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Medical Benefits Migraines

Migraines

Cannabis and Migraines

Most of us suffer from either occasional or frequent headaches, most of those are "tension" or exhaustion type headaches, and while they can be nasty, real migraines, which far fewer people suffer from, can be seriously disabling. Migraines can happen as often as daily or as rarely as once or twice a year, and attacks, which literally feel like someone is taking tongs and crimping your brain, can last anywhere from three to four hours to three to four days. As well, migrains can be "common" - meaning there is no aura - or "classical" meaning there is.

Medically, migraines are vascular headaches. Spasms and narrowing of the blood vessels leading to the brain produces the migraine "syndrome" and reduced blood flow to the brain causes lower oxygen levels, which then triggers the release of serotonin (a brain chemical) and the dilation of blood vessels outside the brain, which can become congested. Migraines can either involve the whole head and neck region or they can be focused on just one region.

Current medicine isn't entirely certain of the origin of migraines, but studies are looking at:

  • A possible genetic basis, since migraines tend to run in families.
  • The role of food or allergens in triggering migraines.
  • Possible environmental causes, including temperature and barometric pressure changes.
  • The role of nicotine and/or caffeine in prompting a migraine.
  • The fact that since most (but not all) migraine sufferers are women may indicate hormonal changes as a trigger.

When you're suffering from a migraine, a classic attack is preceded by an "aura" about half an hour before your head starts to hurt. For some people these auras include smelling a metallic odor and seeing flashes of light in your peripheral vision, but sometimes an aura can also be subtle, like an unexplained cranky mood, or over-sensitivity to sound. When the headache comes it's intense, and may cause vomiting, as well as difficulties with driving, walking, or talking.

Current treatment involves finding a cool dark place to wait it out, and taking a migraine formula analgesic (usually a combination of acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine), avoid noise, and put a cool compress on your head, but there are also a host of prescription drugs which are as mild as Midrin (a cocktail that is stronger than Excedrin) or as strong is Imitrex, which can leave you feeling like a zombie. All of them essentially dilate blood vessels, and have pain relievers in them, but none of them work when there's a lot of vomiting and you can't keep anything down.

Knowing all of this, is it any wonder that medical marijuana offers an excellent option for migraine treatment? Consider that cannabis preparations have been prescribed for migraines in both England and America during the 19th century, where it was the primary option for treating "sick headache." Today, there available tinctures are absorbed sublingually (under the tongue) and work within minutes, and inhaling marijuana smoke or using a nebulizer can work even more rapidly. Even better, all three of those methods of absorption can be used even when vomiting is occurring, because they work independently of the GI tract.

The cannabinoids present in marijuana act both as an anti-inflammatory (reducing swelling) and analgesic (pain reliever) as well as providing anti-emetic (anti-nausea) properties. As well, cannabis helps alleviate the muscle cramps of the neck and shoulders that come with migraines.

Some migraines are triggered by anxiety, and patients with that trigger should be cautious when using marijuana because in some cases in aggravates anxiety symptoms.

The dose of marijuana required is patient dependent, but usually 3-4 drops of tincture or less than a gram of bud will provide relief for up to six hours. Marijuana should only be used for migraine treatment under a physician's care, and after a complete physical, including CT scans, have ruled out any other causes for severe headaches. It works best when combined with a migraine prevention program and a place to spend attacks that restricts light and sound.

Comments
 
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Kush Anderson | Feb 5, 2011
 
This makes perfect sense and the suggestions here are great. I have put a warm towel on my head but never a cold towel. Smoking a good sativa has helped with my headaches plenty of times. I don't know if any of my headaches have ever qualified as migraine, but marijuana has helped ease the pain each and every time.
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818king | Mar 7, 2011
 
marijuana is the only thing that stops my migraines, pills just numb marijuana heals!
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highinmilehigh | Mar 8, 2011
 
why would you want to take away something that is so beneficial to so so many people????Migraines are my primary reason for smoking marijuana
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Marijuanamama | Mar 13, 2011
 
I've been a sufferer from migraines since I was a kid. I have spent so many days hidden in a dark room filled with tears. But now at the mere onset of a migraine I can take just a few puffs and the pain eases. If you have ever dealt with the unbearable pain of a migraine, look to this as an aid in helping ease your pain. It works.
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Ha-Y-N Boi In CO | Mar 15, 2011
 
i get baaad migraines and i cant sleep (insomnia), marijuana definitely helps with the migraines and when i mix a bowl of sativa AND indica, it helps with the migraine AND puts me to sleep...and keeps me asleep! i know iraq has messed me up a lil bit but i think i can handle it with mmj as my medicine.
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Andy J | Mar 18, 2011
 
My cousin and girlfriend both suffer from migraines, and both of them use medical marijuana to alleviate their torture. Migraines just plain suck for everybody, they affect your mood and often are incurable and come on arbitrarily. For both of my friends they claim that pot "helps" their pain. Generally, there is no amount of weed that will make a migraine disappear, but the effects of THC will make it more bearable for you.
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Guest | Mar 23, 2011
 
