Everyone has dealt with headaches at some point in their life, and for some it’s a daily occurrence. One of the reasons headaches are so common is they can stem from any number of factors, including dehydration, unmet dietary needs, a lack of sleep, and stress. Some headaches are so severe they can be classified as migraines. Migraines are different from the average headache in that they can last up to 72 hours if left untreated and can be totally debilitating for the person suffering through it. Migraine headaches are very common, affecting 14% of Americans. To help ease the pain or prevent headaches and migraines, many turn to over the counter medicine or even prescription drugs, in severe cases. While these drugs provide varying degrees of success in treating headaches and migraines, the side effects that come along with the drugs can make the symptoms worse. However, those faced with this problem are not without options. Studies have shown cannabis can be used to treat the symptoms of headaches and migraines to great effect.
CAUSES OF MIGRAINES AND HEADACHES
Determining exactly how headaches and migraines start has confounded scientists and doctors for years, but that does not mean there is not a wealth of information regarding what tends to bring on these ailments. Evidence suggests that migraines are the result of a variety of triggers interacting with a dysfunctional brain stem center involved in pain regulation. This means a combination of sights, sounds, and stress are processed incorrectly by part of the brain, resulting in the symptoms that those who suffer from migraines know all too well. Each individual’s triggers are unique to them, but the migraines that derive from these triggers have much in common. Warning signs like mood swings and excessive thirst can let someone know a migraine is imminent. Some may experience what is known as an aura or blurred vision which can come in the form of flashes of light or wavy, zigzag lines. The migraine attack itself comes with a myriad of incapacitating symptoms, ranging from throbbing pain in the head to sensitivity to light, and even nausea or vomiting. Even after the migraine is over, it can take a full day to recover and get back to normal. Headaches are no less complex than migraines. Headaches come in two forms, primary and secondary headaches. Common primary headaches are cluster headaches, tension headaches, and migraines, whereas secondary headaches can come from dehydration, concussions, or sinus infections. Primary headaches can be caused by drinking alcohol, lack of sleep, skipped meals, stress, or they may be a symptom of an underlying disease. Secondary headaches are a byproduct of other issues within the body. Pain from any kind of headache can be constant or come in waves, dull or sharp, and can come irregularly or daily. No matter the case, headaches and migraines must be treated as soon as someone is aware the symptoms are upon them.
Because there are so many different causes for headaches and migraines, there are many different ways they are treated. Mild migraines can be treated using over the counter medicine such as analgesics or NSAIDS. These drugs may be cost effective, but they often exacerbate other health concerns and regular use can make migraines worse. Drugs containing ergotamine narrow blood vessels around the brain to relieve symptoms of particular kinds of migraines. This medication often causes nausea and it is recommended to take another medication to combat the nausea. Other drugs commonly used to treat migraines are triptans. The seven different triptans require a prescription from a doctor and each addresses a different aspect of migraines. Common triptan side effects may include tingling, sleepiness, flushing, and throat or chest tightness. Addressing the symptoms of migraines is a pressing issue, but the side effects that come with the traditional treatments can seem like trading one health condition for another.
The symptoms of headaches are less complicated to treat than those of migraines. Typically, over the counter medicine like aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen are used to treat tension-type headaches, one of the more common types. These drugs are safe to use sparingly, but regular use alongside other medications can lead to ulcers, esophageal reflux disease, nasal polyps, asthma, and kidney disease.
Headaches can also be the result of other health conditions and psychological problems. Some have turned to taking prescription tricyclic antidepressants, cognitive behavioral therapy, acupuncture, and massage therapy to alleviate their headaches. While treatments like antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy are objectively effective, they require trial and error to reach the proper solution. Acupuncture and massage therapy can provide temporary relief but have not been put through any clinical trials to prove any effectiveness in treating headaches. Fortunately, those who suffer from migraines and headaches have an alternative they can turn to.
CANNABIS CAN HELP
Cannabis is an effective tool when treating migraines and headaches. The CBD found in cannabis works with the body’s endocannabinoid system to reduce the number of pain messages sent from a certain part of the body to the brain, just like analgesics, but without the side effects. Beyond pain, those who have migraines often have trouble sleeping, maintaining an appetite, and can become stressed. The cannabinoid THC interacts with the body to produce a blissful feeling, help boost appetite, and assist in the process of falling asleep, the most important aspect of any healing process. Both THC and CBD help to address the nausea and inflammation associated with migraines and headaches. While inflammation is part of the immune system’s normal functioning, it can sometimes cause more pain than it protects against. CBD works in the body to reduce the inflammation that is caused by or is causing the migraine or headache. The dizzying, blurred vision of migraines, along with the pain, can cause nausea and be very uncomfortable. THC’s interaction with the brain and digestive tract reduces the effects of nausea, making treating the migraine more manageable.
SENSI PRODUCTS TO THE RESCUE
Sensi has a number of cannabis-based products which can be used to treat the symptoms of migraines and headaches. Sensi Caps 25:1 CBD Softgels and Sensi Chew CBD Platinum are both excellent sources of CBD to treat pain without any psychoactive effects. For greater relief with mild psychoactive effects, Sensi offers Sensi Chew CBD Gold with a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD. For a full THC experience Sensi Chew Sativa (daytime), Sensi Chew Hybrid (anytime), and Sensi Chew Indica (nighttime) are all great options depending on when medication is needed. If headache pain is keeping you awake at night Sensi Chew Insomnia THC and Sensi Chew Insomnia Plus CBD are both infused with melatonin to help ease pain and drift users off to sleep. These products and more can be found at sensiproducts.com
After trying several products for my chronic sleep disorder and headaches, Sensi Chew Gold hit the mark for both conditions. I take one dose an hour before bedtime for dependable, solid sleep. I do the same for headache relief. I also use Sensi Chew energy on a daily basis as a micro-dose for improved concentration. All of the products are clean, balanced and consistently dosed. I recommend these products to anyone exploring heath benefits.” – Faith
“Love this for migraine relief! Taste good and helps me sleep. I started with 1/2 but during a bad migraine I I take a whole.” – Musty
“Commonly Used Acute Migraine Treatments.” American Migraine Foundation, 21 Sept. 2016, americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/commonly-used-acute-migraine-treatments/.
Rose, Nancy-Anne. “Cannabis and Migraines: A Possible New Treatment Option?” Leafly, 20 Sept. 2016, www.leafly.com/news/health/cannabis-and-migraine-treatment.