CAN CANNABIS HELP WITH MIGRAINES?
For many people, migraines result from stress. Although anxiety is not the cause of all migraines, the stress hormone cortisol is present in the body any time there is a migraine. It can be present due to external pressures, but it is always present due to the tremendous physical strain a migraine has on the body. Additionally, when the brain is low on critical resources (such as oxygen, glucose, hydration, or minerals), the endocrine system will release cortisol. So in all cases, migraines mean conflict, and the effects of cortisol are felt in the body.
The goal for anyone with migraines is to minimize stress and train the body to stay calm. Reaching this goal can seem like an overwhelming task because many people with migraines have developed an underlying level of worry or concern that has become their “normal.”
When uneasiness has been an ongoing issue, the body and mind can remain at a heightened state of stress, even when there is actually nothing of concern. The feeling of anxiety is enough: tension builds to a level so that coming back to center and balance never happens. You may think you are in a relaxed state, when actually you are simply less anxious and tense than what has become the new normal.
In this situation, a person with migraines will benefit from activities that help to calm the nervous system. Massage, Qigong, yoga, and cannabis can all be effective in relaxing the nerves.
One of the main benefits to cannabis is that it is soothing to the body, in the proper dose. The body’s natural calming system is the cannabinoid system, which includes signaling chemicals and receptors that reduce anxiety by counterbalancing the chemicals released due to stress, such as cortisol. Again, the dose is important; too much cannabis can cause anxiety. However, in the right quantity, cannabis tells the nervous system that all is well and it can relax.
All of us have cannabinoid receptors in our brains and throughout our bodies. These receptors are part of our built-in balance system. The endocrine system can send out any number of stress signals and when the crisis is over, our own natural cannabinoid system is supposed to manufacture cannabinoids that counteract the cortisol, norepinephrine, dopamine, and other stress-inducing chemical messages to the nervous system.
For some, this system is out of balance.
Cannabis helps the whole body relax.
It can dull or minimize pain signals.
When taken regularly, it can reset the tension level back to a lower level.
It helps one be more present.
It helps one to slow down when they are moving too fast.
It is enormously helpful in sleeping with head pain.
Cannabis is not a quick fix that will immediately take all the pain of a migraine away and heal a person of future migraines. It is a natural herb that helps the nervous system to relax and helps train the body to find a new level of balance and homeostasis. It also will reduce the sensations of pain during a migraine attack, as well as help a person with a migraine to sleep through the pain while the body recovers and the swelling subsides.
The real way to stop a migraine is to provide the brain more oxygen, hydration, glucose, and minerals through super hydration, belly breathing, moving the spine, and smiling—yes, the act of smiling authentically sends feel-good messages to the body. See my book Stop, Drop, Roll, and Smile for Migraine Relief for the details.
Cannabis in the correct amount can make the process easier and faster, and it can be a tool to support the body as it heals. Ideally, the body’s natural cannabinoid system will take over and do the job so you don’t have to use herbs. Just know that sometimes the body needs help and Mother Nature has provided something far better than man-made drugs, which don’t work as naturally with the body as cannabis does.
I encourage you not to judge yourself or others who benefit from this herb that grows naturally and mimics the body’s own system. We all have physical ailments to deal with, and sometimes cannabis is the best support available to promote healing.