3 Popular Questions About Marijuana and Migraines Answered

The healing compounds found in cannabis play a major role in helping people manage all types of pain, from physical discomfort to debilitating migraines. If you’re looking for information on how marijuana can be used to treat some of your symptoms, the Answers is a helpful tool to turn to if you’d like to educate yourself. Here are three popular questions and answers about marijuana and migraines we have received:

Q: Can cannabis help alleviate migraines?

I have had bad migraines that come at the same time monthly and sometimes I experience nausea. This has been happening since I was a teenager. I am wondering if cannabis can help stop them and/or alleviate the pain.

Answer: @drbluto

Headaches in women, particularly migraines, are tied to shifts in the levels of the female hormone estrogen during your menstrual cycle. Estrogen levels drop right before the start of your menstrual flow.

Cannabis has been shown to reduce the frequency of migraines and it also works quickly to relieve the symptoms of tension headaches as they occur.

Migraines may be the result of generators such as a bright light or loud noises triggers a chemical reaction in the brain. We have our own built-in endocannabinoid system that produces a substance called anandamide that is very similar in structure to cannabis. Sometimes our endocannabinoids, usually released to restore equilibrium, are low. When this happens and we have endocannabinoid dysfunction, resulting in an inability for the brain to normalize communication. Without these endocannabinoids and their respective functions, a migraine may subsequently occurs.

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that has shown the effectiveness of cannabis in treating pain caused by migraines and chronic headaches.

Various strains that may help include the Hazes, Purple Urkle, Grand Daddy Purple and Purple Kush. If migraines occur frequently, a very small, daily dose of THC may be helpful. Many people have also successfully used CBD tinctures to alleviate migraines.

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RELATED: Migraines: How I Got off Pain Meds and Found Relief with Cannabis

Q: I get migraines and I hear that cannabis can help to relieve this. What strain is best for migraines?

Answer: @pamelahadfield

I’ve suffered from migraines for most of my life and cannabis has helped me manage the pain better than anything I have tried so far. My assumption, since you are asking for a strain, is that your preference is to smoke. In my own experience, I have found that I layer different products to help manage the migraine before I get it and to manage the pain during the migraine itself.

In terms of strains, it is highly dependent on how your body and your own endocannabinoid system is wired and what your body wants and needs. The cannabinoid receptors in your brain become active when you ingest marijuana and this seems to have a positive impact on migraine headaches. A 2007 animal study found that increased activity within the endocannabinoid system led to reduction in pain signals for instance.

Researching strains you will find some people prefer Sativa and others insist only Indica works. For me only a CBD dominant strain does the trick. Below I will give you a popular & easily found Sativa, Indica, a Hybrid and my personal favorite a CBD dominant strain which I use often.

  • Sativa: Sour Diesel & Harlequin
  • Indica: Purple Kush
  • Hybrid: Girl Scout Cookie & Lemon OG Kush
  • CBD dominant: ACDC (non psychoactive)

As I mentioned above, I layer my products when it comes to marijuana and migraines. It is important for me to catch a headache before it becomes full blown. I use a CBD dominant sublingual spray of 8 parts CBD to 1 part THC as soon as a I feel a headache coming in. Cannabidiol (CBD) is both an analgesic and an anti inflammatory. I carry an ACDC vape pen with me. I also use a topical cream on my neck-my personal favorite in California is called Sweet Releaf. I will also use a mild THC tincture (low in milligrams) which seems to relax me.

As a precaution, I take CBD on a daily basis to keep inflammation under control. I also do daily doses of both vitamin B6 and B12 which in studies has shown to reduce migraines two fold for patients after taking it for 6 months. I also take a magnesium supplement daily as people with migraines have shown lower levels than average.

When it comes to marijuana for migraines, cannabis is not a silver bullet, but it got me off of migraine meds and Vicodin. Everyone is different and my suggestion is to start low and slow and micro dose with anything that is new to you. Lastly, some people find that edibles help with their migraines, but I do not seem to tolerate them well.

I hope this helps!

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Q: Can you use CBD oil while on prescription meds for migraines?

Answer: @andrewvanMD

When it comes to marijuana for migraines, yes, CBD oil and cannabis in general does not cause adverse drug reactions when taken along with other medications. Often it is best to utilize cannabis as a method to lower the amounts of prescription medication needed to manage the migraines.

If you’re new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 post. HelloMD can help you get your medical marijuana recommendation; it’s 100% online, private and efficient.

Photo credit: Flickr


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