Understanding Migraines and Cannabis
How to Decode your Migraines and Utilize Cannabis to Ease the Pain
Let’s talk about the worst of the worst headaches… The Migraine.
Unfortunately, Migraine headaches are known to be complex in nature. The origin or root causes are often difficult to diagnose, leaving many sufferers in a painful predicament without a true north. Although migraines remain a poignant focus of clinical studies, there are still a lot of unanswered questions.
If there’s one thing we are learning, it’s that each migraine headache is like a snowflake; each one unique in their own nature and varies with each individual’s DNA and family history. What we can find are patterns that may help to create a basis for understanding our own pain and form collective solutions. Let’s dive into some of the most frequently asked questions to decode and understand migraines and cannabis.
1. What are the common root causes of chronic migraines?
To understand migraines, let’s start with some of the most common root influences of chronic migraine sufferers.
Many studies have shown that women are nearly 3 times more likely to suffer from migraine headaches than men. Some doctors claim this is related to hormone changes in the body, especially tied to a sudden drop in estrogen or serotonin, which causes the trigeminal system to release substances called neuropeptides, which cause headache pain. Some women who suffer from migraines often found that headaches have a pattern of recurrence just before or shortly after the onset of menstruation. The occurrence of migraines may also fluctuate or change during hormonal changes during pregnancy and/or menopause. Migraines associated with hormonal fluctuations could also be a red flag for some women that they have undiagnosed Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
One thing that’s become evident is that inflammation is significant trigger migraines. Most prescription medications are formulated to constrict blood vessels, releasing pressure and tension in the head.
A significant majority of migraine sufferers have a family history of persistent or chronic migraine occurrences. The likelihood rises substantially for a person who has one or more first-degree relatives with migraine headaches.
Certain medical conditions including depression, anxiety, stroke, epilepsy, PCOS, and high blood pressure are all associated with migraine headaches.
2. What are some common migraine triggers?
Outside factors can influence migraine headaches. The most common triggers include:
- Red wine, alcohol
- Aged cheese ( and foods that contain tyramine: fava beans, aged cheeses, soy products, etc.)
- Nitrites (found in hot dogs and deli meats)
- Food additives (for example, MSG)
- Low blood sugar
- Neck and shoulder tension
- Allergies leading to sinus congestion
- Hormonal changes (menstruation, menopause, etc.)
- Perfume or other environmental odors
- Sleep disturbances
- Weather changes
- Bright lights and loud noises
- Foods that contain aspartame
3. What are the best foods and supplements to prevent and relieve headaches?
We know that migraines are often associated with hormonal imbalances, sensitivity to specific foods, and stress which makes it important to monitor and avoid triggers. If you’re looking for a more proactive approach, here are a few things you can do to support your system & reduce the occurrence of migraines. Remember, the first thing to do before any major diet or supplement regimen is to speak to a doctor. Getting your bloodwork done will inform you of your vitamin deficiencies so you’re not guessing.
Incorporate supplements known to reduce the frequency of migraines:
- Vitamin B12
- Coenzyme Q10
Incorporate herbs and foods that are known to help migraines into your diet:
While generally low risk, these supplements may interact with other medications you are on. This is why it’s important to consult with a doctor before you start a new vitamin or supplement regimen. Furthermore, migraine headaches may remain a complex and misunderstood ailment, but learning how to avoid and treat them is partially in your control if you take ahold of it.
4. What Lifestyle changes will make the biggest impact?
- Reduce inflammation
- Cleaner diet (avoid blood sugar irregularities/spikes, and remove processed foods)
- Micronutrient-rich foods
- Herbal remedies
- Better sleep habits
- Less stress
- Yoga is thought to help improve blood flow and reduce muscle tension
- Massage therapy or chiropractic treatments for stiff muscles and misaligned bones
5. How should I use cannabis for headaches?
Understanding the triggers and symptoms of a headache is one of the most important prerequisites for creating a plan to avoid and treat them. Once you understand your triggers and symptoms, it will help to guide you in utilizing cannabis. Here’s how to start.
