The Best Cannabis Strains for Migraines
Many of us suffer from headaches now and then. However, when a migraine headache occurs, it’s an entirely different ball game. Aside from the throbbing head pain, nausea, and vomiting, one of the biggest problems is that when a migraine sets in, it may feel as if you’ve gone head-on with a semi-truck. It can completely wreck your day and become debilitating. According to some migraine sufferers, “A migraine has a life of its own.” The only problem is that it takes your life along for the ride.
Are All Migraines Alike?
The textbook definition of a migraine is a severe, painful headache that can be preceded or accompanied by sensory warning signs such as flashes of light, blind spots, tingling in the arms and legs, nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light and sound.
In the U.S., more than 37 million people suffer from migraines, which is an estimated 13% of adults. They are more common in women than men and can last anywhere up to 72 hours. Unfortunately, some people suffer from chronic migraines, where the symptoms can last for more than 15 days a month.
One thing to note is that each sufferer will experience migraine differently. A migraine you experience will be entirely different from how your friends and relatives experience them.
People who suffer from migraines can often clearly identify specific triggers.
- Allergies: These can be seasonal or even allergic reactions.
- Irregular Environments: This can include bright lights or loud noises. Party lights and even strong smells can trigger migraines.
- Stress: This can be any type of stress. Examples include work-related, depression, tension, and even physical stress.
- Sleep: Tiredness, jet lag, or irregular sleep can all lead to migraines.
- Change of Diet: Some migraine sufferers claim that when they skip a meal, eat too much or too little of something (chocolate, nuts, bananas), it will trigger the start of a migraine. Specific foods that contain tyramine (smoked fish, figs, beans) or nitrates (salami and bacon) are also known to trigger the pain.
According to migraine.com, 65% of chronic migraine sufferers reported that depression was a comorbidity.
Migraine Treatments Cannabis and Conventional
Traditional medications developed to treat migraines include narcotics, anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin or ibuprofen), triptans (Frova and Imitrex), and ergots.
Let’s Explore Some Alternative Solutions
Data suggests that people have been using cannabis as a migraine treatment for years but is only now coming to light. A marijuana study published by Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado recently revealed:
- Out of 121 adult participants, 40% of subjects reported positive effects.
- The average number of migraine headaches decreased from 10.4 per month to 4.6.
Do All Cannabis Strains Have a Positive Effect on our Brain?
The answer is no. Furthermore, it is best to consult with your medical marijuana physician before choosing the cannabis migraine treatment route. Some marijuana strains could even have the opposite effect. They may cause your heart to race, initiating allergic reactions, and causing symptoms that could lead to a migraine.
If you suffer from migraines and have access to medical marijuana, then it could be helpful. But with so many different cannabis strains out there, where is the best place to start? Thankfully, we’ve done the groundwork for you. Here are the five best marijuana strains for instant migraine relief:
OG Kush Marijuana Strain
This cannabis strain is quite common, and consumers will find it in nearly every dispensary. The reason why it’s at the top of our list is that it has powerful sedative effects. This cannabis strain takes the edge off and also helps to combat symptoms associated with migraines. OG Kush is a hybrid cannabis strain that can contain up to 20% THC. This strain may help with pain, and also help take your mind off your migraine.
Pro tips for WICKED yields!…
Why Is the OG Kush Cannabis Strain Good For Migraines?
Due to its high THC levels, OG Kush can provide immediate relief. Also, its CBD content will help to support reducing the pain long-term. With this cannabis strain, it is crucial to catch the migraine before it becomes full-blown.
ACDC Marijuana Strain
This strain is an excellent choice for those who want a solution but don’t want the excessive psychoactive effects. ACDC is a high CBD strain that is sativa-dominant. ACDC has a 1:20 THC/CBD ratio, with CBD levels that can reach as high as 19%. It is known for reducing inflammation, which makes it effective at reducing the symptoms of migraines. ACDC is a great cannabis solution for combating anxiety and depression. Furthermore, due to its low THC content, a psychoactive high will rarely occur.
Why Is the Cannabis Strain ACDC Good For Migraines?
