Headaches are one of the most frustrating pains to deal with on a daily basis. Not only are they comfortable, but headaches make it difficult for us to function at our best. For those with intractable headache syndromes, finding relief from these constant pounding pains can be life-changing. Because of this, medical professionals have started looking into the relationship between medical marijuana and intractable headache syndrome. 

The research behind medical cannabis for migraines may be somewhat new, but what we’re finding is incredibly promising — especially for those with intractable headaches. So, let’s get right into it: can marijuana help migraines?

medical marijuana and intractable headache syndrome

What is an Intractable Headache and What Does it Mean?

When you hear someone talking about having an “intractable” headache, this means that the headaches are prolonged and not going away. Intractable headaches are impossible to treat, leaving people with persistent pain and difficulty managing it. 

Some intractable headaches are migraines, though not all. You can have intractable headaches of varying types. A doctor considers a headache intractable if it does not go away with medication, treatment, or anything of the like. Simply, when you feel as though nothing helps, you likely have intractable headaches. However, do keep in mind that this tends to take several years to develop, and it probably won’t be all of a sudden. On the flip side, though, this means that managing these headaches may also take quite some time. 

Even though you cannot cure intractable headaches, you can address them. By identifying what triggers these headaches and learning their root cause, you better understand how to mediate their effects. And, with options like marijuana migraine treatment, you’ll likely find your number of headaches to reduce, and they shouldn’t be nearly as painful — but we’ll get more into that in a moment. 

Symptoms of Intractable Headaches

Typically, the most prominent symptom of an intractable headache is one that simply will not go away with regular treatment regimens. You’ll find that medication, cold compresses, darkness, or anything of the like will not have much of an effect on your headache. For many, the headache lasts all day, typically not going away until you actually fall asleep. Then, you have to be aware of triggers that may cause a similar episode the next day.

For some, even sleeping doesn’t rid them of their headaches. 

Many people experience intractable migraines. This is the most common type of intractable headache, though other people may experience intractable pressure headaches due to complications like Chiari malformation. However, these are some of the most common symptoms of intractable migraines:

  • Headaches, pain in neck or head that lasts 72 hours or longer
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Blacking out or vision disturbances 
  • Light and sound sensitivity 
  • Speech disturbances 
  • Sleep complications
  • Difficulty thinking, focusing, or communicating properly

Again, the biggest symptom to look out for here is the first one. If your head or neck pains are lasting days upon days, you must go see a medical professional. These aren’t complications to simply ignore. 

Can Marijuana Help Intractable Headache Syndrome?

All of this leads us to the million-dollar question: does marijuana for migraines work? Or, bigger than that, can marijuana help intractable headache syndrome? Studies show yes. 

While we’re still learning the exact ins and outs of medical marijuana and intractable headache syndrome, it appears as though the plant may be beneficial in not only reducing headache pains but helping to prevent them from coming on in the first place. These characteristics are most likely due to cannabis’s neuroprotective properties.

The cannabinoid found within the cannabis plant holds serious medicinal potential, many of them demonstrating profound neuroprotective characteristics. Many medical professionals believe these cannabinoids can help remedy the symptoms of diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, HIV/AIDS, and other neurodegenerative complications. The same goes when it comes to medical marijuana for migraines. 

Along with targeting the actual headache pains, cannabis may work to alleviate other symptoms that headaches like migraines can bring. Let’s take a deep dive into the specific benefits of marijuana for migraines. This way, you’ll have better insight into how this plant can help with these hard-to-manage pains.

Benefits of Marijuana for Migraines

Every person’s experience with marijuana for migraines is going to be different. Medical marijuana and intractable headache syndromes will reap unique benefits for those who consume it, so it’s important not to base your experience on someone else’s. However, these are some of the most common benefits of turning to marijuana for migraine and headache relief. 

Marijuana for Pain 

As we stated above, many people find that consuming cannabis with a headache does wonders for their pain levels. In fact, a new study demonstrated this directly. 

Nearly 600 cannabis consumers participated in a clinical trial pertaining to medical marijuana and migraines. Out of these, over 100 frequently experienced headaches and consumed cannabis to remedy the pain. Along with this, 86 participants said they turned to over-the-counter medication for relief. Through research, it appeared as though those who turned to medical cannabis for relief found higher levels of pain reduction than those who used traditional medications. 

This isn’t surprising. Many people find that the anti-inflammatory properties within cannabis treat their pain beautifully, helping them manage discomforts rather than just working through them. Using marijuana for pain is incredibly common, and it’s no wonder people find the plant successful for assisting with their intractable headaches, too. 

Marijuana for Nausea

With migraines, when it rains, it pours. When you get a migraine, you likely won’t just be in pain; many people find themselves with high levels of nausea or problems throwing up, as well. If you have a headache, the last thing you want to worry about is vomiting, but, unfortunately, this is one of the most significant side effects of migraines. Thankfully, cannabis can help with this. 

Medical marijuana demonstrates strong anti-nausea properties that help mediate discomfort in the stomach. Cannabis’s effect on the gut — and appetites specifically — are big reasons why people turn to MMJ when they have eating disorders, difficulty gaining weight, or degenerative diseases. If you’re someone who gets bouts of nausea alongside headache pain, medical marijuana may be a great option for mediating this discomfort and helping your stomach feel leveled out again. 

Marijuana for Internal Balance 

This one may sound a little strange, but let us explain. Some scientists believe that specific intractable headache syndromes are caused by something called CECD: clinical endocannabinoid deficiency. 

