Tension Headaches? This Plant Might Hold the Answer

Are you struggling with tension headaches? You're not alone. Many people find themselves in a similar battle, searching for a remedy that offers real relief. There might be a solution in the plant kingdom. 

In this article, we'll dive into the fascinating world of a particular plant that's gaining attention for its potential to alleviate tension headaches. 

Read on to uncover a natural solution from a cannabis dispensary that could transform your approach to managing tension headaches.

What are Tension Headaches?

Tension headaches, commonly known as stress headaches, are the most prevalent type of headache experienced by adults. They are characterized by a consistent, dull ache or pressure surrounding the entire head. Often described as feeling like a tight band around the forehead. 

Unlike migraines, tension headaches usually do not present with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light and sound. These headaches can be classified into two categories:

Type

Frequency

Duration

Pain Intensity

Disability

Episodic Tension Headaches

Less than 15 days per month

30 minutes to several days

Mild to moderate

Not disabling

Chronic Tension Headaches

More than 15 days per month for at least three months

Can be continuous

More constant and can be more disabling

Can be disabling

Symptoms of Tension Headaches:

  • Dull, aching head pain.
  • Tightness or pressure across the forehead or on the sides and back of the head.
  • Tenderness on scalp, neck, and shoulder muscles.

Causes and Common Triggers:

  • Stress. One of the primary triggers leading to muscle tension.
  • Poor Posture. Straining neck and shoulder muscles, contributing to headaches.
  • Lack of Sleep. It can exacerbate the frequency and intensity of headaches.
  • Eye Strain. Especially from prolonged computer or screen use.
  • Environmental Factors. Such as bright lights, noise, or certain smells.

Cannabis for Tension Headaches

Cannabis, originating from Central Asia, has been used for thousands of years in various cultures for medicinal, spiritual, and recreational purposes. Used for its psychoactive properties in religious rituals and as a medicine for treating ailments like pain, insomnia, and various gastrointestinal disorders.

In recent years, there's been a significant shift in the perception of cannabis, particularly in the context of natural health and wellness. This change is largely attributed to a growing body of research highlighting its potential therapeutic benefits, particularly cannabinoids like CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

Cannabis-based products, ranging from oils, tinctures, and edibles to topical creams, have become increasingly popular in the wellness market, with many users advocating for their effectiveness in managing various health issues, including tension headaches.

Scientific Backing: Research and Studies

In a research published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Bryson C. Lochte and colleagues reveal that clinical reports from 1839 to 1937 offer important insights into effective methods, challenges, and benefits of using cannabis to treat headaches during a period when it was a common treatment. 

The reports suggested that cannabis is an effective preventative and immediate treatment for headache disorders. Physicians prescribed alcohol-based cannabis extractions in doses of ¼ to ½ grain (16–32 mg). This dosage was likely chosen to balance minimizing intoxication and providing therapeutic relief. 

Some practitioners recommended gradually increasing the dose until mild intoxication effects were noticed. These doses were generally taken two to three times daily over weeks or months for ongoing prevention. For immediate relief, higher doses were used as needed, and in some instances, smoking cannabis was advised.

Anti-inflammatory Action

Taylan Gurgenci and fellow researchers from Queensland, Australia, highlight in their journal that cannabis, especially CBD, shows considerable anti-inflammatory qualities. 

Both anecdotal accounts and some recent clinical studies indicate that CBD might have various pharmacological effects, such as reducing anxiety, psychotic symptoms, oxidative stress, seizures, and protecting nerve cells. 

These effects are particularly useful in lessening the inflammation of blood vessels in the head, a common factor in tension headaches.

Neurotransmitter Modulation

THC is known to influence the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. This effect could change how pain is perceived, potentially easing headache pain. 

Early research from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus suggests that medical marijuana offers various benefits, such as improving chronic pain, inflammation, spasticity, and other conditions often treated in physical therapy. 

Varieties of Cannabis Products

Products

Description

Pros

Cons

Best For

Flowers

Cannabis buds harvested and dried for consumption.

