Medical marijuana has been found to be extremely effective at treating migraines. A 2016 study out of the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado found that using medical marijuana could greatly reduce migraine symptoms.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy, involved 121 adult participants. When they were given cannabis, the average number of migraines decreased from 10.4 to 4.6 per month. Overall, 85% of participants reported fewer migraines, 19.8% reported that cannabis helped prevent their migraines, and 11.6% of participants reported that medical marijuana stopped their migraines altogether. The study also found that inhalation was the best administration method for fast migraine relief.
The Endocannabinoid Connection to Migraines
A 2008 study published in Neuroendocrinology Letters found that migraines are deeply connected with endocannabinoid function. The study stated that the possible cause of migraines could be an endocannabinoid deficiency, meaning cannabis could be extremely helpful in decreasing migraines by supplementing the body’s natural store of endocannabinoids.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has been found to be very effective at treating migraines because of its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is also helpful at relieving migraine symptoms due to its ability to reduce pain. CBD-heavy strains, however, help alleviate symptoms while keeping sufferers alert.
Most notably, high CBD strains will allow a patient to get through the day without the feeling of being stoned. Most of the high CBD strains listed below do contain some THC however. Depending on how sensitive you are to THC, some strains may be borderline psychoactive.
The Best CBD Strains for Migraine Relief
CannaTsu is a hybrid strain that is a mix of Cannatonic and Sour Tsunami. CannaTsu has high levels of CBD and low levels of THC. It’s known to produce calming effects and mental clarity. CannaTsu helps reduce inflammation, which is often one of the most common causes of migraines. This strain is also well known for alleviating pain associated with migraines and headaches.
Harlequin is a 75% sativa-dominant hybrid that has a 5:2 CBD to THC ratio. It usually has about 4–7% THC and 8–16% CBD and produces the feeling of a clear headed and alertness which may help people get through their day. This strain is very helpful for people that have high levels of pain associated with their migraines because it has a balance of THC and CBD that allows for good pain relief without an intense psychoactive high. Harlequin is also known to be relaxing, but non-sedative.
ACDC is a high CBD strain that is sativa dominant. ACDC has a 1:20 THC to CBD ratio, with CBD levels as high as 19%. It is known for its efficacy at reducing inflammation because of its high levels of CBD, which make it effective at reducing the symptoms of migraines. ACDC is also good at reducing anxiety and depression. Due to the low THC content, a psychoactive high will never occur.
Cannatonic is known for its low THC content, which is often below 6%, and its high CBD content, which is normally at about 6–17%, though it can sometimes be higher. It’s known for having a relaxing and uplifting quality. Cannatonic is acclaimed as one of the top medical marijuana strains because it’s great at treating pain and migraines with little to no psychoactive effects.
Sour Tsunami is specifically bred for its high CBD content, making it effective at reducing inflammation. It’s a sativa-dominant hybrid with about 10% CBD and a THC content under 10%. Sour Tsunami is known for its ability to relieve pain associated with migraines. At a 1:1 ratio, there may be a psychoactive high associated with this strain, albeit it’s likely a mild one.
Remedy is an indica strain with high levels of CBD and almost no THC. Remedy normally has a CBD content of about 15% and THC levels under 1%. Remedy is known to produce feelings of mellow relaxation. Its high CBD levels make it good at helping reduce the inflammation that causes migraines. Remedy is most akin to ACDC as it’s known to help with pain minus the head high that’s associated with higher levels of THC.
Stephen Hawking Kush
Stephen Hawking Kush, also known as SHK, is an indica-dominant hybrid. As a high CBD strain, SHK is known to be soothing and relaxing, and to keep pain away despite having low levels of THC. There are three slightly different phenotypes of SHK, and they’re all known to be extremely effective at treating migraines. SHK is also known to help people with fatigue, so it keeps people awake even as it relieves their pain symptoms.
Hawaiian Dream is known to be an uplifting sativa strain with high levels of CBD. It usually has about double the amount of CBD as it does THC. Hawaiian Dream is known to be a good remedy for treating pain, inflammation and migraines. It’s also known to provide relief without any brain fog, so it’s extremely helpful at treating migraine symptoms during the day.
Sweet and Sour Widow
Sweet and Sour Widow is a 70% indica dominant cannabis strain. It typically has a ratio of 1:1 of CBD to THC. This allows it to be a strain that has the pain-relieving qualities of THC while remaining borderline or mild in its psychoactive effect. The CBD provides the added benefit of anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve migraine symptoms while keeping a clear head.
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