ACDC is rich in CBD. It is a strange but pleasant cannabis strain and has a sweet and earthy scent. It provides a happy and calm feeling, which is perfect for treating chronic pains, such as migraines. Many people use this strain to address anxiety, seizures, nausea, tumors, and tremors.
Harlequin Marijuana Strain
Harlequin is a 75% sativa-dominant hybrid that has a 5:2 CBD/THC ratio. It usually has approximately 4-7% THC and 8-16% CBD. Harlequin produces a feeling of clear-headedness and alertness, which may help you get through your day. This cannabis strain is beneficial for people who have high levels of pain associated with their migraines. The reason for this is it has a balance of THC and CBD, that allows for good pain relief without an intense high. Harlequin is also known to be relaxing but non-sedating.
Why Is the Cannabis Strain Harlequin Good For Migraines?
It is essential to use Harlequin before the migraine becomes full-blown. This way, the impact of the THC and CBD can be maximized. The THC may cause a mild buzz, and the CBD (depending on the CBD levels), can help with the pain.
Purple Kush Marijuana Strain
Some migraines are so bad that the only solution is to relax and wait for them to pass. Most sufferers say that sleep helps. Purple Kush may be helpful as it induces a numbing sensation that can promote sleep. Purple Kush is a pure indica strain that emerged from Oakland after cross-breeding Hindu Kush and Purple Afghani Cross. It contains 17-22% THC, and 0.07-0.1% CBD.
It’s easier than you think!…
Why Is the Purple Kush Cannabis Strain Good For Migraines?
This strain won’t have the same effect as the other high CBD strains. Its powers rely mainly on its THC content, which soothes the intensity of the migraine. It is best to use this strain before bed or if you have the time to relax and wait off the migraine.
Remedy Marijuana Strain
As the name implies, this indica strain is a powerful remedy for migraines. Similar to ACDC, it contains barely any THC and has typically around 15% CBD. Remedy produces a relaxing, mellow feeling, which is sometimes exactly what is needed to combat a painful migraine.
Why Is the Remedy Strain Good for Migraines?
You won’t find this strain in every dispensary, but it is one that should be on your list. Similar to all strains, you should try to catch the migraine before it knocks you out for the count. Remedy is a strain that will instantly combat your migraine but won’t put you out of action.
If you are interested in finding out more about how to apply for a medical marijuana card, then click on the link below.
We’ve done the research for yo…
Final Thoughts About Cannabis as a Treatment for Migraines
It is vital to consume marijuana responsibly. Whenever you are trying new strains, make sure you start slowly. And as with all health regimen changes, please consult your medical provider first.
Cannabis strains are an effective treatment for migraine. Learn which marijuana strains are effective and which made the top of our best strains list.
Headache Hacks: 9 Simple Tricks for Fast Relief
For many people in today’s busy world, headaches have become an increasingly common occurrence. Sometimes they are the result of medical conditions, but often, they’re simply a result of stress, dehydration, a late work night, or just overdoing it at your spin class.
While there are plenty of treatments to reduce headaches, including over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen, or prescription headache medications, they don’t always eliminate the symptoms.
And tempting though it may be, the solution isn’t to take more than the recommended dosage. In fact, many common (and super simple) lifestyle habits can help reduce your headache pain without you ever reaching for a pill.
Yes, massages may seem luxurious, but they’re also incredibly therapeutic. Sometimes headaches result from tension in the upper body due to muscle strain from poor posture or a rigorous workout routine.
Massage therapy may be able to reduce chronic pain as well as ease muscle tension that causes headaches.
Take the time to research types of massage (Swedish, deep tissue, shiatsu, etc.) and get reliable referrals for a practitioner near you who can effectively address your specific pain points.
For muscle tension headaches, hot and/or cold compresses can offer relief. For the cold portion, place ice in a plastic bag covered with a thin cloth to avoid harming your skin. Place the ice pack on your forehead and/or cheeks, basically wherever the greatest source of pain is.
Just be sure to limit cold pack applications to no more than 10 minutes at a time.
For the hot portion, you can purchase a heat pack at most drugstores, or make your own using uncooked rice. Take a small pillowcase or piece of fabric and fill it about two-thirds full with uncooked rice. Sew or tie the open end together.
