Aches & Pains
Aches & pains are a part of life. Bumps, bruises, scrapes, and more can have us reaching for the ibuprofen, acetaminophen—or for something stronger. For those of us who live with chronic pain, sometimes it seems like something works for a while, and then nothing works.
Whether your pain is chronic or acute, you may be able to tap into your body’s own pain manager—the endocannabinoid system. A lot of the time, your body does its healing work on its own, producing what your body needs to fight pain and inflammation. But sometimes the natural endocannabinoid molecules your body produces just aren’t enough. In those cases, a CBD oil, lotion, or salve may help. Cannabinoids work directly with your endocannabinoid system to help reduce pain and inflammation. If you’ve read our CBD 101 section, you know that the plant form of cannabinoids locks in with our own body’s endocannabinoid system to help get your body back in balance.
Migraine and Headaches?
Cannabis has been used for thousands of years to treat headaches. Medical cannabis patients are finding relief of pain, less nausea, and better sleep. Patients also report less frequency and less severity of their migraine headaches with medical cannabis use. A number of well-known trigger factors for migraine headaches, specifically sleep deprivation and anxiety or stress, are alleviated with cannabis, thereby reducing the number of migraine attacks. Patients also report that they spend less health care dollars on expensive migraine medications, have less missed days at school or at work, and have overall improved quality of life.
There is no question that THC-rich cannabis can help abort or lessen the severity of a migraine, especially if taken at the onset of the pain. Some patients report that low-dose, regular use of THC-rich medicine significantly reduces frequency and severity of the headaches. Other patients report that daily CBD-rich cannabis prevents migraine from occurring. Once the headache begins, a rapid delivery method such as inhalation or sublingual tincture is preferred by most. Specific strain choice results from trial and error for most patients.
Unfortunately, little research exists that proves the mechanism by which cannabinoids alleviate migraines, despite the overwhelming anecdotal reports from patients suffering with them. Recent studies show that migraine headaches may be due to endocannabinoid deficiency and abnormal inflammatory response. Remember that the endocannabinoid system exists to maintain cellular homeostasis. Often migraine sufferers report that headaches begin in response to a trigger, such as bright light, hunger, hormones, or certain smells or foods. The trigger event causes an imbalance in the brain, which should then trigger the production of endocannabinoids to maintain homeostasis. If one is deficient in endocannabinoids, the imbalance continues, leading to development of the migraine headache. The trigger may also cause inflammation, which may become out of control and contribute to the resulting pain.