- Speak with a doctor who also understands cannabis. Doctors who understand cannabis, like those on the Heally platform, know how to guide you with specific strains, methods, or dosing for your ailment. If you want to utilize cannabis, speaking to the right doctor can make all the difference in your experience.
- Start with a migraine journal to record the migraine experience, including the efforts you took to make it go away. Understanding the pain and other triggers first can help you to start with other habits to reduce frequency and severity. Use this free migraine journal PDF to start. Record things such as:
- The food and activities of the day before the symptoms started
- When the symptoms started
- The type and location of pain (stabbing, throbbing, piercing, etc)
- Whether or not there are other symptoms (such as nausea or having vision problems)
- How long the attack lasts
- What treatment you take and how effective treatment is (or isn’t)
- Start low and slow. When experimenting with cannabis as a pain reliever you can take several routes. Some choose to utilize CBD only, THC only, or a combination of the two. No matter which option you choose, finding the correct dose for your needs will take time, patience, and practice. And remember, it’s best to start with a doctor’s visit or consultation.
- When utilizing THC, start with a micro-dose of 2.5mg – 5mg and then wait to see how you feel. Take account of how it changes the sensation of your pain, whether or not your appetite improves, etc.
- Depending on your method, the time for the effects of cannabis to be felt will vary. The effects of edibles can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours to fully kick in.
- You should not consume more until you understand how the dose affected you. A good rule of thumb during this time of experimentation is to consume an initial dose and try again another day after you’ve journaled the experience and slowly titrate your dose up.
6. Products that may help with Migraines
Wander CBD Oil – 1000mg
Wander CBD Oil is an ingredient-driven, responsibly-sourced, all-purpose CBD oil. CBD is a potent analgesic (pain relieving), has antiemetic properties (preventing nausea and vomiting), and has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. This oil contains no unnecessary additives like vegetable glycerin, pg (propylene glycol), or peg (polyethylene glycol). All-natural ingredients, including hemp-derived CBD, fractionated coconut oil, cold pressed sunflower oil, lemon, grapefruit, and lavender are sourced from producers who care immensely about their product.
Select CBD Relax – Lavender Vape Pen – 250mg
Lavender is rich with Linalool, the same terpene found in some cannabis strains like Amnesia Haze, Lavender (aptly named), and LA Confidential. Linalool has been shown to reduce neuropathic hypersensitivity and chronic inflammation which have been linked to migraines. Research shows that the scent of lavender lowers heart rate and blood pressure, putting you in a relaxed state. The Select CBD Relax vape pen utilizes the purest extract available, enriched with highly refined lavender essential oils to deliver an aromatic and relaxing experience.
Skywalker OG Kush
This indica-dominant hybrid combines fruity blueberry aromas with earthy flavors. This strain is packed with Caryophyllene, a terpene that is also naturally found in black pepper, which is a natural analgesic that can reduce the symptoms of a migraine. Skywalker OG Kush delivers euphoric sedation while creating an uplifting high. OG Kush hybrids are often known to deliver relief from stress, depression, and pain. With this cannabis strain, it is important to catch the migraine before it becomes full blown.
The Hybrid Protab is an orally consumed concentrate tablet that contains 25 mg of THC per tablet. One study showed that between 25 mg and 200 mg of THC helped to reduce the pain caused by acute migraines in those who had a history of childhood migraines. If 25 mg is more than the dose you’re looking for, the tablets are scored down the middle, allowing for a smaller dose. This extra strength, fast-acting tablet is infused with steam-distilled hybrid terpenes to provide a classic high balanced for both body and mind.
Once you figure out the right dose for you, try different methods of application. Here are some popular options from Leafly. Migraine headaches may remain a complex and misunderstood ailment, but learning how to avoid and treat them is partially in your control if you pay attention to the warning signs.
By Bri Smith
This website is informational and cannot diagnose or treat illness or disease. Medical marijuana aka cannabis should be used under the direction of a licensed healthcare provider. This site is intended for adults and legal medical marijuana patients. This site contains links to products we sell on our marketplace.
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