When needed, microwave the rice for one minute. Apply to the back of your neck or forehead for heated relief.
Aromatherapy is the study of how certain smells can trigger positive and even healing responses in the brain.
Some smells have been reported to soothe and reduce the incidence of headaches. These include peppermint extract, eucalyptus, and lavender oil. They are readily available at many local health food stores or online.
Acupuncture involves applying fine, sharp needles to key areas on the body as a means of promoting energy flow. It’s thought to stimulate the body’s natural pain-relieving compounds, and according to the National Institutes of Health , has been shown to reduce headache frequency and severity.
Yes, breathing. You know, that thing you do all the time already! It may sound silly, but tension-related headaches can sometimes be relieved with regular breathing exercises that help focus your mind and ease your muscles.
Start by finding a quiet place with a comfortable chair in your home, office, or other location where you will not be distracted. Next, take slow, rhythmic breaths, breathing in for five seconds then out for five seconds. As you relax, your muscle tightness reduces.
You can also try a progressive relaxation technique by focusing on each major muscle group in your body. Start from your toes and work your way up.
Dehydration can contribute to a headache, but it can be easily avoided. Grabbing a good old-fashioned glass of water can help as much as an electrolyte-containing beverage such as Pedialyte, Gatorade, or Powerade.
But just as there are drinks that can reduce headaches, there are those that can trigger them.
Drinking too much coffee or too many caffeine-filled soft drinks can lead to headaches. So if you normally start your day with a Starbucks quad latte, you may want to trade it for a toned-down mixture of half caffeinated and half decaffeinated.
Alcohol, and particularly red wine, can also lead to dehydration that triggers headaches.
We hear a lot about the health problems caused by lack of sleep, and not getting your nightly minimum can lead to chronic headaches. But knowing you need more sleep and actually getting it are two different things.
There are several ways you can improve the amount and quality of your sleep, including the following.
Commit to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at regular times. Even if you just go to bed 15 minutes earlier or sleep 15 minutes later, this can be a step in the right direction.
Avoid stimulants in the hours before bed. Stimulants like alcohol, sugar, nicotine, and caffeine can keep you from sleeping and keep you up at night with trips to the bathroom. Give your body time to wind down before your head actually hits the pillow.
Choose a relaxing activity before bed. Turn off the television or computer and treat yourself to a good book or a hot bath. It may sound old fashioned, but a little relaxation goes a long way!
Certain foods, while delicious, have been known to contribute to headaches. Try keeping a “headache diary” of the foods and drinks you consume on a daily basis or specifically when you experience a headache.
If you identify a particular trigger, avoid it for some time and see if the headaches reduce. Possible problem foods include:
Caffeine-containing foods and beverages. Examples include chocolate, coffee, cola, and tea.
Monosodium glutamate-containing foods. MSG is used as a preservative and has traditionally been used in some Asian cooking. It’s also found in foods like instant ramen noodles.
Nitrate-containing foods. Most simple meats, such as hot dogs, lunch meat, sausage, and pepperoni can cause headaches.
Tyramine-containing foods. Tyramine is a compound produced by the breakdown of an amino acid called tyrosine, and it’s found in foods like pizza and aged cheeses.
The warmth and comfort of a steaming cup of herbal tea makes it an excellent way to wind down at night. Those same soothing qualities can have pain-relieving effects. Because herbs can interact with medical conditions and medications, it’s important to check with a doctor before drinking these teas.
Favorites for relaxation include chamomile, ginger, and dandelion.
Rachel Nall is a Tennessee-based critical care nurse and freelance writer. She began her writing career with the Associated Press in Brussels, Belgium. Although she enjoys writing about a variety of topics, healthcare is her practice and passion. Nall is a full-time nurse at a 20-bed intensive care unit focusing primarily on cardiac care. She enjoys educating her patients and readers on how to live healthier and happier lives.
Last medically reviewed on November 1, 2018
Over-the-counter medications don’t always eliminate headache symptoms. And tempting though it may be, the solution isn’t to take more than the recommended dosage. Learn many common (and super simple) lifestyle habits that can help reduce your headache pain without you ever reaching for a pill.