In the 21st century, migraines are most commonly treated by pharmaceuticals, but doctors have been using medical cannabis to treat them for thousands of years. While the exact cause of migraines is unknown, researchers have discovered from which areas of the brain this pain arises, which molecular changes signal the onset, and how cannabinoids affect these changes. The human body contains systems that are filled with neuromodulators (receptors) and these sophisticated receptors help regulate a variety of physiological processes including movement, mood, memory, appetite and pain — the body’s endocannabinoid system receptors respond to the compounds present in cannabis called cannabinoids.
Medical cannabis provides effective relief from migraines because it is made up of cannabinoids that are designed to bind to the same endocannabinoid receptors in the human brain responsible for pain, memory and appetite. Because the medical cannabinoids react, sometimes seamlessly, with the endocannabinoid receptors in the brain and body, they are able to relieve symptoms caused by a variety of different ailments, including migraines.
One superiority of cannabis over traditional medication for migraines relates to the method of ingestion – smoking or vaporizing cannabis can provide the migraine sufferer with nearly immediate relief from their symptoms. Traditional medicine that is ingested and absorbed through the digestion process will take a longer time to provide relief. In addition, traditional medicine that is ingested can be very difficult for someone to use that is suffering from nausea or vomiting.