Cannabis is one of the words people will whisper when you mention migraines. In places where it’s legal, it can be an effective pain reliever. But how do you take it and does it work?
Cannabis and Migraines
A MIGRIANE INSIGHT GUIDE
How exactly does cannabis work on pain?Cannabis is chock of cannabinoids, a natural compound known to decrease pain and nausea (a frequent side effect of migraines). Cannabanoids attach to receptors in your brain that help your body manage pain. The body has cannabinoid receptors already, which means those helpful cannabinoids can slide right in.
Does it actually work?
Studies are limited because of federal regulations and lack of funding, though more studies are on dock as cannabis becomes more widely legal. A promising study in 2017, however, showed a significant decrease in migraine pain when patients used cannabis in tablets (the kind prescribed by doctors). Side effects were also limited compared to other migraine pain drugs — just a little drowsiness.
How do I get it?
First, you need to know what the laws are where you live.
In some places, doctors can prescribe medical cannabis for migraines or other conditions, and in others, cannabis in all forms is legal and available for purchase at dispensaries. (In other places, no amount of cannabis is legal.) If you live in a place where medical cannabis is legal, your best bet is to ask your doctor about cannabis as treatment.
Don’t feel like you’re drug seeking: many patients are prescribed medical cannabis for migraines, and in a place where it’s legal, it’s a normal ask.
What about CBD?
You may have heard two terms thrown around when talking about cannabis for pain: THC and CBD. These are two different components within cannabis.
THC is the compound often attributed to the “high” you get from cannabis.
CBD is a different component purported to promote calm and relaxation without the high. CBD oil and other forms of CBD are legal and can be found in many co-ops or health food stores. Studies are limited on CBD for migraines.
Remember, when trying any new treatment for your migraines you want to: a) track the treatment alongside your triggers (in this app), and b) make sure your doctor knows everything you’re trying.