Medical Cannabis for Migraines – A Breakthrough In The World Of Medical Science


According to an estimate by the American Migraine Foundation, over 38 million individuals frequently get migraines in the USA alone, which is a huge number. Migraine is a common type of headache that typically affects one hemisphere of the head and the neck. Other symptoms like nausea, phonophobia, and photophobia make the condition even more debilitating. The symptoms generally prevail for a period between 4 hours to 3 days, which may vary according to numerous individual factors.

Experts have constantly been striving to bring forth natural remedies to improve the lifestyle of migraine patients by helping them get over the excruciating symptoms. Using medical cannabis for migraines can help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks and make them less agonizing. Let’s find out how!

What is a Migraine?

Migraine is a type of headache that can get way more incapacitating, as you might wonder. The agonizing symptoms of migraines make you too weak to accomplish daily chores. If left untreated, migraines can take up to 3 days to completely go away, which highlights how important it is to treat them well. Several symptoms make you sensitive to smells, light, and sound, which ultimately forces you to get inside a comfy and dark room with no exposure to sound and light.

Various factors such as hereditary factors and gender affect your vulnerability to migraines. For instance, women are more likely to get migraines as compared to men. You may feel weaker before and after an attack. Stick around to learn more.

What are the Symptoms of Migraine?

When it comes to the symptoms of migraine, there’s a lot of talk about it. Migraines widely affect individuals of all ages, from children to adults. To better understand how it affects you, experts categorize the whole episode of migraine into different phases. Note that the symptoms may vary from individual to individual, and migraine may have different effects during different attacks. Here’s how a migraine attack generally  progresses:

  1. Prodrome

This phase rarely occurs in most patients. Characterized by subtle changes in the body, prodrome commences nearly one or two days before the attack. The symptoms are negligible at this point, and it’s hard to figure out whether it’s an alarming sign indicating an upcoming episode of migraine or not. Here’s a list of the symptoms in prodrome:

  • You might face severe constipation.
  • Depression and mood swings might make it harder to cope with daily chores.
  • Neck stiffness and muscle tension
  • Increased urination
  • Fluid retention in the body
  1. Aura

Some patients experience an aura either before or during migraine. The symptoms are mostly visual; however, some patients may also go through other types of bodily disturbances. Each symptom in this phase appears gradually and starts building up until it reaches its maximum strength.

  • Partial Loss of vision
  • Visual symptoms such as flashes of light and bright spots appearing in the eyes.
  • Tingling effect in the limbs. The sensations resemble that of pins and needles.
  • Numbness in the body, typically on the side of the body.
  • Difficulty in sleeping.
  1. Attack

This phase is characterized by the main symptoms of migraine. The frequency of attacks varies widely among rare attacks or several times per month. A migraine usually takes 4 to 72 hours to go away if left untreated.

  • Throbbing pain accompanied by pulses.
  • Pain that usually stays in one hemisphere of the head. It might as well affect both sides sometimes. However, pain in one side is a key symptom.
  • You may get hyper-sensitive to light, touch, smells, and sounds. Even the slightest of sounds might feel agonizing.
  • Vomiting and nausea in certain cases.
  1. Postdrome

This phase commences right after your migraine attack ends. It’s generally characterized by drained-out energy and confusion. It’s hard for the patients to catch up on the daily routine tasks right after the attack.

What Causes Migraines?

Scientists are continuously working on progressively evolving studies that reveal several facts about the possible causes of migraine. Experts still do not know the exact cause. The most probable causes of migraine are as follows:

  • Most experts unanimously agree on the hereditary factors and changes inside the brain being potential factors that may cause migraine.
  • Other triggers like changed weather conditions, bright lights, and loud sounds may cause an attack.
  • Disruptive blood flow is another factor considered to be another cause of migraines in several cases.

Studies reveal that as a result of overactive nerve cells, there’s a certain painful sensation in the head and face. Dwindling amounts of neurotransmitters is another significant cause of the pain and inflammation in migraines.

What are the risk factors for Migraines?

Although migraines can affect anyone, the following factors contribute to making you more vulnerable to migraines.

