Medical Marijuana Treatment for Migraines

Medical marijuana has been used by many patients to stop or reduce the intolerable pain and other symptoms associated with migraine headaches.  When common over-the-counter drugs or prescriptions medications are inadequate, cannabis is an option that may reduce and alleviate these often debilitating symptoms.

The latest research has shown that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical component in marijuana, can help relieve the nausea, vomiting, and pain associated with migraine headaches

Is Medical Marijuana an Effective Treatment for Migraines?

Though marijuana for migraines has been utilized for numerous years, it is only recently that researchers have figured out the reason why it works. One study looked at the consequences of both ingested and inhaled weed in migraine affected individuals and confirmed what additional research indicates. The study found:

  • Around 40% of the 121 participants reported good effects.
  • Individuals had a reduction in the amount of migraines, which fell from 10.4 to 4.6 per month.
  • Typically, 19.8 % of participants believed that medical cannabis helped prevent their persistent headaches.
  • Around 11.6 % of individuals said cannabis stopped their migraines altogether.
  • Roughly 85% of participants reported medical marijuana helped them have fewer migraines each month.

Smoking or vaping cannabis provided migraine sufferers with probably the fastest help, but also reduced the amount of migraines experienced. For the 5 million folks in the U.S. that have no less than one migraine each month, this particular effect may change their lives.

Migraine Symptoms Treated by Medical Marijuana 

Cannabinoids are the organic compounds found in marijuana. When you use cannabis, these cannabinoids enter your body searching for the cannabinoid receptors located throughout your body called the endocannabinoid system. They impact the way your receptors work and calm down the pain signals. As a result, cannabinoids help with:

  • Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Muscle spasms
  • Depression

Edible marijuana products, while highly effective, take longer to do the job, which is the reason many individuals choose to smoke medical cannabis. Smoking medical marijuana also enables you to regulate exactly how much of the medicine you consume.

Ways to Consume Medical Marijuana for Migraines 

For acute relief, some experts recommend inhalation (smoking flower, using a vape pen or vaporizer) as it has the fastest onset of action. In general, it is overall best to avoid any smoking or inhalation. It is reasonable to try other delivery methods to see if they adequately address your symptoms without the need to inhale. Start at lower doses and titrate upward. More is not necessarily better and could make your symptoms worse.

Below are some considerations when using cannabis to treat migraines:

Smoking: Combustion of marijuana by smoking gets cannabinoids in your system very quickly and some relief is usually apparent within 5-10 minutes. While the rapid onset of action is desirable, the effects wear off more quickly and may only last 2-4 hours. The obvious drawback of smoking is that inhaling smoke damages your lungs although there is evidence that suggests that smoking cannabis does less harm than smoking tobacco.

Vaporizers: Using a vaporizer or vape pen also has a rapid onset of action. Since actual smoke is not inhaled when “vaping”, there are potentially fewer risks when compared to smoking. Remember that ALL inhalation products carry the risk of lung damage. The extent of the risks associated with vaping may not be apparent for many years.

Eating: Many patients prefer to use cannabis edibles or tinctures to avoid the risks associated with inhalation. The primary drawback is that ingested cannabis has a delay of 1-2 hours before it becomes available and effective. One strategy is to use a vape when needed for rapid onset and consume an edible at the same time. The effect of the vape will be wearing off as the edible becomes effective.

THC capsules: Marinol is prescription THC in pill form. It tends to have variable results and does not have the flexible dosing and almost infinite strain variation that one can get with medical marijuana

Best Strains of Marijuana for Migraines 

Certain strains of cannabis work better than others when it comes to helping alleviate migraine symptoms. For instance, a strain referred to as Girl Scout Cookies is actually preferred by many smokers, whether they’re just getting started or perhaps have smoked medicinal weed for a quite a while. Users generally say it has a lovely scent and also offers a euphoric, calming feeling. Sour Diesel is another widely used strain. It has been in existence since the early 1990s. Also called “Sour D,” it gets its name from its pungent aroma that many people liken to diesel fuel. It provides a dreamy, energizing huge and also lasting relief from pain.

Other strains which assist for the signs of migraines include:

Bubba Kush: Bubba Kush is an indica strain that may help if you experience insomnia with your migraines.  It leaves you happy, sleepy and relaxed.  Bubba Kush might also be used for pain, depression and stress.

Purple Arrow: This hybrid strain provides uplifting euphoria and substantial pain relief.  It is a suitable option for migraine sufferers that need fast help without being overly sedated like other indica

Granddaddy Purple: An indica strain for insomnia and pain. It relieves emotional stress and also increases appetite.   It also works very well for muscle spasms.

Green Crack: A good sativa strain for individuals fighting anxiety, depression and fatigue, Green Crack can be a great option for day use.

OG Kush: Many patients credit this hybrid strain for raising their migraine symptoms.

I HAVE A QUALIFYING CONDITION, NOW WHAT?

GATHER YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS

You will need your medical records for a qualifying condition for your appointment.  If you need helping obtaining your medical records, just let us know.  We can help get them from your primary care physician.

BOOK AN APPOINTMENT

You can book your appointment online for a time and day that works best for you.  Its that easy.

VISIT WITH OUR DOCTOR

 At your appointment one of our physicians will review your medical history and determine if you qualify for Missouri’s medical marijuana program.  If approved, you will receive a physician certification form that you will upload to the state’s Patient Registry website.