If you have ever experienced a migraine, then you know just how painful this condition can be and you’ll probably do everything you can to prevent reliving that experience.
For some people, a migraine is a reality every day. In light of the shortcomings of allopathic medications for migraines, people are increasingly turning towards alternative treatment options like acupuncture, meditation, aromatherapy, and cannabis.
In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about using cannabis for migraines and highlight some of the best strains for migraines.
Before we proceed, it is important to shed some light on migraines for people who are unfamiliar with the condition.
A migraine is a debilitating headache that is usually characterized by throbbing/pulsating pain on one or both sides of the head, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, blind spots as well as sensitivity to light and sound.
It is very different from a normal headache – it is much more intense. Migraines can make it impossible to go about your daily activities like going to school or work, cooking, and even eating.
Migraine is a common neurological disease that affects up to 1 billion people across the world. A lot of people experience migraines without knowing what they’re dealing with, and this significantly reduces their chances of being able to treat the condition effectively.
Migraine is one of the leading causes of disability in persons under the age of 50. Women are more prone to experiencing migraines. History of migraines in a family, depression, sleep disorders, and anxiety are all factors that make a person prone to experiencing migraines.
Migraine medications are designed to treat the symptoms (mainly the pain) associated with the condition. Some medications attempt to prevent migraines from developing.
There are numerous medications for migraines, but they all have similar side effects like sleepiness, tightness in the throat and chest, low blood pressure, depression, insomnia, and so much more.
Medics often prescribe antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, and also blood pressure medications for people with migraines. The use of these drugs often leads to unforeseen side effects.
Migraines are incredibly difficult to treat. Many medications are simply ineffective. One of the main reasons why many migraine medications are not very effective is because they focus on the symptoms of the condition.
But the underlying causes of migraines may be different in each person so treating the symptoms may not always work.
In recent years, cannabis has emerged as one of the best cures for migraines. It does not only treat the symptoms but is also equally effective for preventing migraines.
If you’re considering using cannabis for migraines or you’re just intrigued about how it works, this article was created for you.
These are the very best strains to try out if you’re dealing with a migraine.
OG Kush (also known as Premium OG Kush) is a legendary Sativa-dominant hybrid. It is a cross between Chemdawg and Hindu Kush.
According to some sources, OG Kush also has Lemon Thai among its parents. OG Kush originated in the 90s in California.
OG Kush has a THC level of around 20% to 27% and a low CBD level of less than 1%. It has a complex flavor with lemony, pine notes.
OG Kush produces a balanced head and body high. This is a good strain to use when you want to kick back and relax. It is good for when you’re stressed, depressed, or in pain.
OG Kush does an excellent job of easing the symptoms of migraines. It will reduce the pain associated with migraines and help you feel relaxed. The effects of OG Kush are almost immediate, and the effect tends to last for a long time.
Harlequin is a Sativa-dominant hybrid strain that has a high level of CBD. It is a cross between Columbian Gold, Swiss Sativa, and Thai Sativa.
According to some sources, Harlequin also has a Nepali Indica strain among its parents.
Harlequin has a THC level of around 4% to 9%, and a CBD level of 10% to 15%. It has a unique earthy aroma with hints of mango and musky notes.
This is a strain you can use during the day or at night. It has an uplifting effect on the mood.
High THC strains tend to have side effects for some people, but high CBD strains like Harlequin tend to do the trick.
This is an excellent strain for treating all types of pain. It is also recommended for anxiety, inflammation, and so much more.
Harlequin can help to manage the symptoms of migraines without giving you an intense high.
As indicated above, the combination of THC and CBD tends to work well for providing relief from pain and other conditions associated with migraines.
Purple Kush (also known as Purple Hindu Kush) is a pure Indica strain that is known for its beautiful purple, pinkish buds.
This strain is a cross between Hindu Kush and Purple Afghani. It was created in Oakland, California, and has been one of the top-rated exotic strains over the years.
