Migraines affect millions of people around the world, manifesting in many different ways. Cannabis may be able to help, if you find products that work for you. Read on for our favourite medical marijuana products for migraines in Illinois.
About 39 million Americans live with migraines, 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. Because the causes of migraines are still not well understood, treatments usually focus on managing headache pain, calming related 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 a Migraine?
Migraines are a common neurological disease. In fact, about one in four US households includes someone who experiences migraines, and it’s estimated that more than 10 percent of the global population suffers from them, with potentially serious consequences for school, work and daily life.
A migraine attack can include the following:
- 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.”
- An 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.
- 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.
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 without the severe headache.
Although migraines are common, there is little science pointing to why so many people suffer. Research indicates that it’s a neurological disease that affects pain messaging in the brain. Some studies suggest that migraines temporarily affect 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 migraines can be triggered by many different circumstances and events, including bright lights, stress, certain 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 cannabinoids 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. Look for these medical marijuana products for migraines in Illinois dispensaries.
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 and include the perk of a discounted tax rate (40 percent for recreational users and only one percent tax for medical). To get one, you’ll need to consult with a healthcare practitioner who can confirm that you have a qualifying medical condition.
Medical Marijuana Products for Migraines 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 fruity gummies from Revolution Cannabis contain 2.5 mg THC and 2.5 mg CBD per fruity chew.
Relief Tincture from Remedi contains equal amounts of THC and CBD at 50mg each per bottle. Fast-acting and easy to dose under the tongue, Relief Tincture provides pain relief and the calming effects of CBD.
Strain-specific plant extracts with no fillers or additives make up the award-winning THC-forward (46.77 percent THC to 33.56 percent CBD) hybrid vape from RYTHM. The blend of Orange Herijuana – offspring of Orange Creamsicle and Herijuana – promotes a comforting and relaxed high with bright citrusy-lemon flavors perfectly offset by earthy diesel.
Face Mints is an indica flower from Cresco that offers strong, sofa-melt sedative effects for relief from pain and anxiety. Its relatively high THC to CBD content (THC 25.59 percent, 0 percent CBD) means its relaxing benefits also come with psychoactive effects. This is one best consumed at the end of your day.
Blue Shark is a hybrid extract from Shelby County Community Services that contains hefty amounts of CBD (37.79 percent) and THC (27.35 percent) along with minor cannabinoid CBDA. Its high CBD content provides migraine pain and anxiety relief for many users who claim the easy-dose extract assists with sleep and pain reduction.