Can medical marijuana be used for migraines?

Can Medical Marijuana be Used for Migraines? (Read This First)

Anyone who has ever experienced a migraine can tell you that it’s much more than just a dreadful headache, despite what some may think. They are incredibly debilitating and persistent. While many people only experience migraines once in a blue moon, some, unfortunately, get them chronically, sometimes having migraines multiple times per month. 

On the bright side, medical marijuana presents a natural source of pain relief for those who suffer from chronic migraines. 

Why Use Medical Marijuana for Migraines?

Chronic migraines can cause people to miss work, important social events, and more. 9 in 10 chronic migraine sufferers say that they cannot work or function normally during an episode. Looking at these numbers annually, migraines result in over 157 million lost workdays and over 1.2 million emergency room visits.

These people may be confined to their bed with the blinds drawn, unable to move for hours (sometimes up to 72 hours). On top of that, migraines are notoriously hard to diagnose and address since they are subjective to each person and symptoms vary. We still don’t even understand what causes them in the first place, so treatment is tricky. And often, the over-the-counter pain relief products for migraines just don’t cut it. 

So Can Medical Marijuana be Used for Migraines?

That’s where medical marijuana comes into play. While there certainly are other prescription drugs designed for chronic migraines, these often come with side effects. Medical marijuana, on the other hand, is a source of natural relief, so it lacks the unpleasant side effects that can come with synthetic drugs. 

Recently, a survey taken by Migraine Buddy (a migraine tracking app) found that a whopping 82% of migraine sufferers who used cannabis to treat their episodes said they experienced migraine relief. Considering the number of workdays lost and annual emergency room visits and paired with the fact that many say cannabis does help their chronic pain management. You would think that legalized states would have migraines on their list of diseases treated by medical marijuana

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Of the 33 states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana, only five have approved its use for migraines. Sadly, Ohio is not one of these states, meaning many Ohioans with chronic migraines are left suffering. Yet, it’s not gone unnoticed by medical marijuana advocates. Some are calling for Ohio to approve migraines as a qualifying condition to be treated with medical marijuana. 

How to Get Medical Marijuana for Migraines and Other Ailments

Although migraines are not yet on the list of ailments that can be treated with medical marijuana, you can still get a card for other issues you may have. To purchase medicinal cannabis in Ohio, you’ll need a medical marijuana card. The process looks something like this

  1. Registration: Register as a patient with the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program  (OMMCP). Visit a certified medical cannabis doctor who can determine that you have a qualifying condition for receiving medical marijuana treatment.
  2. Consultation: Bring a valid Ohio driver’s license, a valid Ohio identification card issued by the Ohio BMV, or a valid United States passport to the appointment. Be ready to tell the doctor your medical history and current conditions. Keep in mind that they may request past medical records. See if there’s anything else the office wants you to bring to your appointment. You can either make this appointment an in-person visit or opt for telemedicine. We offer both! 
  3. Approval: Your doctor creates a patient profile in Ohio’s Patient & Caregiver Registry, and you then receive an email prompting you to log in to your profile to set up a secure account, complete the application, and pay the $50 yearly registration fee. 
  4. Getting the card: Once registered in the OMMCP, you can have your medical marijuana card mailed to your home address, or you can print the card at home. You can bring your registration to a dispensary to have it printed and laminated. There’s also an option to create a digital copy of your medical marijuana card by downloading it and saving it as a photo or screenshot. This is a great way to have a backup in case you forget your physical card.
  5. Using the card: Now, you can purchase medical marijuana from retail dispensaries in Ohio. Remember, you must have an associated government-issued ID and active medical marijuana card to make a purchase. You’ll have access to a 90-day supply with three refills (totaling up to a 360-day supply, if appropriate for your condition).
  6. Renewal: You need to renew your Ohio medical marijuana card once a year to keep reaping the benefits of medical marijuana in chronic pain management. 

Help Get Medical Marijuana for Migraines Approved in Ohio

Even though it’s not on the list of approved conditions now, you can petition online for migraines to be added. Each year, the state opens a petition page so people like you can advocate for conditions that can be improved with medical marijuana. 

To sign the petition, you’ll need: 

  • Your name and contact information
  • The disease or condition requested 
  • Information from experts who specialize in the disease or condition
  • Medical or scientific evidence supporting the use of medical marijuana to treat or help the illness or condition 
  • Examination of whether conventional medical therapies are insufficient to treat or ease the symptoms of the disease or condition
  • Letters of support from physicians

Once petitions are submitted, the MMCP’s panel reviews them. Afterward, they make a recommendation to the entire board and put it up for a vote. This is when the condition will either be approved or denied.

We’ve seen that Ohio is committed to a transparent process in certifying medical marijuana. The public’s involvement helps get support for cannabis and additional conditions that can benefit from natural pain relief. This support has increased medical marijuana sales and in the state, marking dispensaries as essential businesses. All of this says that Ohioans are finding relief from their ailments with medical marijuana and that the state is willing to have an open dialogue about it. Reach out to us to schedule a visit, ask questions, and learn more! Let’s get you on the fast track to better pain management. 

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