Migraine patients have a new reason to hope for relief. A study published this month shows that marijuana can reduce the occurrence of migraine headaches in some people. In fact, cannabis decreased the number of monthly migraine headaches by over half. 

The Study

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Migraines can be utterly debilitating. These extreme headaches feel like an intense pressure in one section of the head. Sometimes, they can even cause their victims to vomit in response to the pain. Sound pleasant? No. Absolutely not. Fortunately, research out of Colorado may bring some hope to suffering patients.

The University of Colorado conducted a recent study which tracked the anecdotal evidence of 122 adults treated for migraine headaches at two different Colorado medical dispensaries. They found that overall migraine frequency decreased from 10.4 to 4.6 headaches per month when using medical marijuana.

In the study, positive effects of medical weed were reported in 48 total patients. Those who experienced positive outcomes found that marijuana reduced the chance of getting a migraine by using the herb regularly. 11.6% of patients reported that weed kept their migraines completely at bay.

This study corroborates with a 2007 study by the Italian University of Perugia. In this study, researchers found that migraine patients had extremely low levels of endocannabinoids when compared to age-matched controls. An endocannabinoid is a compound similar to THC that our bodies produce naturally. This hints that imbalances in the endocannabinoid system may be to blame for gut-wrenching migraine headaches.

Other Helpful Migraine Tips

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Find The Right Strain

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When it comes to finding the most relief, there’s one big question in the cannabis world: THC or CBD?

So far, studies have indicated that anandamide (our body’s natural THC) may be a key compound in preventing migraine pain. Anandamide specifically binds to the CB1 cell receptors in your brain. These cell receptors are 10 times more prevalent than opioid receptors. What also binds to the CB1 receptor? THC. By comparison, CBD

By comparison, CBD largely interacts with an enzyme rather than the CB1 receptor itself.  Courtesy of Leafly, here are a few high-THC Strains to try the next time you have a headache:

  • Blue Dream (Great for daytime)
  • Super Silver Haze (Great for daytime)
  • Sour Diesel (Great for daytime)
  • Purple Kush (Best for bedtime)
  • Hindu Kush (Best for bedtime)

Eat Right and Take Your Vitamins

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Vitamins Magnesium, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), and CoEnzyme 10 have been shown to prevent the frequency of migraines. Though CoEnzyme 10 (CoQ-10) cannot be found directly in a food source, supplements are readily available online and in most supermarkets. When it comes to the other vitamins, however, we can get them directly from the foods that we eat. Why not kill two birds with one stone with these healthy, vitamin-rich medicated recipes?

Why not kill two birds with one stone with these healthy, vitamin-rich medicated recipes?

  • Kale Salad in Brown Cannabutter Vinaigrette – The backbone of this salad is magnesium-rich kale. A layer of toasted almonds also provides a decent dose of riboflavin. Pair these superfoods with a cannabutter made from a high-THC strain, and you’re set for success.
  • CannaGuac Tacos – Avocados are one of the top 10 sources of magnesium. An eclectic and delicious jicama slaw adds additional riboflavin and immune-boosting vitamin C to the mix. To turn these infused-tacos into the ultimate migraine medicine swap out black beans for cooked lentils.
  • Sesame Mushroom Bourguignon – This hearty stew is a riboflavin powerhouse. Containing both mushrooms and sesame seeds, this meal is the perfect way to sneak in a large portion of your daily B2 intake. To boost your magnesium, pair this bourguignon with the kale salad listed above.

As with any supplement or diet change, consult your doctor before beginning any new migraine treatments.

The exact cause of migraines has been puzzling doctors for years. Fortunately, new research shows that cannabis may help. Studies indicate that migraine patients have lower levels of natural endocannabinoids in their bodies. THC can take the place of these compounds when your body is deficient. This means that marijuana may provide much-needed pain relief to migraine victims.

Do you or someone you know suffer from migraines? Has medical cannabis helped? Share your story with us! Send us a note on social media or tell us what you think in the comments section below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Anna Wilcox

Anna Wilcox is a Pacific Northwest native with a passion for cannabis and natural health. Contact her on Twitter @delilahbfield.
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