Posted August 31, 2016 by Ljubica Kostovic

Suffering from Migraines and Chronic Headaches? Medical Cannabis Can Help!

MigraineGraphicChronic headaches, migraines and tension headaches are all painful conditions which can have debilitating effects on patients’ lives. An estimated 50% of the world’s population suffers from headache disorders, with over 2.7 million migraine sufferers reported in Canada.

If you suffer from one of these chronic headache disorders,  you likely experience a disruption in your daily activities, an increase in missed days at work and an inability to get a good night’s sleep. You may also experience feeling low, left out or anxious. As with any chronic condition, it is important to approach treatment and management options holistically. For many patients, this means incorporating medical marijuana into their treatment regimen to help reduce the frequency of painful migraines, nausea and vomiting, and alleviate feelings of anxiety and other difficult emotions.

Cannabis Reduces the Frequency of Migraines and Helps with Associated Nausea and Vomiting

Recent studies show that cannabis can be helpful in treating headaches and migraines. In addition to helping manage associated symptoms, research indicates that marijuana has the potential to decrease the frequency of migraines experienced by chronic sufferers. A 2016 study by Rhyne et al. found that among 121 adult participants the frequency of headaches reduced from 10.4 migraines per month to just 4.6.

Patients suffering from migraines tend to be long-term sufferers, and may experience their first migraine during their teenage years. Many patients also experience nausea, vomiting, photophobia and a sensitivity to noise. In addition to providing pain relief and helping reduce the frequency of migraines, cannabis can also reduce nausea and vomiting and help induce a sense of calm and relaxation during this difficult time.

CBD and THC Help Alleviate Pain

GrowWise_Graphics-05Cannabis is made up of over 100 different cannabinoids, some of which are responsible for the pain-relieving effects cannabis is so well known for. Both THC and CBD have the potential to provide patients with pain relief for a number of conditions, including chronic headaches and migraines. Some studies suggest that the significant potential of cannabis to provide relief to migraine sufferers is a direct result of a clinical endocannabinoid deficiency.  Phytocannabinoids such as THC and CBD are able to counteract an individual’s endocannabinoid deficiency by providing the body with a natural source of cannabinoids. In this way, cannabis can help induce homeostasis and provide patients with much needed pain relief. In addition, because CB2 receptors are found throughout our body, THC, CBD and other cannabinoids have a significant potential to provide a variety of therapeutic benefits  for migraine and headache sufferers.

Anxiolytic Properties of Cannabis

GrowWise_Graphics-06Research shows that cannabis has proven anxiolytic properties, mainly attributed to CBD, which help reduce anxiety, a symptom frequently experienced by headache and migraine patients. Similarly, many patients find relief from strains higher in THC content. THC is known to play a role in decreasing anxiety and modulating negative emotions and memories.

Maintaining your mental health in addition to managing pain, nausea, and vomiting, is essential for improving your quality of life. Many chronic headache patients report feeling low, irritable and withdrawing from social and professional situations. In addition to helping manage pain, cannabis may provide support for issues pertaining to your mental health. Decreasing anxiety and inducing a sense of calm can be crucial for re-establishing social networks and renewing professional commitments.

Cannabis Can Help You Get a Good Night’s Sleep

As with many chronic conditions, patients often struggle to achieve restful and good quality sleep. Where pain management and quality of life are concerned, many patients experience a significant improvement in symptoms once they are able to achieve a good night’s sleep. Sleep can have profound impacts on our overall health, and may be crucial in helping manage the frequency and intensity of migraines and headaches. Both THC and CBD are often used by patients to help them get to sleep and stay asleepStudies show that high cannabinoid levels promote sleep, and that THC is highly sedative.

Microdosing Your Cannabis

Customizing your treatment plan to help manage migraines and chronic headaches is incredibly important for ensuring success. However, one method of dosing is gaining popularity in the migraine and headache communities: microdosing. Many migraine and chronic headache sufferers have discovered the method of microdosing their cannabis to regulate their condition even when no acute episodes are present. In addition to practices such as microdosing, the mode of administration of cannabis plays an important role in achieving the desired therapeutic effects. There are many ways to use your medical cannabis to help manage your condition and symptoms. As always, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider in order to establish dosing guidelines best suited to your health goals.

About GrowWise Health

GrowWise_Graphics-07GrowWise Health provides free ACMPR medical marijuana education services to patients for whom medical cannabis may be an appropriate treatment option. GrowWise Health Patient Educators provide services for patients in Toronto, Brampton, North York, Niagara Region/Fort Erie and across Ontario and Canada.

GrowWise Health Patient Educators assist patients in selecting the strain(s) most appropriate for their condition and symptoms and provide guidance on dosing, safety and modes of administration. The GrowWise Health team provides medical cannabis patients with ongoing support to help improve their quality of life.

For more information on how to access GrowWise Health patient services, or to connect with a healthcare provider, please contact us here.

Follow the author of this blog on Twitter: @ljubicakostovic

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