Purple Kush has a THC level of around 19% to 27% and a low CBD level of less than 1%. It has an earthy aroma with notes of sweet grapes.
Purple Kush is a typical Kush strain as far as its effects go. It will have you feeling deeply relaxed and ready to go to bed. It also has a euphoric effect.
Purple Kush is great for treating different conditions including nerve damage, insomnia, chronic pain, muscle spasms, and more.
Purple Kush can soothe the intense pain associated with migraines. It can ease the pain associated with migraines and help you get some much-needed rest.
Northern Lights (also known as NL) is a popular Indica strain. It is a cross between Afghani and Thai Indica strains. This is one of the most in-demand Indica strains.
Northern Lights has a THC level of around 18% to up to 33% and a CBD level of less than 1%. It has a complex flavor with hints of sweet candy, piney notes, and also earthy notes. This strain is recommended for insomnia, chronic pain, lack of appetite, mood disorders, and so much more.
Northern Lights has a deep sedating effect thanks to its high THC level.
It also has an uplifting effect on the mood. We only recommend this strain for people who have a high THC tolerance level because of its high THC level.
Northern Lights is often used as an analgesic. This is why it is great for dealing with migraines.
When you use this strain, the pain will fade away slowly. It will also help you relax. Northern Lights is recommended for both acute migraine and chronic migraine.
Critical Mass CBD is an Indica-dominant hybrid strain with a high level of CBD. It is a cross between Skunk 1 and Afghani Indica.
Critical Mass CBD has a THC level of around 5% to 10% and a CBD level of 5% to 10%. It has an earthy, pungent flavor with sweet notes.
Critical Mass CBD is a good strain for anyone who wants the healing effects of cannabis without the high associated with the varieties of this plant with a high level of THC.
This strain is recommended for stress, depression, insomnia, pain and so much more. It relaxed both the mind and body.
Critical Mass CBD does a good job of easing the pain, nauseous feeling, and other symptoms of migraines. It is a good strain to use when you want to get rid of your migraine but remain focused and productive.
There have been a few studies about the use of cannabis for migraines, and the results have been promising so far.
There’s also ample anecdotal evidence that cannabis is effective for alleviating migraines. Cannabis is not only good for treating migraine but may also help to prevent them.
While the consensus among medical experts is that further research is necessary to shed light on how cannabis works to treat and prevent migraines, the results have been very promising so far.
In a study conducted by the University of Colorado involving over 589 adults, around 76.4% (123) of the respondents who experienced migraines admitted to using cannabis to treat migraines.
And they reported that cannabis worked significantly better than other treatment options including over-the-counter prescription medication.
In an observational study published in the Pharmacotherapy study in 2016, researchers found that patients had six times fewer migraines monthly when they used cannabis compared to when they didn’t.
Now, you may be wondering why cannabis is so good for combating migraines. The answer lies in how it works in the body.
The cannabis plant contains compounds which are known as cannabinoids. There are over 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are just two of them.
The human body produces cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is composed of a complex network of nerve cell signaling systems that is spread all over the body.
The ECS is responsible for regulating many physiological and cognitive functions. It controls the central nervous system and maintains homeostasis.
Since the body has an endocannabinoid system, when you use cannabis, the cannabinoids in the plant interact with the ECS, making up for any shortcomings in the system, to bring about its effects.
For years, medical experts have theorized that migraines may be caused by deficiencies in the ECS. And some clinical data supports this theory. Migraines could be a result of the ECS not working well or if the body is not producing enough endocannabinoids.
This could explain why cannabis is effective for dealing with migraines.
The cannabinoids found in cannabis can also help to prevent and treat numerous neurological conditions. And they can help combat many of the symptoms associated with migraines like nausea, insomnia, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, irritability, and more.
A combination of all these factors may explain why cannabis works well for treating and preventing migraines.
Cannabis plants are usually categorized as Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid. The difference between these strains has to do with their genetics as well as their physical appearance.
