Migraines are among the most common complaints received by medical marijuana doctors. These recurring headaches can be excruciatingly painful and can leave you writhing in agony for hours on end. In the United States alone, more than 38 million people suffer from this debilitating condition which is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
While conventional prescription drugs can reduce the impact of migraines, they cannot eliminate them entirely. This is why an increasing number of patients are trying to obtain a medical marijuana card for the treatment of migraines. But can medical marijuana really help with migraines?
What’s the Deal?
In terms of severity, migraines go way beyond your typical stress or allergy-induced headaches. Lasting between 4 to 72 hours, migraines can be triggered or amplified by even the simplest of activities. These include exposure to noise, light and movement. While painkillers can provide temporary relief, most patients are concerned about their side-effects. This is where medical marijuana comes in.
Most studies indicate that excessive brain inflammation is the root cause of migraines. As a matter of fact, most drugs prescribed for migraines (known as triptans) alleviate pain by blocking the chemicals which cause inflammation in the brain. The cannabinoids found in cannabis, such as THC and CBD, are well-known for their anti-inflammatory attributes.
One of the main reasons why migraine patients are turning medical marijuana is its efficacy as a chronic pain reliever. According to a medical survey conducted in Canada in 2016, 63% of the 271 patients surveyed preferred medical cannabis over prescription drugs.
Nausea is one of the most common symptoms of migraines. As medical cannabis is an effective antiemetic that is often recommended to cancer patients, it can certainly help reduce the nausea that accompanies migraines.
Migraine patients also suffer from anxiety, depression and mood disorders as a result of the blinding headaches. Medical cannabis may certainly help in that regard as it’s an effective mood-lifter. According to a study, migraines result in significantly reduced levels of serotonin, a chemical that is responsible for creating feelings of well-being and happiness. It’s not uncommon for migraine patients to be prescribed antidepressants.
Amazingly, the cannabinoids found in cannabis are also capable of engaging with serotonin. When taken in low doses, these compounds can boost serotonin levels. This makes medical cannabis an extremely effective antidepressant.
Before beginning any cannabis-based treatment regimen, you should check if medical cannabis is legal in your state. If you’re a resident of California or New York, get in touch with us at Indica MD. We can help you obtain your medical marijuana card.