Medical Cannabis Treatment for Headaches
A headache is a specific pain felt from mixed signals between the brain, blood vessels, and nearby nerves, reports WebMD, noting there are more than 150 types, each treated differently based on cause and symptoms. Some of the most notable include tension, migraine, cluster, chronic daily, sinus, and post-traumatic, and rare and severely painful headaches include ice pick, spinal, and thunderclap.
The World Health Organization states that up to three-quarters of adults between 18-65 will have a headache at least once annually, stating “despite regional variations, headache disorders are a worldwide problem, affecting people of all ages, races, income levels and geographical areas.” One thing that is common among headaches is how medical cannabis can successfully treat them.
“The people used different types of marijuana, but they mostly inhaled it to ease a migraine in progress and found that it did help stop the pain. Edible products didn’t seem to work as well,” reports WebMD. “The people who inhaled or smoked marijuana also said it was easier to control the amount of the drug they took in, and they had fewer negative reactions.”
Headache Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Common causes of headaches are illness, stress, environment, and genetics. The type of treatment depends on the form of headache. While a tension headache calls for pain relievers, including acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen, a migraine headache requires taking triptans or ditans, a class of drugs for the type. Sinus headaches are treated with decongestants or antibiotics and cluster headaches are regulated with lidocaine.
Headache symptoms include nausea, vomiting, pain in eyes, dizziness, and pressure in the head. Along with dozens of medications for the varying types of headaches, avoiding triggers can also alleviate discomfort, and adds foods, alcohol, caffeine, and noise are common headache risks.
The Impact of Cannabinoids on Headaches
The Journal of Pain also reports in 2019 how treating headaches and migraines with medical cannabis is effective. Study highlights include headache and migraine ratings lessened by up to 50%. Men reported more significant reductions in headaches after using cannabis than women, and evidence of overuse of medical cannabis for headaches was not apparent.
“Use of cannabis to treat headache dates back hundreds to thousands of years, and is currently widespread among medical cannabis users,” reports the journal. Further evidence concluding medical cannabis alleviates headache pain is likely to continue s more migraine sufferers seek relief from the plant properties.
The Association of Migraine Disorders details the personal story of a sufferer Michelle Tracy, who chronicled her medical cannabis journey in a 2018 report.
“My hope is that my story might help someone else articulate their own mixed feelings, while also showing how marijuana can be effective in treating chronic migraine disease,” Tracy writes, adding “At least two of my doctors actually voted to legalize marijuana recreationally in our state based on my explanation of how it had worked in my life as well as my anxieties around using a drug that was still federally illegal.”