An intense throbbing headache, distorted vision, extreme nausea, exhaustion and sensitivity to stimuli like light, sound or touch; there are few things as instantly debilitating as a migraine headache. This excruciating condition is the third most prevalent illness in the world and, according to the Migraine Research Foundation, affects 12 percent of the population — or around 1 billion people worldwide.
For those suffering from a migraine, it can be challenging to even open their eyes, much less get out of bed. The pain and sensitivity can be so intense that the slightest noise or faintest light can be overwhelming. Still, there is hope for migraine sufferers, and it might just lay in the hands of cannabis growers. Many migraine patients are now finding relief with the help of medical marijuana.
The Science Of Cannabis For Migraines
While research is still limited, the studies that have been conducted, particularly that of the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado, suggest that cannabis use can significantly reduce migraine frequency and even abort current migraines when they have already begun.
Another study, published in 2016, reported that when patients used medical marijuana daily, average headaches per month decreased from 10.4 to 4.6, with 85 percent of participants reporting fewer migraines. And a 2017 study, reported at the 3rd Congress of the European Academy of Neurology in Amsterdam, found that migraine patients did best when using fairly high daily doses — at least 200 mg — of a CBD/THC blend. This potent and balanced dose of cannabinoids outperformed pharmaceutical options when it came to preventing migraines, and did so with fewer side effects.
How does cannabis work to relieve migraines?
Researchers point to several mechanisms that might explain marijuana’s helpful influence. For one thing, THC and CBD are both potent painkillers, and can greatly reduce the painful symptoms of a migraine, such as extreme headache and nausea. Cannabis can also relax the body and deactivate its natural stress response, which can be a strong contributor to migraines.
In addition, THC could help with migraine relief by raising serotonin levels, the natural chemical your body produces to help mood stabilization, thus helping mitigate anxiety and depression. While researchers are still exploring the role of serotonin in migraines, these debilitating headache disorders are linked to low serotonin levels, according to the American Academy of Neurology’s journal Neurology.org. Because of this, many believe that increasing serotonin with THC may help reduce migraine symptoms. This combination of effects makes cannabis an incredible medicine for migraine sufferers.
So What Are The Best Marijuana Strains For Migraines?
Growers interested in providing medicine for migraine sufferers in their community should aim to grow strains that are best suited for migraine relief. Luckily there are a large variety of options that seem to work well for patients with this crippling headache and its side effects. As with most conditions, the strains that work well depend partly on the individual.
Different people have different reactions to the many available strains. If you’re growing for a particular person with migraines, you should consult with them about what has worked for them in the past before you begin cultivating.
Still, many patients haven’t yet found ideal strains, and some growers may want to supply medicine to a larger population of migraine sufferers, rather than just to one individual. If you’re one of these growers, there are some strains that have especially positive reviews for migraine treatment. Whether your patients prefer sativas, indicas, hybrids or high-CBD options, there is something for everyone.
For patients who do well with sativas, the best migraine cure may be a heady sativa like Sour Diesel, Green Crack or Durban Poison. These energetic, high-THC strains go straight to the head, easing pain and increasing serotonin. While not all patients do well with these uplifting options, they are the top-rated sativa strains for migraine, and many patients have reported success using one of these three options.
Other patients do better with a more grounded indica strain, with classics like Master Kush, Grape Ape and Blueberry at the top of the list. These strains relax the body and calm the mind, leaving indica-loving migraine sufferers in a much better place. With moderately high THC levels, these options also boost serotonin levels to aid in migraine reduction.
Hybrids blend the best of both worlds, offering an activated cerebral high, pain relief for the body, and serotonin-boosting THC. For patients who prefer these balanced hybrids, the most popular options for migraines are Blue Dream, AK-47 and Trainwreck.
While all of these high-THC options are excellent for migraines, not all patients are able to function well when taking this psychoactive constituent. These migraine patients report that cannabis that is high in CBD helps ease their pain, without giving them certain unwanted effects from THC like anxiety, mental confusion or sedation. High CBD strains like ACDC (which boasts a CBD to THC ratio of 20:1), Harlequin or Cannatonic can be an excellent choice for these patients.
Migraines are a terrible condition to live with, but growers can help by producing flowers that aid with this challenging condition. Luckily, most of these strains are fairly common and should be easy to find. Whether growing for yourself, a loved one, or your larger community, planning your grow around the conditions you plan to treat can greatly improve success.