If you’re at the dispensary and you’re wondering whether to choose an Indica or Sativa strain for your migraine, here’s everything you need to know.
Indica strains produce a ‘body high’. They tend to make you feel deeply relaxed and are good for use at bedtime. Indica strains usually have a higher CBD level than Sativa strains. The CBD/THC level of Indica strains is close to 1:1.
Sativa strains produce a ‘head high’. They have a stimulating and energizing effect that makes them great for use during the daytime. Sativa strains contain a higher THC level and a low CBD level.
Generally, Indica strains with a high level of CBD are recommended for treating migraines. Studies show that CBD can help to provide relief from different types of pain including neurological pain.
It can also help to combat other symptoms of migraines like nausea. THC is largely overlooked when people think about the health properties of the cannabis plant, but THC is just as effective at managing pain as CBD.
A study conducted in 2017 by the 3rd Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) revealed that a combination of THC and CBD reduced migraine attacks by up to 40.4% and also reduced the intensity of the pain associated with migraines by up to 43.5%.
This combination of THC and CBD was slightly more effective than a 25mg daily dose of amitriptyline, a common medication recommended for people with migraines. The researchers also found that a dosage level of under 200mg THC and CBD virtually had no effect on the participants.
So, what does this mean? Well, THC does more than simply get you high. It also has some health benefits and can help combat migraines. THC, CBD, and other compounds found in the cannabis plant are more effective when they’re used together than if they’re isolated.
This idea is described as the entourage effect. So, when you’re searching for good strains for migraines, don’t simply overlook strains that have a high level of THC.
And it is not just about THC and CBD, the other cannabinoids and terpenes in the plant can also help to regulate pain and reduce the symptoms of migraines. Some terpenes that are known to help combat migraines include Myrcene, Caryophyllene, Linalool, and Pinene.
Cannabis is generally safe, but each person’s experience with this plant may be different.
While cannabis can ease or eliminate the symptoms of migraines, for some people, it can exacerbate their condition. Many factors determine how a person reacts to cannabis including tolerance level and genetics.
We recommend using microdoses of cannabis if you’re using it for the first time and observing how you feel. Also, experiment with different strains that are known to help combat anxiety.
It is also advisable to consult a cannabis expert to guide you. If you’re on any migraine medication, it is advisable to consult a doctor to ensure it is safe to use cannabis.
It can be tricky to find the best strain for migraines and the associated symptoms. As indicated above, people react differently to each strain so what works for one person may not necessarily work for you.
This is why you must experiment with different strains to find out what works best for you. You can also consult an expert at your dispensary to help you choose a strain for your condition.
With that said, some strains have stood out over the years for their effectiveness in dealing with migraines. We’ll highlight five of the best strains for migraines below.
Indica strains tend to have a higher CBD level so they’re often touted as being better for migraines but that is not always the case.
Both Sativa and Indica strains can be excellent for treating migraines. It depends on the unique genetics of the strain in question, especially its cannabinoid and terpene profile.
Critical Mass CBD and Harlequin are among the best CBD-dominant strains for migraines. But there are others like Canna-Tsu, Cannatonic, Sour Tsunami, Remedy, Stephen Hawking Kush, Hawaiian Dream, Sweet and Sour Widow, and many others.
Yes, weed can reduce the pain and other symptoms associated with headaches and migraines.
A 2019 study published in the Journal of Pain revealed that inhaled cannabis can reduce the severity of headaches by 47.3% and migraines by up to 49.6%.
Although experts agree that further research is necessary, it is clear that cannabis can help with migraines, headaches, and many other conditions.
These are some of the best strains for migraines, but there are many others we’ve not mentioned in this article.
There is ample scientific and anecdotal evidence about the effectiveness of cannabis for migraines, headaches, and other associated symptoms.
We are optimistic that more studies about cannabis and migraines will be released in the coming years, and we’ll continue to update this article as we learn more.