Is there anything worse than a splitting headache? Probably, but you don’t feel that way when your head is thumping and pulsating from the mere act of thinking.
And if you suffer from migraines, that’s precisely how your thinker feels some days.
Migraines plaque a big chunk of the population, but what’s worse — they are notoriously difficult to deal with. Prescription drugs commonly prescribed as treatment mostly don’t work. And when they do work, they come with a whole bag of nasty side effects.
So if you’re looking for chronic migraine relief — and you’ve tried everything else — how about you give medical cannabis a shot?
To stop their nasty headaches, thousands of sufferers have turned to weed in recent years. These patients report pain reduction [weed making their migraines more manageable] and zero side effects. So is it any wonder that people are queuing to get their medical marijuana cards so they can enjoy this treatment regularly and legally?
However, not every strain of cannabis is good for chronic migraines. Check this list of marijuana strains that provenly and effectively help with headaches, so you know what to look for the next time you visit your local dispensary.
But before we dive into that, let’s take a quick look at why those nasty head-throbbing pains are so challenging to treat.
What are Migraines?
Migraines are intense headaches that often come with nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light.
Stress, alcohol, lack of sleep, certain foods, the weather, and even some prescription drugs… all of these can cause splitting headaches that qualify as migraines. And if you already have a genetic predisposition to them… well, in that case, you’re screwed.
Migraine headaches usually last between 4 to 72 hours, and they are one hell of an experience. Motion, light, and sound all trigger pain, tiredness, nausea, visual disturbances, numbness, and much more. In most cases, taking prescription medications that will numb the pain is a typical recommendation from any doctor, as the cause of most migraines is still shrouded in mystery.
But, anecdotal evidence [and a growing number of research and studies] suggests that marijuana could be the silver bullet that sufferers have been searching for.
Should You Choose Indica or Sativa for Migraines?
There isn’t a clear-cut answer to this question.
What we know for sure is that cannabis can help mitigate the pain. A study published in 2016 shows that 12% of the study population reported significant relief. But, they were all treated with different strains of cannabis.
The more scientists are looking into this, the more they’re convinced — hybrid strains are the way to go here.
A recent study showed the benefits of hybrid strains. It points out that having the ability to control ratios of strains increases the percentage of success in battling the pain.
Here’s a list of different strains of cannabis you might want to try out if you’re battling severe headaches. Remember, this list is not conclusive — you’re going to have to experiment until you find a strain that works best for you. But hey — at least that’s fun!
15 Marijuana Strains for Migraine Relief
Before we dig into it, I made sure to point out every Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid strain so you won’t see a list of only one type. As mentioned earlier, there is no universal cannabis [and no one-size-fits-all – different strains for different purposes, for example getting totally high, sleeping better, or being more creative]. You can test all of them, or you just have lady luck on your side, and you will draw the one you need, right off the bat. Many migraine sufferers will go through a lot of different strains to find that special one. The important thing is not to get discouraged.
1. Critical Mass (Hybrid)
I’ll start this list with one fancy hybrid. The name might be a bit menacing, but don’t worry, it is there to scare off the pain you’re feeling in your head. When it comes to percentages, this is an Indica-dominant strain (around 65%). The rest is pure Sativa, and it contains the same amount of THC and CBD content.
Effects you will notice immediately are relaxation, of both mind and body. However, you will not become a couch potato [though if you overdo it, you might experience couchlock]. Due to the same THC – CBD ratio, it is a perfectly balanced hybrid. And a great starter strain.
Most users confirm that consuming this strain is excellent for sleep, so make sure to use it before you go to bed. Common side effects are sleepiness, dry eyes, and dry throat. Still, it’s great for pain management, and it will even reduce your stress and anxiety. Since the most dominant terpene is Myrcene, it will have a mix of earthy and sweet flavors.
2. Granddaddy Purple
This is one of the top strains with medicinal effects. It goes by many names, but everybody knows it as GDP. GDP is the right strain if you’re looking to get your stress, pain, or anxiety under control.
One of its main effects is total physical relaxation. Expect a couchlock when using this strain. Also, make sure you’re done with your day because it will make you sleepy. GDP doesn’t have many side effects, aside from dry mouth and eyes. It has a great grape-like aroma that will leave you wanting more!
