Categorized | Medical Uses

Migraine and Cannabis

About 20 to 40 million Americans suffer from occasional to frequent headaches.  A migraine is considered a headache but not all headaches are considered migraines.  Usually tension or pour exhaustion cause many headaches.  Migraines can be severe and even disable the person who it is affecting.  Migraine sufferers can have a migraine from being a daily occurrence to more rare as to 1 to 4 times per year.  In addition, migraines can last several hours to several days and fall into 2 categories; “classical” migraine is with aura or the “common” which is without aura.

All migraines are vascular in which spasms and narrowing of the blood vessels which ultimately create a migraine.  When the blood vessels narrow, there is a lack of blood to the brain (or a lack of oxygen) which results in the brain chemical Serotonin to be released and platelets become congested in the blood vessels.  Migraines can either be located in one part of the brain or it can be the entire head and neck areas. 

Why migraines actually begin is still being researched but there are some specifics that are being looked into.  These are, but not limited to, nicotine and/or caffeine; hormones in women, genetics, allergies of food and/or allergens; environmental changes or conditions; strong emotion changes such as anxiety or anger.

As stated earlier, migraines fall within two categories of which one is the “classic”.  About 20 to 30 minutes prior to the migraine, an “aura” which occurs and can give the person notification of what is to come.  The aura may begin with bursts of light in your peripheral vision or perhaps a metallic odor will be smelled.  As the migraine increases, sensitivity to light and sound intensifies and nausea usually occurs.  Vomiting can occur and the pain that is caused is very intense that the person can be at the mercy of the migraine. 

The most effective treatment that migraine sufferers follow is to reduce or remove ones self from their current environment and into one that is dark, quiet and without any stress.  In addition, an acetaminophen or aspirin is taken and then the person must wait until the migraine subsides.

If acetaminophen or aspirin does not work, sometimes caffeine can also provide relief to the person.  Several other medications that can assist with relief are Ergomar, Imitrex and Inderal.  Others are Naprosyn, Tigan for nausea and Compazine for vomiting, and Fiornal.

If vomiting occurs, it is not helpful to take medication as it will not stay in the system long enough to be absorbed by the system.  If this occurs, additional assistance from ones physician, the local emergency room needs to be contacted for help.  Continuous vomiting can create dehydration and intravenous fluids would be necessary to be given.

There are serious side effects from a lot of the medications that are prescribed for migraine sufferers.  It is beneficial, when one realizes that a migraine is setting in, to remove ones self from bright lights, loud sounds, hot temperatures and do ones best to relax as much as possible.  Preventative measures can greatly reduce the migraine effects especially if done before the migraine intensity is too much to bear.

The most important thing a migraine sufferer can do is to obtain appropriate care from a medical specialist.  There are tests that can be done to try and determine why migraines are occurring and if alternative therapies, such as biofeedback and behavior modification, are necessary to assist the patient.  It is possible to use acupressure in which applying pressure right on the side of the head that the pain is on right in front of the ear.  This pressure can help relieve blood vessel congestion and nerve inflammation.  Most times medication is necessary although the side effects can sometimes be worse than the migraines themselves. 

When painkillers, especially narcotics, when taken on a long term basis can become addictive and when patients try to cut back on their medications, sometimes headaches happen more often. 

Amazingly enough there is documentation that medical cannabis provided benefits to those who had migraines back in the 19th century.  Both England and America used cannabis as the primary method of treatment for a bad headache.  Cannabis is available for medical purposes and can be taken either by tinctures in which is absorbed under the tongue, inhalation via a vaporizer or smoking.  When taking through the lungs, the absorption of the cannabis avoids the digestive tract therefore no nausea can occur.

It has been proven that there are several cannabinoids contained within the cannagis that can relieve migraine symptoms.  Not only is cannabis known for its anti-emetic properties but also as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic.  Cannabis is great at lowering blood pressure and can assist with relieving muscle cramps that may occur in the neck and shoulders when a migraine occurs.  Anxiety can be increased in some people if the migraine is anxiety related so caution is to be used as the anxiety level is to be decreased in order for the migraine to be dissolved.

The dosage that one should take can be difficult to determine as each person is different and each person’s issues can vary.  Although with proper control of usage, the proper dosage can be determined in a short time.  Before trying adjunctive therapy, patients are strongly urged to discuss this type of treatment with their physician to obtain approval for use of medical cannabis.  With the right prevention program and non-drug relief combination, migraine sufferers can minimize the migraine effects when they occur.

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