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    Dr. Paddo - Wednesday 26 May 2023

    Cannabis and Migraines: Can Weed Help?

    We all have headaches from time to time. Although annoying, migraines are much more intense. This type of headache can hinder your life. If you're having a seizure, all you can do is lie down in a dark room. Medication can help, but cannabis is also a good option to reduce or even prevent migraine attacks. In this blog, we discuss what cannabis can mean for migraine.

    What is migraine?

    Migraine is a form of headache, but that's not all. It is officially a brain disorder. Migraine is often hereditary and if you have it, there is a chance that your father, mother, grandfather or grandmother also has it. The headache is very severe and is accompanied by nausea, hypersensitivity to light and sound and a temporary reduction in vision. Without medication, an attack can last half a day, with peaks of several days.

    Due to the intensity of the pain, you may have to vomit. Many people who have migraines can only lie down in a dark and quiet room during an attack. They cannot tolerate light, sound and smells. It should be clear that migraine therefore has a major impact on your life. You can't work or do something fun with your family if you have a seizure. And some people have these attacks several times a week or a month.

    Migraines can be triggered by various stimuli, such as:

    • bright light or flashes of light
    • Food (e.g. chocolate, nuts or cheese)
    • Fragrances
    • Alcohol
    • Smoke

    But why does someone suffer from a migraine attack? It seems that the neurotransmitters (these are the signal substances) in the brain stem become overstimulated. As a result, they cause an inflammatory response that is responsible for the migraine attack. However, it is still not entirely clear what causes migraines. Migraine treatment consists of prescribing strong painkillers, such as triptans. These are usually effective, but you will have to take painkillers for the rest of your life. Most people would rather not do that. So the question is whether there is an alternative, and that could be cannabis.


    The connection between migraine and cannabis

    The body is a complicated system. The blood pressure, the digestive system, the immune system and the nerves, everything must work together smoothly. It is the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that keeps the body in balance. The ECS is a network that runs throughout the body and adjusts all processes if necessary. This system works with the help of receptors and signal substances (the endocannabinoids). These substances can bind to a receptor on a cell and then pass on a command.

    Now it is true that the cannabis plant also produces cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC. These are phytocannabinoids, they come from a plant. But chemically, they are very similar to the cannabinoids that our body produces itself. They can also bind to the receptors and therefore also influence various processes, such as blood pressure, processing of pain stimuli and inflammatory reactions. So you can use cannabis to counteract the symptoms of migraine. You can read how that works below.

    Influence on pain stimuli

    In 2013 a researchpublished in the Journal of Neuroscience. This showed that in people who suffer from chronic migraine, the blood vessels and nerves in the skull are hypersensitive, causing them to experience a lot of pain. Cannabis affects the ECS and the production of the neurotransmitter anandamide. This substance can reduce the pain response of the nerves.

    Serotonin release

    Serotonin also plays a major role in the development of migraine. Off research(which was already done in 1985) shows that just before a migraine attack starts, the production of serotonin rises sharply. The ECS affects the serotonin signalling system. When you use cannabis, it can cause the CB1 receptors to be activated, inhibiting the release of serotonin. In this way, weed can help prevent or reduce a migraine attack.

    Vasoconstrictor effect

    Another factor that plays a role in migraine is the widening and narrowing of the blood vessels. It is one of the causes of migraines sudden narrowing of the blood vessels, which inhibits the flow of blood, which causes high pressure. Then the vessels dilate again. It is this dilation that causes the severe headaches associated with migraines. Serotonin is suspected to be responsible for this. Cannabis has a vasoconstrictor effect, so it can help relieve the pain of migraines.


    Use cannabis for headaches?

    Suffering from migraines and wondering if cannabis might be something for you? Many people benefit from it. With a studyfrom 2019, 1300 migraine sufferers who used cannabis for their headaches interrogated. Nearly 50% indicated that this drug helped to reduce the severity of the attacks.

    If you are interested in using cannabis, it is good to see which strain could help. Weed may just seem like weed, but there are many different strains, all of which have different ratios of active ingredients. Both THC and CBD (the two best-known cannabinoids) can affect migraines. And then there are the terpenes and flavonoids that also have an effect. Research shows that cannabis strains with a high CBD content and a medium to high THC content in particular have a positive effect on migraines.

    In our shop you will find a wide range of cannabis seeds. It is not easy to predict which cannabis strain will have the best effect on your headache or migraine. You'll probably just have to try some. Look at the strains with a high THC content and look for one that also has a high CBD content has. Often Bona Dea, Medical 49 CBD recommended for migraine. Hopefully, you will benefit greatly from using cannabis and your migraines will become manageable.

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