3. Kryptonite (Indica)
If you’re battling severe migraine headaches, high levels of stress, and even anxiety, Kryptonite is your savior. This Indica strain is excellent if you are looking for an uplifting and relaxing session that won’t immediately put you to sleep.
With 16% of THC, you will still be able to function normally around people and keep the conversation going if needed. This strain doesn’t have high levels of CBD.
Consumers mostly report feeling happy and relaxed while using Kryptonite, however, a few mentioned some side effects such as dry mouth. For people who don’t like the taste of regular weed; this sweet and sugary flavor featuring a tropical vibe will be awesome. Another great thing about this one is that you won’t feel woozy and lethargic after consuming it.
4. Tangerine Dream (Hybrid)
I’m starting to believe these strains want to mislead us. It may have “Dream” in its name, but it’s far from it.
This Sativa-dominant hybrid will benefit you by reducing your pain and giving you more energy. However, it is important to dose it properly. One of the notable cons of using this strain would be going overboard with it. Too much of Tangerine Dream, and you will hit the real dream world before you say “Citrus fruit”. However, smaller doses are safe for daytime use.
It has 17% of THC and mostly uplifting effects. The small percentage of Indica in this strain helps release any pressure caused by your migraines. It’s also great for pain relief and anxiety, and has an anti-inflammatory effect. A combination of sweet and citrus notes gives it a nice, refreshing flavor.
5. Purple Kush
Purple Kush is nothing like its close relation, the OG Kush. This pure Indica strain packs a punch with its 17% of THC and very little CBD [or CBG and other cannabinoids]. It’s a potent little mix that will leave you euphoric but sleepy at the same time. Because of its positive effects, Purple Kush is one of the most popular medicinal cannabis strains — an excellent choice for a variety of medical conditions, including headaches.
Purple Kush will definitely dry you out, so make sure to drink a lot of water. Also, some users report feeling paranoid after going overboard with it, so tread lightly.
6. Sour Space Candy
Sour Space Candy is a hybrid strain with high CBD content. If you are avoiding THC strains, this one will be a perfect choice. Containing only 1% THC and 15% CBD, you will feel happy, uplifted, and relaxed without any psychoactive effects. Great in handling pain and migraines as it has strong anti-inflammatory properties. It gives off pleasant citrus and earthy flavors and helps you focus and clear out your thoughts.
If you are searching for low THC content strains, this strain might not be the best for you for various reasons (too much of an edge or more than you are willing to handle). It has a good ratio of CBD 9% and THC 5%, so you won’t experience strong psychoactive effects, but it would be a lie to say that there won’t be any.
Harlequin will help you be more focused and able to finish up your daily tasks. It’s one of the best strains for battling inflammation that might be the cause of your migraines. However, due to the high concentration of CBD, it might not remove your pain entirely, but it will help you handle it. Some consumers experienced dry mouth during sessions with Harlequin.
If you feel like you’ve been Tunderstucked and can hear Hells Bells on a Highway of Hell because of your numbing migraines, don’t fear. There is a high chance, AC/DC is on the radio. However, carrying the same name, ACDC, another great CBD-dominant strain, will help you out with that pain.
Another great strain for people who would like to avoid consuming THC by any means. It has 15% of CBD and only 1% of THC. There are traces, of course, but not nearly enough for you to taste it or feel it in any way. Great at tackling severe pain and clearing your mind, this sweet flavored strain will help you finish your day strong. If you are not a fan of smoking, this one is pretty awesome as edible.
9. Blue Dream
Are you looking for a bit stronger strain that has almost no CBD? No worries, I got you. Blue Dream is Sativa dominant hybrid strain with a high THC content. With almost 0% of CBD and high THC levels (18%), you are bound to get creative, happy, and focused using it.
Strain is well balanced and consumed by both newbies or veteran users. Medical cannabis patients often use it to treat symptoms of chronic pain and nausea, commonly connected to migraines. There are more than a few reports from users stating that is great as a daytime medication since it’s not heavily sedating. If we talk about flavors, Blue Dream smells and tastes like sweet berries followed by a distinct earthy taste.
