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Best CBD Strains for Migraines & Tension Headaches: Indica or Sativa?

A migraine is known as a headache disorder that consists of recurrent moderate-to-severe headaches that typically affect one half of the head. Migraines are often pulsating in nature and can last from four to 72-hours or longer. The common symptoms can be incredibly destabilizing and disabling, such as; nausea, visual disturbances, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, touch, light, and smell, tingling or numbness in the face or extremities. Physical activity can exacerbate the pain. [1]

Migraines affect approximately one billion people worldwide and about thirty-nine million men, women, and children in the United States, making up roughly 12% of the population. Nearly 1 in 4 households includes someone. Eighteen percent women, six percent men, and ten percent of children experience migraines. Migraines are the third most prevalent illness and the sixth-most disabling illness in the world. Everyone either knows someone who is affected by migraines, or struggles with the disease themselves. Migraine typically runs in families with about ninety percent of sufferers having a family history of migraine. Unfortunately, the underlying processes are not fully understood or known. Migraines are often believed to involve the nerves and blood vessels of the brain but could also be caused by issues in the cervical spine. Anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances are common for those with chronic migraine. [2]

Fascinatingly, an overuse of medication is the most common reason episodic migraine turns chronic. Furthermore, the health care and lost-productivity costs related to migraine is estimated to be as high as $36 billion annually in the US alone. Notably, although 25 percent of sufferers would benefit from preventative treatment, only 12 percent of all sufferers receive it. [1]

What these numbers indicate, is that improved options for treatment of migraine must be developed as soon as possible. Recent research reveals that migraines may be because of an endocannabinoid deficiency and abnormal inflammatory response [3] (which has also been found to be the case in autoimmune pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, [4] endometriosis [5] [6] [7], multiple sclerosis [8], ALS, and rheumatoid arthritis [9]).

Does CBD Oil Help tension headaches?

Interestingly, those suffering from migraines have said to be feeling as if the brain tissue itself is inflamed and physically bumping against the skull. The utilization of CBD and THC cannabis products can assist in resolving endocannabinoid deficiencies and adjust or reduce inflammation.

The information contained in this article is not a substitute for medical advice. Prior to making changes to your treatment plan, consult with your healthcare professional. It is suggested people work with a doctor who is experienced in recommending CBD or medicinal marijuana so the delivery method and dosage can be adjusted and fine tuned based on the individual. At the same time, those who are highly aware and educated, can become their own highly informed health consultants. Depending on the country in which you reside, will depend on the availability of cannabidiol and medicinal marijuana and/or cannabis products.

What is good for migraine relief?

CBD-rich cannabis products with a ratio of 20:1 or higher, given as capsules, edibles, or drops, can be incredibly effective in treating pain. Many sources suggest that treating migraine pain with CBD largely involves finding the right dose. Always start with a micro dose to test for sensitivity and increase using the titrate method as needed until symptoms subside. The micro to standard dose is typically the recommended level for migraines, but it’s important to monitor the condition and experiment to find the right formula. 

Best CBD Strains for Migraines

Generally speaking, utilizing CBD to prevent migraine symptoms from occuring in the first place is easier than trying to ease the onset of symptoms once a migraine has set in. Once a migraine has taken hold, people will usually need to augment CBD with some quantity of THC. Someone without experience using THC should use caution and test for sensitivity using a micro dose at first, then titrate slowly up to higher doses. A 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC has been known to be advantageous when experiencing too much psychoactivity, due to the fact that CBD has the ability to neutralize some of the psychoactive effects of THC.

What is the best strain for migraine headaches?

Unique anti-inflammatory strains of cannabis high in CBD, such as Sour Tsunami, Swiss Gold, Valentine X, and Harlequin, can be very effective in reducing migraine symptoms. Sour Diesel, although has a higher THC profile and lower CBD profile, is another strain of cannabis that has been found to be very effective in reducing pain, especially after the onset of more severe symptoms. Researchers discovered that inhaling cannabis products is a more effective delivery method than ingestion, as cannabinoids have the ability to act faster without any delay getting into the bloodstream.

What is good for migraine relief?

A physician, Dr Allan Frankel, who treats migraine-sufferers with CBD, stated, “Every migraine patient I have seen has always suffered with anxiety and tight cervical muscle issues. So, whether it is a true migraine, cluster or other non-vascular headache, my recommendation is almost always modest doses of a high ratio CBD:THC capsule.” [10]

Another delivery method for migraines that is recommended by Dr Michael Moskowitz involves providing a few drops of an alcohol-based tincture to the inner cheek by the jaw muscle, where sensory and motor branches of the trigeminal nerve are located (this is the same area a dentists applies anesthetic to numb the jaw).

Is sativa or indica better for migraines?

A THC-rich sativa strain of cannabis in an alcohol tincture can be applied with a cotton swab or your finger. This method is very fast-acting for migraines. Along with this, a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC from strains leaning towards sativa are recommended, and can be very helpful in bringing cannabinoid relief directly to the area of pain. A CBD-rich, low-THC oil based tincture can also be very effective. An added benefit, is that none of these options cause any psychotropic effects in the majority of users.

Anxiety that can be brought on after several migraine attacks is known as an anticipatory symptom and can best be assisted with a minimal dose of CBD in the morning. The cervical muscle tension that can come before a migraine can be administered with a similar CBD regime. Dr Frankel mentioned, “I have seen this nearly always work.” [10]

Important consideration; alcohol and caffeine can be migraine-triggering substances. For prevention, it is best to avoid these substances entirely.

What strains are best for migraines?

There are also other cannabinoids from the cannabis plant that have been shown to relieve pain such as CBG, CBC, THCV, and THCA. Cannabis strains high in the terpenes beta-caryophyllene, myrcene, and linalool provide additional pain relief and increase the effectiveness of other cannabinoids for analgesia when taken together.

For immediate symptom relief, such as in the case of a flare up of pain, smoking or vaporizing works well. The effect is immediate and lasts one to three hours, whereas most ingestible products take thirty to sixty minutes before taking effect (quicker on an empty stomach) and last six to eight hours. Vaporizers that utilize a cartridge filled with a CO2 concentrate are also very effective, and are found in a variety of ratios of CBD to THC. Herbal vaporizers that utilize the entire cannabis plant are also an effective delivery method. Sublingual tinctures taken as drops, or sprays, can take effect rapidly and last longer than inhaled products.

The Cannabis Health index is a scoring system based on the best available evidence in the medical literature to date, found cannabis rated in the possible-to-probable range of efficacy for migraine.

Do CBD help headaches?

A study from 2014, published in the International Classification of Headache Disorders, found that medical cannabis could reduce migraine frequency. The study researchers discovered that, on average, migraine-suffering patients who used medical marijuana saw their frequency of migraines and nausea-related symptoms drop significantly. [11]

Although initial findings are of great encouragement with regards to migraine and CBD use, we are hopeful that future research will provide more insight into how migraines are caused and how CBD works for the symptoms.

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