  • Gender: A survey reveals that women get affected by migraines three times more than men.
  • Age: The age between 10 to 40 is the high time for the onset of migraines, and most women above the age of 50 report that their migraines seem to get better wholly or partially.
  • Family history: Four out of five patients report having at least one family member with a migraine. Genetic factors are considered to be a potential cause of migraine in most patients.
  • Other medical conditions: People having medical conditions like depression, anxiety, and epilepsy may greatly raise your odds.

Types of Migraines

The symptoms of migraines widely vary among patients, making it ambiguous and sometimes misleading for the patients and experts. Categorizing migraines into different types makes it easier to get completely familiar with what you’re going through.

  • Classic Migraine: This type of migraine involves aura.
  • Common Migraine: Aura is missing.
  • Menstrual Migraines: This type of migraine shows up near or during a woman’s period.
  • Acephalgic Migraine: Also known as silent migraine, it typically involves aura without pain.
  • Vestibular Migraine: Vestibular migraine is typically characterized by balance problems. It doesn’t necessarily involve headache; however, vomiting, nausea, and vertigo are typical symptoms.
  • Hemiplegic Migraine: If you experience short-termed paralysis during migraine attacks, you’re probably going through hemiplegic migraine. Dizziness and numbness in one side of the body are commonly experienced symptoms.

Medical Cannabis For Migraines: How Can Cannabis Help with Migraines?

A sneak peek at the phenomenal range of healing effects of the cannabis plant opens the doors to numerous ideas of using it to manage the symptoms of hundreds of medical conditions. Migraine is one of those medical conditions. The idea of using medical cannabis for migraines finds its roots in the studies that reveal the marvelous capacities of cannabis to improve the working of the Endocannabinoid system. Closely interacting with the endocannabinoid system, cannabis extracts could help you deal with most symptoms of migraine.

  1. Antiemetic potential

Nausea and vomiting is a common symptom that accompanies almost every migraine attack. Dealing with this symptom can be quite agonizing, especially when you’re suffering from throbbing headaches along with it. Cannabis is widely acknowledged as a strong antiemetic agent. It can greatly reduce the strength and frequency of peristaltic movements in the body to help reduce nausea.

  1. Pain management

Migraine headaches can get quite excruciating. Unlike other types of headaches, they can completely or partially block you from carrying out daily life activities. The pain experienced by the patients is generally characterized by impulses and throbs, which makes it even more painful to cope with. Several studies support the ability of cannabis to help you relieve pain.

  1. Stress management

Stress is considered the most common trigger of migraine attacks. Patients prone to getting migraines report having one whenever they’re exposed to a stressful situation. This highlights the importance of stress management for migraine patients. CBD and other cannabinoids of the cannabis plant can regulate the fluctuating amounts of neurotransmitters in the body. The regulation of serotonin in the body can help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks.

Medical Cannabis for Migraines: What Does Research Say?

Experts are on their toes to figure out whether using medical cannabis for migraines is good or not, and here’s what they found out.

  • A recent study in 2021 highlighted that medical cannabis might not only minimize the duration of migraine attacks but also substantially reduce the frequency. Patients report a fewer number of attacks every month with weaker symptoms that go away faster than usual. [1]
  • Another study unleashes the results of a clinical trial specially conducted to assess the abilities of cannabis to help patients deal with migraines. This trial, involving an assessment of 1,306 people, brought forth a 50% success of cannabis to soothe migraine pain and nausea.

Final Thoughts

Using medical cannabis for migraines is a new horizon in the arena of healthcare. Migraines can be debilitating for the patients, and regular use of conventional medications can be problematic in the long run. However, cannabis offers strong healing effects to help migraine patients by assisting them to sleep well, fight nausea and pain, and manage stress.



Legal Disclaimer : Medical Cannabis Doctors does not provide medical services or medical advice. This information is for awareness purposes only and is NOT medical advice. Do not self diagnose or prescribe any forms of treatments based on this information or the information on this site. Always consult with a licensed physician in your state for any medical advice, treatments, prescriptions and medical services.

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