Mixing Marijauna with alcshol can lead to bad headches
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Guest | Mar 23, 2011
 
Smoking Marijauna with alcohol can lead to headaches.
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Guest | Mar 23, 2011
 
Smoking Marijauna with alcohol can lead to headaches.
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Guest | Mar 23, 2011
 
Smoking Marijauna with alcohol can lead to headaches.
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lindzzz | Mar 24, 2011
 
I agree with the article about the medicines that are currently prescribed for migraines. I used to get prescribed a medicine called Relpax, because migraines ran in my family and my mom had them too. The medicine was $40 PER PILL. It only worked half of the time, end even then I think that cannabis is more effective to calm the pain and sensitivity to light and sound that is caused by migraines. For one of those pills I could buy enough cannabis to treat a migraine that lasts three to four days.
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SkillitHits247 | Mar 29, 2011
 
My lady's sister suffers from migraines since she was 16 and was given medication to take every night before she went to bed and said some mornings she would be migraine free and other days were not as bad/manageable. At 26yrs old her sister was diagnosed with a small tumor in her brain that the doctors were able to shrink with medication and will need to continue medicine to prevent the tumor from growing or spreading... My lady tried to bring up medical marijuana that would benefit her greatly but their dad is a marine and her sister's husband is in the Air Force, so she had the same-typical judgmental reaction when given false information about marijuana...
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lindzzz | Apr 1, 2011
 
I think I remember you mentioning that in the forum. I feel bad for her family because they really are missing out. Sometimes cannabis can be the difference between life and death, because existing medications are generally harmful for anything more than short-term use.
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Medicator | Apr 3, 2011
 
I have used medical marijuana for years because I suffer from migraines along with most of my family members. My older sister and I are the only ones who get relief this way. I refuse to take risky new drugs that cost way too much and may lead to further problems. I find this section here on medical benefits very interesting.
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sbsdewb | Apr 8, 2011
 
Never had a headache or migraine in my life until the day I had a massive head injury, now they are a regular unfortunate part of life. With out the benefits of taking a toke or two of my fav for headaches I don't know if I could go back to staying hid in a blacked out room with ear plugs in to wipe away all sound. This way I get to be an actual member of my family.
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Guest | Apr 22, 2011
 
im amazed how many of us migrane sufferes there are. i did start using marijuana for this reason, and it has helped, but most interesting it has helped in other ways too, such as helping me relax, calms my anxiety, and sleep. thats my 2 cents.
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Kushie Q | Apr 23, 2011
 
If you have ever suffered one of the debilitating migraines that takes you to a dark room with utter silence, ear plugs, blacked out windows, the whole thing and still had to roll in a ball from the pain. In that case if you have and you have tried mmj for the pain, then you know the significance for help you can get. It is better than anything I have ever gotten from any doctor. Nothing has ever helped, but mmj really works for a better day.
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Guest | Apr 25, 2011
 
Blaze It!
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Guest | Jul 14, 2011
 
im 17 and my mom wont let me smoke for migraines..and i get them often really bad:((..how do i change her mind?
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Guest | Aug 2, 2011
 
I have used over the counter and prescription drugs like Maxalt for years. They really didn't help and gave me the runs, but medical mj keeps me from running to the pill bottles .
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Guest | Aug 24, 2011
 
Well marijuana never helped me with migraine at the moment when I had it but since I smoke weed I have migraines less. I praise this flower, before I met it I was swallowing pills almost everyday and they stopped help me because I got used to them and I thought its just me and only my problem
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Hippie1971 | Aug 25, 2011
 
I have found that some strains do not help migraines, but they help other problems. As with any medication, the right type for the right condition. I have had some clear out the migraine withing 15 min. of smoking. Keep searching and find the right one for your individual condition
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jpotter | Oct 16, 2011
 
i get over-sensitivity to sound and light. When the headache comes it's intense, and causes vomit,as well as difficulties with driving, walking, or talking and it brings tears to my eyes so bad that i cant even get out of bed. But i find if i smoke just a little bit that the pain goes away as well as stiffness in my neck and shoulders..I have tried every thing on the store shelves as well as imitrex which makes me sick at first and i most of the time have to take two doses back to back just to take the edge off and it takes lots of time for the migraine to end..Where as smoking relieves the pain fast and i most of the time feel better with in 30 minutes with laying down in a dark no sound room
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Guest | Nov 25, 2011
 
i have had migrains for 20+ yrs,i took so much relpax,imetrex,and other prescribed crap that my liver enzymes went sky high and ultrasound revealed numerous spots on liver. i have been smoking daily for about 10 yrs and have cut relpax down to less than 20 per year. also depression and anxiety have been completely eliminated. mary jane is true life saver for me!
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Guest | Jan 4, 2012
 
I have had migraines since I was young, regardless of the medication I have used it either does nothing for me or leaves my day completely ruined because of such strong pharmaceuticals. I have found that the only thing to truly alleviate my symptoms quickly and safely is Mary Jane herself. Sadly even as a pre med student very educated on the subject, some people are just to ignorant to ever accept marijuana as a healthy medical choice, for me however its already proven its uses thousands of times over.
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Guest | Mar 9, 2012
 
