Migraines are incredibly tough to manage. For the more than 39 million Americans who deal with them, these intense headaches can be debilitating. Typical migraine treatment involves taking a prescription medication. If you’re familiar with cannabis, you probably already know that it has pain and inflammation-relieving properties. If you’re looking for an alternative to conventional treatment, you may be wondering if you can use cannabis for migraines. Here’s what you should know.
What Are Migraines?
Migraines are more than just headaches, they’re a serious medical condition. Causes are unknown, but what we do know is that they typically affect people between the ages of 15 and 55, they’re more common in women, and individuals who experience them have a family history.
Side Effects of Migraines
For many migraine sufferers, these intense headaches bring along some rather unpleasant side effects. You may experience the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Spots in your eyes or temporary loss of vision
- The inability to perform daily functions
How Can Cannabis Help with Migraines?
Cannabis provides relief from many different types of pain. Research is also finding that the plant may also help with migraines. A study from November 2019 found that the plant could reduce headache severity by up to 50%. It also discovered that even though your tolerance may increase, using cannabis won’t cause headaches or migraines to worsen. Another study from the same year found that nearly 90% of patients felt an improvement in their headaches with cannabis use and almost half found a reduction in migraine frequency.
While science is showing cannabis can benefit those with migraines, practical knowledge is lagging behind a bit. What we do know is that the plant may be effective for preventing migraines as well as reducing the severity of the symptoms once one hits.
Best Delivery Methods
So, cannabis may be beneficial for those with migraines, but what’s the best delivery method for relief? Let’s take a look at some of your options.
When it comes to fast-acting relief, which most migraine sufferers want, smoking and vaping are near the top of the list. Inhalation brings the cannabinoids into your lungs, where they transfer into your bloodstream. Those cannabinoids then get to work providing the relief you need.
While smoking and vaping offer fast results, not everyone wants to inhale anything. Not only is smoke harmful to your lungs, but these methods aren’t exactly discreet. Sublingual tinctures provide a fast-acting alternative. Instead of inhaling the cannabinoids, they absorb into your bloodstream via the thin skin underneath your tongue.
One method that might not be ideal is edibles. When you have a migraine, you may find yourself dealing with nausea and vomiting. If this is the case, eating something is probably the last thing that you want to do. Edibles also take almost two hours to take effect. While you may use edibles to prevent migraines, they might not be the best option if you’re trying to combat an active one.
If you deal with migraines, but you’re looking for something other than conventional medications, cannabis may offer a solution. Consider speaking with your healthcare provider before you try it to see if it might be right for you.