Natural form of cannabis

Requires smoking

Experienced Users

Edibles

Cannabis-infused food products.

Discreet and easy consumption

Delayed onset of effects

Users Avoiding Smoke

Vapes

Vaporized cannabis oil or flower.

Rapid onset of effects

Potential health concerns

On-the-go Users

Concentrates

High-potency extracts (e.g., wax, shatter, oil).

Potent, quick, and long-lasting

Requires special equipment

Advanced Consumers


Proper Cannabis Dosage

Product Type

Recommended Starting Dosage

Maximum Recommended Dosage for Experienced Users

Frequency of Use

Cannabis Flower

1-2 puffs (5-10% THC content)

Up to a full joint/bowl (depending on tolerance)

As needed, typically not more often than every 2-3 hours.

Vapes

1-2 puffs (10-25% THC content)

3-5 puffs (depending on tolerance and potency)

As needed, with at least a 15-minute break between sessions.

Concentrates

5-10 mg THC

Up to 25-50 mg THC (for very high tolerance)

Sparingly, due to high potency; not more than once or twice a day.

Edibles

2.5-5 mg THC

Up to 20-30 mg THC (for high tolerance)

Once per day or less, due to long onset and duration of effects.


Step Towards Relief

As of December 21, 2018, there were 756 clinical trials registered on clinicaltrials.gov to evaluate cannabis in treating various conditions. These conditions include neuropathic pain, side effects of cancer chemotherapy, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, Tourette syndrome, retinal degeneration, and tinnitus.

If you're struggling with tension headaches and traditional treatments haven't provided the relief you need, consider exploring the world of cannabis-based remedies. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment, especially one involving cannabis, to ensure it's safe and suitable for your specific health needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I consume too much cannabis?

If you've had a bit too much cannabis and are feeling off, here's what you can do:

  1. First, remember this feeling won't last forever. It's just temporary.
  2. Find a chill spot to relax. If you're a bit woozy, lying down usually helps.
  3. Keep hydrated. Drink water or something without caffeine. It'll help clear your system.
  4. Skip the coffee and booze, they can make you feel more anxious or dehydrated.
  5. Distract yourself with some chill tunes, a light TV show, or a relaxing hobby.
  6. Deep breaths can do wonders if you're feeling anxious.
  7. A light snack might help settle your stomach and balance your blood sugar.
  8. If you can, take a nap. It's a good way to let your body process the cannabis.
  9. It's nice to have someone around if you're feeling really anxious. Don't hesitate to call a friend or family member.

How can I become a medical cannabis patient?

  1. Check Local Laws: Research the medical cannabis laws in your area.
  2. Consult a Healthcare Provider: Talk to a doctor to know if medical cannabis is right for your condition.
  3. Get a Medical Evaluation: The doctor will evaluate if cannabis can help with your medical condition.
  4. Obtain a Recommendation: If the doctor agrees, they will give you a written recommendation for medical cannabis.
  5. Register with State Program: If required, register with your state's medical cannabis program using the doctor's recommendation.
  6. Get a Medical Cannabis Card: After approval, you'll receive a card or ID for medical cannabis.
  7. Visit a Dispensary: Use your card to buy medical cannabis from licensed dispensaries.

How long do the effects of cannabis last when used for headaches?

The duration of cannabis effects for headaches varies:

  • Inhaled Cannabis (Smoking or Vaping)

The effects tend to onset quickly, usually within minutes, and can last anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. This method allows for fast-acting relief, which can benefit sudden headache pain.

  • Edibles or Oral Consumption

Cannabis consumed orally has a slower onset because it needs to be digested and metabolized by the liver. The effects can take 30 minutes to 2 hours to manifest but can last much longer, around 4 to 6 hours, and sometimes up to 8 hours or more.

  • Topical Applications

While less common for headache relief, topical forms of cannabis, like creams and balms, have localized effects and do not have a noticeable time frame of action in terms of systemic relief.

  • Individual Factors

Individual metabolic rate, body weight, tolerance levels, and even the severity of the headache can influence how long the effects of cannabis last.

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