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Controlling Migraines with the Help of Medical Marijuana

Migraine is one of the most common types of headache disorders that people have to deal with on a regular basis. In fact, about 37 million people in the United States suffer from migraine attacks, with almost 5 million of them getting multiple migraine attacks in a single month. Women are more likely to suffer from migraine compared to men, but anybody between 35 to 55 years old has greater risk of experiencing migraine attacks.

Migraine can have a severe effect on an individual's quality of life. According to statistics, 9 out of 10 people who suffer from migraine attacks are unable to function normally, let alone report to work or perform any productive tasks. Migraine can also keep an individual from socializing and can put a heavy strain on their social life.

To make matters worse, migraine treatment costs a lot. According to a study in 2004, a household with a migraine sufferer spends about 70% more on health costs compared to the average migraine-free family, with pharmacy costs amounting to twice as high. It's not surprising that a lot of migraine sufferers are willing to try anything that can help them deal with their struggles. Fortunately, medical research and recent changes to state regulations may have a great solution in the form of medical marijuana.

What is Medical Marijuana

Despite what most people believe, there is a distinction between medical and recreational marijuana. Although both types of marijuana can be consumed to help relieve migraine and its associated symptoms, medical marijuana is designed to have a more significant effect. To understand this distinction, it's important to familiarize oneself with the most important components of marijuana: THC and CBD.

THC and CBD are collectively known as cannabinoids — chemical compounds that resemble the same chemicals released by the body to activate certain receptors in the nervous system. There are dozens of types of cannabinoids in marijuana, but THC and CBD are the most important ones. THC has been shown to be responsible for the psychoactive effects commonly observed on marijuana users, while CBD has been shown to counteract the effects of THC.

Both cannabinoids provide several health benefits to their users, but since the psychoactive effects of THC are stronger than its other known effects, medicinal marijuana has a higher amount of CBD. On the other hand, recreational marijuana is taken specifically for that "high", which means it has more THC than CBD.

One of the main reasons why migraine sufferers might want to make the switch to marijuana is that the substance is relatively safe compared to conventional migraine medication. While consuming regular migraine medications can run the risk of experiencing long-term side effects (as well as putting a considerable strain on the kidneys and liver), eating too much medical marijuana will only cause a person to oversleep. Aside from smoking marijuana, which may aggravate existing respiratory problems, the other ways of consuming the herb have very little to no negative impacts on one’s health.

x²Despite claims that marijuana is a very safe substance, there is still a chance that the body can experience withdrawal symptoms. Fortunately, studies show that these symptoms are more manageable compared to withdrawal symptoms that arise from stopping conventional migraine medication. Furthermore, recovery from marijuana withdrawal symptoms can happen in as little as 48 hours.

It's also important to note that laws and regulations on marijuana differ from state to state. Some areas restrict usage to medical marijuana while others permit the use of both medical and recreational marijuana. Furthermore, there are still areas where possession and use of either type of marijuana is considered illegal, so it's safer to check your state’s laws to avoid legal issues.

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How Medical Marijuana Controls Migraine

One of the most interesting things about medical marijuana is that it can control migraine in more ways than one. The cannabinoids found in a dose of marijuana doesn't just help reduce the symptoms associated with migraine; they also target other factors that could cause migraine in the first place. Let's take a look at the different aspects of migraine and how medical marijuana can address them.

The first and most important aspect of migraine is the pain associated with it. The intense headache can be severe enough to keep people from functioning properly, and it must be stopped as soon as possible. THC and CBD have pain-relieving properties that help significantly reduce the severity of the pain and, in some cases, even completely suppress it. In a study conducted in 2015, results show that all test subjects suffering from migraine who used medical marijuana for 30 days reported a significant reduction in terms of pain and discomfort.

In some cases, the pain may be severe enough that it requires instant relief. Conventional medicine used for treating migraines may not be fast enough to provide instant relief. In some cases, the patient has to wait for several minutes or even hours before the drugs take effect. On the other hand, consuming medical marijuana thru inhalation (either smoked or diffused with a vaporizer) can provide relief in as little as a minute, and the full effects of the substance can be felt in as little as 10 to 15 minutes. Migraine sufferers with respiratory problems may want to consider limiting the use of vaporizers because inhaling smoke can irritate the lungs.

Aside from providing instant pain relief, medical marijuana can also address lingering migraine attacks. This can be done by infusing cannabis oil for migraines in regular food recipes. This, then, allows the cannabis to enter the body through the digestive system. Once the marijuana reaches the liver, the substance is metabolized, providing a stronger, longer-lasting effect. It's important to note that ingested marijuana may take a little over an hour before its effects can be felt, which means timing the consumption of the edibles is important to ensure the best results. Medical marijuana can also be consumed as oral tinctures for a more immediate effect, but it may not be as palatable as consuming edibles.

