, but the more frequently they occur, the more debilitating they become. Western medicine has solutions, but they don’t work perfectly for everyone.
Marijuana might be a great answer to those looking for relief for their migraines. Marijuana acts on the receptors in the brain and is most effective when inhaled. Hopefully we will have more studies and information on the use of marijuana and CBD oil in treating migraines sooner rather than later.
Thank you for reading my “Does Medical Marijuana Really Help with Migraines?” article.
I would love to hear about your experiences using medical marijuana or CBD oils for the prevention and/or treatment of migraines – please give your comment below.
I believe others who are trying to find a natural treatment for their migraines will definitely appreciate and benefit from your comments.
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