I have had migraines since I was twelve and have had cat scans, MRI's Spinal taps the whole thing but still way to see what's up with me. I've taken topamax,neurotin,betablockers, calcium blockers, imitrex,zomig, gone to the hospital for the triple cocktail but smoking still seems to do the best to take the edge off. i guess i'll have to move state better to get the good stuff lol -ohio -__-
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Guest | Mar 13, 2012
 
I have suffered with migraines since age 12. As a critical care nurse I had followed all the research, took all the prescriptions with no relief. Took my MD 10 yrs to convince me, what a difference. Got rid of the pain, nausea, vomiting,diarrhea and loss of equilibrium. Changed my life from huddled in dark rooms to getting out and being able to participate in my life. Was doing well, then had to move from CA where I can be treated to New Englnad where it's not an option. Now going backwards. Very frustrating. And the stigma remains. Drug test anyone?
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Guest | Mar 16, 2012
 
I have migraines almost every day. Sometimes get up w/ them, sometimes wake up middle of night w/ them. Some strains seem to stimulate or cause headaches. Anyone experienced success w/ certain strains?
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Guest | Apr 12, 2012
 
Many of our patients are using cannabis infused oil. Only 3 drops to intake and migraine or headache is gone for couple of days. If you continue taking the oil every day or every other day the pains and headaches will be gone for a long time. The trick is that your body is getting rejuvenated even if you're not asleep. We have recorded a lot of such cases. VIP420.com
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Guest | Apr 14, 2012
 
Just to provide a clarification/correction, prescription migraine abortive medications such as triptans, ie Imitrex, Zomig, Amerge, are vasoconstrictors. They do NOT dilate vessels, but constrict them. They also should NOT leave you "feeling like a zombie". If they do, talk to your doctor right away. It is a common misconception that constricted (narrowed) vessels lead to migraines, however the vessels swell, and that swelling, along with inflammation, presses on nerves and pain sensors. For me so far, MMJ can either help relieve the migraines, or it can trigger one. Crap shoot. Amerge has worked for years. Just hope I can find a strain of MMJ that I can depend on to do the same.
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Guest | Apr 16, 2012
 
There is another thing marijuana helps with its bipolar disorder i have bipolar disorder and canabiss helps me the only thing is i live in new york and the state wont legalize canabiss and weed works better than my medicine does it helps me focus and it helps me in alot of other ways
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Guest | Jun 17, 2012
 
I just posted on the Tourette stream...I am a wellness chiropractor that advocates the use of marijuana as a natural alternative to the prescriptions that have powerful, toxic side effects on the body. The human body always spends favorably to mother natures medicine!!!! As a chiropractor, I can also tell you that I have never come across a migraine-sufferer that I haven't been able to help. Nerve interference always plays a roll in migraines. Go see a chiropractor!!! And look to mother nature for nutrition....mother natures medicine!!!!
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Guest | Jul 2, 2012
 
I have suffered w/migraines since I was 16, now I am 45 and tried it all, Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago 2 weeks one time and 3 another. I was on so much medication along with all the side effects, had a hysterectomy, became addicted to oxycontin, had to take methadone, been through pure hell and live my life scared when I will get another. MMJ saved my life. How can something so wonderful be illegal!! I can have a dibilitating migraine with the medical I can function and not want to die from the pain as soon as I use it. AMAZING with no side effects, just releif.
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Guest | Jul 4, 2012
 
Like some others, looking for strain for me. Some trigger migraine. Heard from someone familiar w/ cannabis use for migraines, straight indica or indica dominant is better as sativa maybe more stimulative. Also, begin slowly, sometimes one or two puffs at a time, not overdo. SensiStar recommended, try CannaSutra. Just passing on, do not know for sure.
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Guest | Dec 28, 2012
 
I have never found a strain that stops a migraine.....What I have found is that daily use of Sativa dominant strains prevent my even getting them. Prior to getting my "card" I was getting 3-4 migraines every month for a period of years. Maxalt. Emitrex, etc did nothing for me. Once I got my card I went 13 months straight without a migraine. I don't smoke alot; just a tiny 3-4 hit bowl before bed. If I do this every day I don not suffer nay migraines. I would add that some strains have actually exacerbated the problem....Some Hybrid strains that are less than 70% sativa dominant seem to be the culprit. Good LUck
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Guest | Mar 4, 2013
 
Having dibilatating head pain can ruin a person's way of life. The pain involved is nothing I've ever had to deal with. Cannabis works. I've gone as far as brain surgery to get help, saddly no help. Having access to quality medical cannabis is a must. I've found there isn't anything out here that truly helps. There has to be a better way, isn't there?
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Guest | Aug 15, 2013
 
I've used both propral and ketesse which are supposed to prevent migraines, but I haven't felt them working. I still had migraines 2-3 times per month until I started smoking cannabis 3 years ago. I've noticed it cures all my small headaches instantly, even prevents migraines sometimes, but every flower works different and sometimes my migraines have become even worse after smoking. I believe I've been very high at those occasions so maybe I've concentrated too much on the migraine