When you have CECD, your body isn’t producing the endocannabinoids it should be. Without proper endocannabinoid levels, you’re likely going to become deficient in neurotransmitters, hormones, and so much more. Doctors believe that CECD also plays a massive role in headache disorders. 

With this logic, medical marijuana may be a great answer. When you consume cannabis, the natural cannabinoids work with your body’s endocannabinoid system to produce the endocannabinoids it needs to function correctly. Sometimes, your body just needs a bit of help! Through consistent usage, people have been able to reach homeostasis or internal balance. For those with CECD, cannabis use may help their bodies get back on track, subsequently reducing the severity of intractable headaches. However, more research here is necessary.

Marijuana for Sleep

Finally, a lot of people find that medical marijuana for intractable headaches is helpful because of its assistance with sleep. Many sedative marijuana strains work to reduce body tension, lower pain levels, and calm anxiety. All of this together creates the perfect recipe for a great night’s rest — especially for those with headaches. 

If you have trouble sleeping at night because of the pains from your headaches, medical cannabis may be the way to go. As long as you find the right indica-dominant strain that provides the pain relief and relaxation you need, consuming some MMJ before bed can be the best way to enjoy some deep sleep.

medical marijuana and intractable headache syndrome

Side Effects of Marijuana for Patients

If you choose to consume medical marijuana for migraines, you should be aware of the potential side effects. Though researchers consider marijuana generally safe for consumption, there are always risks. Here are some of the most common side effects of marijuana for patients:

  • Dry mouth and eyes
  • Anxiety
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Disorientation 
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Increased heart rate

If you’re consuming medical marijuana for migraines, you must be aware of the potential risks for “rebound” headaches. Essentially, this is what happens when you over-consume cannabis and your body reacts negatively. Occasionally, marijuana consumption will actually cause headaches over time; because of this, you should watch your consumption levels and ensure you’re only smoking what your body needs. 

Best Strains for Headaches

When looking for the best strains for headaches, you want to look for options that are heavy on the pain-relief side and typically more sedative than anything. Here, THC will be your best friend. These are Elevate Holistics’ three ideal cannabis strains for combating headache pains. 

Blue Dream

You’ve likely heard of the Blue Dream strain in your time within the cannabis world. Blue Dream is a famous hybrid strain that people flock to for its relaxing, pain-relieving properties. The strain actually produces a high level of cerebral stimulation, yet it’s perfect for distracting from any discomfort happening in that area. Along with this, Blue Dream’s known for its heavy body highs, as well, helping you feel completely at ease. Because of this, it tends to be an ideal option for those looking to try a marijuana migraine treatment.  

Purple Punch 

A deep indica strain, Purple Punch is a great strain for headaches. Many people describe Purple Punch as going straight to their heads, providing a heavy high that reduces pain and makes you feel more relaxed than you’ve been in weeks. The strain produces sweet, berry-like flavors that remind customers of dessert — which is great because you should probably enjoy this sedative strain before bed. 

Sour Diesel

If you’re looking for something a little less sleepy, try a strain like Sour Diesel. Sour Diesel is a sativa strain that helps combat pain like nobody’s business. Along with pain relief, you’ll notice incredible, uplifting cerebral effects that can be great for boosting your mood. As a more stimulating cannabis strain, you can enjoy this one at the start of your day or whenever you start to feel a headache coming on. 

Is Medical Marijuana an Effective Treatment?

So, is medical marijuana an effective treatment for intractable headache syndromes? It can definitely help. We cannot outright say that marijuana is a successful “treatment,” although many people have found serious relief in turning to medical marijuana for migraines and other headaches. 

Medical marijuana and intractable headache syndrome may demonstrate a somewhat complicated relationship, but the potential behind it is clear. As more and more people are discovering daily how much they can alleviate their headaches through MMJ, more studies will come out to help us better understand this exciting connection. But, for now, if you find that medical marijuana is an effective treatment for your headaches, so be it! 

Are Headaches a Qualifying Condition for a Medical Marijuana Card?

Unfortunately, you cannot get a medical marijuana card just for headaches alone. However, some states do accept intractable headache syndromes — as well as migraines or chronic headaches — as a qualifying medical condition. It just depends on where you’re at! Here are the states that allow it: 

If your state isn’t on this list, don’t worry. Most states will grant you a medical card for symptoms that intractable headache syndromes can cause. For example, chronic pain is one of the most common qualifying conditions, and intractable headaches like migraines fall under this category. If you’re worried you won’t qualify, though, that’s exactly why Elevate Holistics is here. 

How to Get a Medical Card for Intractable Headache Syndrome

Getting a medical marijuana card for your pains and discomforts shouldn’t be a hassle. And, at Elevate Holistics, it isn’t. Our company’s goal is to help patients like you get a board-certified doctor’s recommendation for a medical marijuana card right from the comfort of home. Elevate Holistics’ services are 100% online, and appointments only last 30 minutes. Whether you’re interested in medical marijuana and intractable headache syndrome, or you want to get your card for a different qualifying condition, we’re here to help you out. 

To get a medical card for intractable headache syndrome, start by clicking the button down below. This will get you set up with an appointment at Elevate Holistics so you can chat with one of our many cannabis expert doctors. From there, they will help you get the recommendation you need to obtain your own medical marijuana card. 

Before you know it, you’ll be managing your headaches as efficiently as you manage daily aches and pains. Get started with Elevate Holistics’ hassle-free, judgement-free MMJ services today.