FAQ Headaches and Cannabis

Can cannabis treat headaches?

Can cannabis treat headaches?

Headaches are one of the most common ailments on the planet. The World Health Organization estimates half of the adult population has suffered one in the past year. There are myriad types varying in pain and duration, and cannabis has been found to be effective for most.

Cannabis has long been used to treat headaches. In 1892 Dr. Sir William Osler, the founder of Johns Hopkins Hospital and regarded as the father of internal medicine, wrote “Cannabis Indica is probably the most satisfactory remedy (for migraines).

Because federal law prohibits scientific trials of marijuana for most medical uses, in a 2017 study conducted under the supervision of the National Institutes of Health found “it appears likely that cannabis will emerge as a potential treatment for some headache sufferers.”

Americans consume 15 billion aspirin a year and that doesn’t take into account other over-the-counter and prescription drugs. In fact, medication overuse is a significant cause of many headaches.

One of the great benefits of cannabis, aside from headache relief, is the noticeable lack of side effects common with traditional treatments. People treating headaches with cannabis reported fewer stomach aches and muscle pains, and fewer incidences of colitis than those taking the prescription medications.

Is cannabis effective on migraines?

Migraines are among the most painful of the many types of headaches and can be disabling and last up to 72 hours. They affect women two to three times more often than men. Much of what fresh scientific research done on marijuana’s effect on symptoms has been done around migraines.

A 2017 Colorado study found that of subjects who suffered acute or chronic migraine, 55 percent reported being in less pain after taking daily high doses of cannabis. Lower doses didn’t appear to be as effective.

Another study, this one from 2016, revealed that migraine headache frequency decreased from 10.4 to 4.6 headaches per month with the use of medical marijuana. Most patient’s cannabis daily for migraine prevention. Positive effects were reported in 40 percent of those studied.

Additional research is still needed to determine how exactly cannabis reduces migraines. “We believe serotonin plays a role in migraine headaches, but we are still working to discover the exact role of cannabinoids in this condition,” according to Laura Borgelt, a professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and an author of the 2017 study.

What is the most effective way to consume cannabis for headaches?

In a 2017 Colorado study most respondents found that inhaling — smoking — marijuana treated symptoms much better than edibles. The respondents smoking also said it was easier to control how much cannabis they were taking and there were fewer side effects.

Vaping is also an option and is considered a healthier options. Both smoking and vaping get the cannabis’ active ingredients into the patients’ system quicker than edibles, beverages of capsules.

In the Colorado study, 40 percent of chronic headache sufferers reported that the number of migraine headaches were cut in half while using smoked cannabis as a treatment.

Rubbing a cannabis-infused lotion or crème directly on the forehead and temples has been found to provide quick relief. Some headache sufferers report that edibles may amplify the effects of headaches.

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