Nausea and vomiting are also common symptoms associated with migraine. Although medications specifically for suppressing nausea already exist, there might be a chance that those medications can trigger an allergic attack or cause other side effects. Furthermore, the extra medications for addressing these complications can add up to the increasing cost of medication for controlling migraine.

Medical marijuana may also double as nausea relief. Marijuana has been used for this exact purpose among cancer patients suffering nausea due to chemotherapy. This is because the herb addresses multiple symptoms without prompting the user to shell out extra cash for supplementary medication.

Although migraine only refers to the painful sensation in the head, other factors may be linked to triggering migraine attacks. On the other hand, the migraine attack itself can lead to other problems which, in turn, may increase the risk of more migraine attacks. It’s a vicious cycle. Lack of sleep is largely associated with migraine attacks. Persistent migraine can cause a lot of discomfort, keeping a person from getting enough sleep. In some cases, the lack of sleep increases the strain on the body and triggers yet another migraine attack the following day. Fortunately, taking a dose of medical marijuana can help make it easier for migraine sufferers to sleep. This effect is also the reason why medical marijuana is used by people suffering from insomnia. Marijuana users don't just fall asleep easier; they also end up sleeping longer and wake up feeling more refreshed.

The pain and discomfort caused by migraine attacks can also be a common cause of stress. To make matters worse, the stress itself can increase the chances of another migraine attack from happening, in addition to the other health issues that can be triggered by high amounts of stress. Consuming marijuana is known to reduce the signs and symptoms of stress, which is great news for migraine sufferers who have stress-related issues or triggers.

On a more psychological side of things, the fact that migraine can severely hamper one's lifestyle can put a lot of emotional and psychological strain on an individual. Not being able to do or accomplish things can eventually lead to depression, which can have other serious effects on the body. There are certain marijuana strains that are recommended for combating depression, most of which have just enough concentrations of THC to help improve the mood of a person.

Recurring migraine may put a damper on one's social life, but marijuana might even have that part of the problem covered. Consuming marijuana, medicinal or otherwise, can be a social activity or at least a point of conversation that can help a migraine sufferer open up to people. In places where both consumption of recreational and medicinal marijuana are legal, it's possible to go to marijuana social lounges every now and then with friends and even meet people who share the same struggles with migraine. However, it's important to note that most people go to these lounges for recreational marijuana.

Other than social lounges, consuming marijuana with friends at the privacy of one's own home can also be a great opportunity to share different ideas on how to consume medical marijuana in different ways. Sharing recipes or smoking techniques can be a great help especially for new users who are still learning how to prepare marijuana for home use. It's also safer to consume marijuana with someone else around because there will be someone there to provide assistance in case any problem arises.

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Controlling Migraines through Medical Marijuana Responsibly

Although medical marijuana is a great option for migraine sufferers, there are still certain things that marijuana users have to consider to make sure using the substance will have little or no negative consequences.

The most important part of consuming medical marijuana responsibly is paying attention to the dosage and consuming it in moderation. Although the negative side effects of medical marijuana are not as serious compared to overdosing on conventional medication, having too much (or too little) of the substance may prevent users from getting their desired results. Also, using too much marijuana means consumers will have to keep buying more often to replenish their stock.

Picking the right strain of medical marijuana can also have an impact on how much or how little a person has to consume to achieve the desired effects. A particular strain that worked well for one individual may not be as effective in treating another person because of various factors. It might take several strains before a user can settle for an option that suits their exact needs.

While sharing marijuana can be a good social activity, it's important to keep in mind that forcing a anyone to take the substance is still considered against the law, and can lead to serious legal issues. Users should make sure that everyone participating in the activity consents to the consumption of marijuana, medical or otherwise. This also extends to people nearby; a responsible marijuana user must consider their setting not just to avoid offending people, but also to prevent directing negative attention towards marijuana use.

Last but not least, it's important to understand that consuming marijuana can have an effect on one's perception, reflexes, and even ability to think. Although some may claim that certain strains of medical marijuana can improve one's ability to focus or give them a burst of energy for performing productive tasks, it's still better to refrain from performing certain activities such as driving or operating hazardous machinery while under the effects of marijuana.

Despite hundreds of studies on the nature of marijuana, there are still a lot of things that we do not know about the drug. As public awareness and support for legalizing marijuana grow, scientists and medical professionals alike are hoping that continuous studies will lead to the development of more effective marijuana-based treatments in the near future. Still, despite the controversies surrounding marijuana, it's hard to deny that its many benefits already make it a great alternative to conventional migraine medication.