Headaches and migraines are a daily occurrence for some who suffer from the painful recurring issue. Even more so, severe migraines can be completely debilitating keeping those from living and enjoying life as normal.
With few treatments or medications that relieve the pesky aches, many are turning to cannabis for relief. Especially when considering more natural alternatives for remedying pain, and in life in general. So, does cannabis for migraines and headaches really work? We set out for the answer and have compiled the complete guide with everything you need to know on the topic.
What causes headaches and migraines?
To understand how cannabis can help alleviate pain associated with migraines and headaches, let’s first remind ourselves of what causes the initial pain. The reason why the two aches are so common occurring is due to their source, too. Put simply…almost anything can trigger a headache or migraine, including –
- Hormonal changes
- Sensory stimuli like bright lights, and strong scents
- Changes in sleep
- Drinks like caffeine or alcohol
- Weather changes
- Food Additives
See, what we mean? But when you look at the science behind headaches and migraines, a few factors definitely play a part. Levels of serotonin, and increased activity of nerurotransmitters in the brain. Other studies show that brain inflammation may increase migraines for women specifically, too.
Surprisingly enough, cannabis and the cannabinoids it contains also affect these body activities and compounds. Which some experts in the field have begun to explore more intricately. Next, we’ll look at how cannabis and migraines connect internally to help provide relief for the aches’ and symptoms.
How cannabis works to relieve head pain
Inflammation, serotonin, and neurotransmitters, are each individually influenced by cannabinoids that enter the body when you consume or inhale cannabis goods. Leading many to believe that cannabis could be a treatment for headaches and migraine pain. From many early studies, we do know the results are promising.
Research is showing that cannabis for migraines works like it does for pain. It interacts with pain receptors in the brain, and actually inhibits them. In turn, this makes less pain felt for the person consuming. But more interesting is the way that cannabinoids can quiet brain activity, or slow down the overactive neurotransmitters that cause certain headache pains. The endocannabinoid system that cannabinoids interact with is responsible for regulating other systems. So, when one is overworking, i.e. in the case of headaches, the receptors have the ability to ‘quiet it down’.
By now, we pretty much all know that THC and CBD are highly anti-inflammatory in effect. With many studies proving cannabinoids to be an immunosuppressant. What we don’t know yet, is which is better or what combination works best for headache relief. Luckily, this factor is being widely tested for headaches specifically. One study found positive results with equal doses of THC:CBD. When administering 200 mg doses of both CBD and THC, 55% of participants felt a reduction in pain. In fact, 43.5% cited that pain relief was more effective than commonly prescribed medicines.
Finally, comes the connection of cannabis to serotonin. When serotonin levels fall, they cause blood vessels in the brain to dilate or swell. Hence, the headache or migraine pain and swelling you might feel. On the flip side, cannabis and specifically CBD and THC have the ability to increase serotonin’s activity in the brain. This works towards maintaining ideal levels for homeostasis or that overall feeling of ‘well-being’. Even more, studies show that cannabinoids also interact with inhibitory neurons that normally deplete serotonin naturally. Meaning cannabis provides a double boost to the important receptor, for feeling comfortable.
Since every strain is different in the specific levels of CBD, THC, and even terpenes that provide additional relief, how are you to know which to choose? Coming up, we’ll breakdown the exact cannabis components to look for when relieving pain from headaches and migraines.
Best strains and terpenes for headache or migraine relief
Since each strain contains varying levels of cannabinoids, terpenes, and relieving compounds, research is catching up on the exact formula for effective aid. From preliminary studies and user’s real-time use, we do know that certain genetics, terpenes, and high levels of CBD and THC are able to help more than others.
The aromatic centers of the cannabis flower are terpenes, which deliver their own unique effects. Some are more anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, stress relieving, etc. For headaches and migraines, the following terpenes and their benefits show to be the most helpful for relief.
- Myrcene – Pain relieving and anti-inflammatory. Produces an earthy and herbal scent.
- Limonene – Pain relieving, stress relief, and anti-inflammatory. Produces a citrus scent.
- Caryophyllene – Pain and stress relieving. Produces a peppery clove scent.
- Pinene – Pain relieving and anti-inflammatory. Produces a pine scent.
While now you can use your nose to direct you to the most pain-relieving strains for headaches and migraines, there are also a few specific strains that have proven their relief specifically. The following genetics are ideal in levels of cannabinoids, and terpenes, to provide an entourage effect of relieving qualities for migraines and headaches, too.
- Green Crack – 50/50 Hybrid
- White Widow – Sativa dominant hybrid
- Purple Kush – Indica dominant hybrid
- Chocolope – Sativa dominant hybrid
- Jack Herer – Sativa
- Gelato – Indica dominant hybrid
- Lemon Sour Diesel – Sativa dominant hybrid
Natural relief for recurring headaches
When asking the question, can cannabis relieve migraines and headaches effectively? It’s safe to say, the answer is certainly pointing to ‘yes’. Through increasing research and studies directly devoted to exploring the topic, we’re learning more and more about what cannabis can do for head pain. By interacting with appropriate receptors, and brain systems, cannabis is helping many relieve the common occurrence of headaches and migraines. If you’re seeking out similar relief, check out our collection of high-quality goods that have the ideal ratio of CBD:THC or terpenes, you need.