10. Sour Diesel
Sour Diesel, also known as Sour Deez, is one of the oldtimers, fan-favorite Sativa strain with a high percentage of THC. It has strong high effects that are fast-acting. It will get you going. The energy you receive from it will help you in accomplishing anything.
It is a great choice to relieve symptoms associated with depression, pain, and stress, and that is the reason most migraine patients choose Sour Diesel. One of the most commonly reported side effects is uncontrollable munchies. A word of advice, have at least semi-healthy snacks around you to avoid packing a few pounds (talking from experience). As for flavor, Sour Diesel is a very intense, aromatic strain with nice earthy notes.
11. White Widow
By far, the most famous of all marijuana strains, White Widow has gathered more fans worldwide than any other. Originating from Netherland, Europe, this white stain with crystalized resin means business.
A great choice for people with low energy levels that are in dire need of a powerful burst of happiness and enthusiasm. Goes hand in hand with creativity. Alleviates migraine pain, and helps decrease stress. Known for its high kief production, this strain gives an extra boost of flavors. The citrusy flavor will get you over the moon every time you take a hit.
12. Girl Scout Cookies
More commonly known as GSC, Girl Scout Cookies is an Indica-dominant hybrid strain with high THC content and low CBD levels. Known for its strong highs, users enjoy the euphoric effects it brings. If you are looking for quick migraine relief, as many other medical marijuana patients do, this strain is the way to go.
Aside from helping you numb the excruciating pain, it will also help you battle nausea and a lack of appetite. Flavorwise, GSC has a pungent, dessert-like aroma and flavor notes of mint, sweet cherry, and lemon. The only side effect some users reported are dry mouth, dizziness, and dry eyes.
13. Northern Lights
Looking for a strain that will help you unwind after a long day in the office? That will smooth out those worry lines on your face? And, most importantly, a cannabis strain that will help you deal with that constant worry-induced migraine? Then, say hi to Northern Lights!
Northern Lights is a 90% Indica-dominant strain with a high level of THC and a healthy dose of other cannabinoids. Medical marijuana patients choose it because it’s great at relieving pain [headaches being a major one here]. Still, it’s also good for curbing anxiety and depression. It’s a great strain to puff on if you’re stressed [or if you think that your headaches are down to your brain being constantly worried and in overdrive].
The most commonly reported effects of the Northern Light strain include relaxation, sleepiness, and happiness. However, some users also report dry mouth and dizziness, so it might be a good idea to light this one up while you’re lying down. When it comes to the flavor, Northern Lights is big on myrcene terpene — expect an earthy taste with a hint of pine and sweetness.
14. Pineapple Express
A few things you should consider before going with Pineapple Express. Do you lack energy and need a fast, long-lasting boost? Do you need something to help you be more focused, alert, and open up your creative side?
If your answer is YES to all these, then Pineapple Express is right down your railroad terminal.
Mainly Sativa strain, with 18% THC in it, you will feel more energetic. It will keep you on track for quite some time. This is a morning/evening kush. By any means, avoid taking it in later evenings, and at night, it won’t let you fall asleep and make you more tired the next day. To sum it up, it tastes sweet, boosts your mood, and helps relieve chronic pain.
This is an Indica-dominant hybrid strain that doesn’t specifically target migraines, but it’s great for general pain relief. It’s not on the lower THC end — in fact, it’s packed with it. You can expect a strong initial high, with prominent body effects after a while.
Dosi, as it’s commonly known, has an intense, sweet aroma with floral undertones. These classic OG aromas blend nicely with medical-grade sedative effects that will leave you relaxed and pain-free in no time.
Which One Will You Choose?
There is no “black and white” answer for strains that will help with your migraines.
Since we all have varying amounts of certain chemicals in our bodies, different strains will have differing effects, depending on your chemical composition. It’s always best to go with what is recommended; however, you should prioritize listening to your body.
Still, be open to experimenting with a couple of different strains and dosing amounts. But, be conservative when testing out the proper dosing. Lower the increments and slowly increase. Take into consideration that your body will have an adjustment period. It’s entirely natural to “feel it” the next day after your first few times utilizing cannabis; just try to be patient.
Oh, and always consult a medical professional before starting treatment with cannabis. That’s just a smart thing to do.