More than 37 million Americans are living with migraine, a complex neurological condition that can cause severe headaches, sensory disturbances, and numerous other symptoms including nausea and numbness in the extremities. This mysterious disorder can affect anyone, including children, and its effects are so profound that the World Health Organization calls migraine one of the 10 most disabling diseases in the world.
Because the causes of migraine are still not well understood, treatments usually focus on managing headache pain, calming stomach distress, and reducing the anxiety many migraine sufferers experience during an attack.
Now, a growing body of research suggests that cannabis can play an important role in reducing the frequency and severity of migraine attacks, thanks to the effects of cannabis compounds such as THC and CBD on the central nervous system and brain. And since cannabis is now legal for both recreational and medical purposes in Illinois, any adult resident can choose from a variety of cannabis products to relieve migraine symptoms, available from any of the state’s many legal cannabis dispensaries.
What is Migraine?
Migraine is a common neurological disease. In fact, about one in four US households includes someone with migraine, and it’s estimated that it affects about one in seven people globally, with potentially serious consequences for school, work, and daily life. Although migraine affects many people, mostly women, its causes are not well understood. A migraine attack can include:
A prodrome, a period that begins one or two days before a migraine strikes. Prodrome symptoms can include varied symptoms such as constipation, food cravings, or a general feeling that something is “off.”
Aura, a period just before a migraine begins that can include disturbances in vision, hearing, or other senses, Aura symptoms can include a tingling feeling in the extremities, vision loss or hypersensitivity to sounds, motion, or other sensory input. Migraine symptoms can also include weakness on one side and problems with speaking, which mimic symptoms of a stroke.
A migraine attack can include a pounding headache, usually on one side of the head, nausea, vomiting, and other whole-body symptoms. It’s also possible to have an “ocular migraine,” which is characterized by vision changes, but no severe headache.
Many migraine sufferers also experience a “postdrome” period. For a day or so after a migraine attack, they might feel tired, confused, or weak. Some people also feel elated or euphoric. Other postdrome symptoms include pain when turning the head or tenderness around the eye sockets.
Although migraine is common, science still hasn’t quite figured it out. Research indicates that it’s a neurological disease that affects pain messaging in the brain. Some studies suggest that migraine temporarily affects blood flow to certain areas of the brain and optic nerve. Genetic and environmental factors may also play a role.
Whatever the cause, it’s clear that migraine can be triggered by many different circumstances and events, including bright lights, stress, foods and beverages, or hormonal changes. Other causes include weather changes, intense physical activity, or certain medications.
Cannabis: A Natural Migraine Remedy
With so many different triggers and a mysterious underlying process, migraine sufferers turn to a variety of home remedies, lifestyle changes, and over the counter or prescription medications for relief of the pain and other symptoms. But research indicates that cannabis can reduce the dependence on those medications, and lower the frequency and severity of migraine attacks themselves.
The many compounds and terpenes in cannabis can trigger responses in the body’s endocannabinoid system, a whole-body network of cell receptors that are activated both by natural cannabinoid chemicals and the very similar ones found in the cannabis Sativa plant. These compounds, including psychoactive THC, immune-boosting CBD, and a long list of “minor” compounds, trigger activity in systems for pain messaging and mood. That helps to reduce pain and ease the anxiety, gastric symptoms, and other discomforts that accompany migraine.
Cannabis can help to relieve migraine symptoms in any form. Some say that smoking or vaping can be more effective, but edibles, tinctures, and other products, even topicals, can also bring relief. Whether you’re a medical marijuana patient or a recreational user, new products of all kinds are available for migraine relief at licensed cannabis dispensaries all over Illinois.
Cannabis in Illinois: What’s Legal?
Cannabis has been legal in Illinois for both recreational and medical purposes since January 2020, so any Illinois resident who’s 21 or older can purchase cannabis products from the state’s many dispensaries. Recreational use is subject to considerable restrictions, but those restrictions can be avoided with a medical marijuana card. To get one, you’ll need to consult with a healthcare practitioner who can confirm that you have a qualifying medical condition.
Cannabis Products for Migraine in Illinois
In Illinois, migraine is on the list of qualifying conditions. Whether you prefer to smoke, vape, or nibble a tasty chocolate, here are five quality cannabis products to try for relief of migraine symptoms in Illinois.
1:1 Black Cherry handcrafted chocolates from Incredibles contain 10mg THC and 10 mg CBD per square, along with the minor compounds THCa, THCb, and CBDa and CBDb for relief of pain and anxiety without psychoactive effects.
Relief Tincture from Remedi contains equal amounts of THC and CBD at 50mg each per bottle. Fast-acting and easy to dose, Relief Tincture provides pain relief and the calming effects of CBD and minor cannabinoids including THCA.
Buddha’s Smile from Airo Brands is a balanced vape blend that contains equal amounts of THC and CBD, plus natural terpenes and the cannabis compounds CBG and CBC. Buddha’s Smile offers uplifting relaxation and relief from anxiety.
Face Mints is an Indica flower from Cresco that offers sedative effects for relief from pain and anxiety. Its relatively high THC to CBD content (THC 25.59 percent, CBD just 0.06 percent) means its relaxing benefits also come with psychoactive effects.
Pink Lemonade is a hybrid extract from Shelby County Community Services that contain hefty amounts of CBD(41.58 percent) and THC (31.08 percent), along with minor cannabinoids THCA and CBDA. With its high CBD content, Pink Lemonade provides pain and anxiety relief for migraine attacks.
It’s easy to get your medical document in New York with the online telehealth service HelloMD. Register, pay, and receive an online consultation with a licensed practitioner and start purchasing medical cannabis today.