Migraines and Cannabis

Migraines are painful, distracting neurological disease that features recurrent and severe headaches. Along with the headaches patients may have blurred or decreased vision, difficulty thinking or speaking, dizziness and nausea. These headaches can last anywhere from 2 to 27 hours and seem to pulse inside your head. Typically getting up and moving around makes the pain and suffering worse along with making you more sensitive to light and sound. In most cases headaches are perceived by something called an aura. These aura can be classified as some sort of visual, sensory, speech or motor disturbance. Most times a patient suffers an aura a headache isn’t far behind.

Migraines are caused by many different causes including but not limited to environmental and genetic factors and about two thirds of cases run in the family. There are four main phases to a migraine attack. First is the prodrome, which means precursor, phase which happens sometimes hours or days before the headache and can include symptoms such as altered mood, irritability, depression or euphoria, fatigue and craving certain foods. Second is the aura phase which usually happens right before the headache. Third is the pain phase, this one is pretty self explanatory. And finally, the postdrome, meaning an after effect of the migraine such as exhaustion or confusion.

In extreme cases medications that are most often used to treat migraines are opioid pain medications which are highly addictive and dangerous with long term use. Some of the side effects include nausea or vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, extreme thirst and changes in mood. Because opioid medications produce a euphoric state in most patients they are likely to be abused if administered for long periods of time. They are also easy to build a resistance to resulting in the need for higher and higher doses. In high doses this pain killers can cause trouble breathing or shortness of breath, lethargy, coma and death.

Other medications that are used mainly focus on treating the nausea that comes with a migraine attack. Medications like promethazine, better known as phenergan have side effects such as confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, gastrointestinal upset, excitability, nightmares and twitching. Others like zofran can have even more severe side effects such as a condition known as serotonin syndrome which causes confusion, agitation, headaches, rapid heart and heavy sweating just to name a few.

Medical cannabis offers relief to sufferers of migraines mostly by relieving the pain and nausea. If taken soon enough there’s a chance that it can stop the migraine all together. On top of treating the condition cannabis also produces euphoric effects and offers relief from the anxiety. THC opens the blood vessels in the brain and allows for easier blood flow to parts of the brain that may be suffering a migraine. The cannabinoid neuroreceptors play multiple roles and offer the best and safest way to treat migraines.

Info on migraines http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/basics/definition/con-20026358

Medical cannabis and migraines https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-brain-food/201309/marijuana-migraines