Medical Marijuana for Headaches
Those who suffer from frequent headaches know they can range from uncomfortable to unbearable and can often be the cause of missing work or school or keep them from taking care of daily tasks. Headaches can often be difficult to treat because there are many different types and can sometimes come and go with no regularity or warning. If you suffer from frequent headaches that have a negative impact on your quality of life, you may want to look into medical marijuana as an alternative type of treatment. In this article, we will discuss medical marijuana and headaches.
Types of Headaches
There are many different types of headaches and sufferers often experience more than one type, which makes it even more difficult to find an effective treatment plan. Here are three of the most common.
The most common type of headache, tension headaches are normally felt as a dull pain, pressure, or tightness around the forehead and back of the head and skull. They can often feel like a clamp squeezing the head and tend to vary in intensity and longevity. Though tension headaches range from uncomfortable to very painful, they rarely keep the sufferer from going about their daily activities.
Migraines are marked by throbbing, pounding pain and can last from a few hours to a few days. Those who suffer from migraines can experience them up to four times a month and often display other symptoms such as sensitivity to light, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, blurry vision, and fever. Those who suffer from migraines may also get an ‘aura’ before the headache hits that could include numbness on one side of the body, a blind spot in one eye, or seeing flashing lights or dark spots in their vision. Migraines are often debilitating to those who experience them, causing them to disrupt their daily activities.
Cluster headaches are characterized by piercing or burning pain around one eye and can be so intense that sufferers cannot even sit still when the pain hits. During cluster headaches, the eyelid of the affected eye can droop, the eye can redden, and the nostril on that side of the face congests or starts running. Called ‘cluster’ because they happen in groups, these headaches usually come one to three times a day and may last for weeks to months. They are incredibly disruptive and painful and can severely affect the quality of life.
Causes of Headaches
There are multiple causes of headaches, and researchers and doctors are constantly finding more triggers that can lead to the pain and other symptoms associated with them. In the case of tension headaches, the cause can be anything from stress to sitting too long in one position to illness or the wrong sleeping position. Migraines are thought to be caused by unusual brain activity and can be brought on by food allergens, environmental toxins, or too much physical activity.
Cluster headaches are the least understood of all types of headaches but are thought to be caused when a certain nerve pathway in the base of the brain is activated. This nerve is connected to sensations such as the feeling of heat or pain in the face and causes intense pain around one eye. Fortunately, the underlying cause of cluster headaches is not a brain tumor or other abnormality.
How Medical Marijuana Helps Treat Headaches
Ingredients in marijuana mimic the body’s endocannabinoids, neurochemicals that modulate pain and inflammation and control brain receptors. Many medical conditions involve impaired cannabinoid receptors which can lead to chronic pain, anxiety, and depression. This is also the case with headaches. When the endocannabinoid system is stimulated to produce more pain-relieving chemicals, it helps the sufferer with their pain responses and can relieve many of their symptoms.
In addition, medical marijuana can treat headaches by reducing inflammation, relaxing tense and inflamed muscles, and dilating arteries to reduce blood pressure. Both the CBD and THC compounds in medical marijuana have proven effective in treating every type of headache including tension, migraine, and cluster headaches. Migraine sufferers have been the largest group studied by researchers and some studies indicate that medical marijuana can reduce the frequency of migraines by 85%.
Why Medical Marijuana Treats Headaches Better Than Traditional Treatments
Depending on the type of headache one is suffering from, traditional treatments range from over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to prescription antidepressants, narcotic pain relievers, or new triptans that interrupt the chemical reaction that can often lead to a migraine attack. Some of these medications are used only to reduce the pain until the headache goes away while others are focused on preventing an attack or reducing the number of headaches that a person experiences.
Taking too many over-the-counter pain killers can result in damage to the stomach, kidneys, and liver, especially if done so over a long period of time or if taken in combination with other drugs or alcohol. Prescription medications can cause side effects ranging from dizziness and fatigue to nausea and low libido. They can also be addictive and lead to dependence.
Medical marijuana provides a more natural treatment for headaches that has few side effects and is non-addictive. Medical marijuana does not adversely affect the stomach or other organs in the body and can often provide a more relaxing and pain-relieving effect than prescription or over-the-counter medications. In addition, by activating the endocannabinoid system in the human body, medical marijuana can actually help treat the problem instead of just masking the headache pain.
How to Get Medical Marijuana to Treat Headaches
Do you or someone you love suffer from headaches and want to try medical marijuana as an alternative treatment option? If you live in Florida or New York, visit our doctors at MMJ Doctors clinic in Miami or schedule a telemedicine appointment with MMJ Doctors New York to talk about your headache relief options.
Professional marijuana doctors in our offices can discuss the symptoms you are experiencing and help you identify what type of headaches you suffer from. They can then determine if medical marijuana is a good fit for your treatment plan and subsequently recommend it and issue you a medical marijuana ID card. This allows you to legally purchase medical marijuana from any state registered dispensary. Schedule your MMJ card appointment now or call us at 1-888-578-6704.