Migraine is a relatively common condition – affecting around 6 million people in the UK – that is usually characterised by a moderate to severe headache in one side of the head. Migraine is estimated to affect around 1 in 5 women and around 1 in 15 men.

What are the symptoms?

Migraines can present themselves in a number of forms, the most common being:

  • Migraine with aura – where there are specific warning signs before a headache begins (e.g., flashing lights, blurred vision)
  • Migraine without aura – the most common type, where the migraine occurs without the warning signs
  • Migraine aura without headache (also known as a silent migraine) – where aura or other Migraine symptoms are experienced, but a headache does not develop

Other migraine symptoms can include:

  • Nausea and sickness
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound
  • Poor concentration

The frequency of Migraines can vary massively. Some people can experience migraines up to several times a week while, for others, years can pass between occurrences.

Cause and treatment

The exact cause of treatment is not known; however, many experts believe they are the result of temporary changes in the chemicals, nerves, and blood vessels in the brain. The condition may also be linked to genetics as figures show that around half of people who experience Migraines also have a close relative with the condition.

Migraine attacks may also be associated with triggers such as:

  • Starting your period
  • Stress
  • Tiredness
  • Consuming certain food or drinks

There is no cure for Migraines, but there are a number of treatments available that can often reduce the associated symptoms. These include taking painkillers (including paracetamol and ibuprofen), triptans (medicines that can reverse the changes in the brain associated with Migraines), and anti-emetics (medicines used to reduce feelings of sickness and nausea).

Avoiding potential triggers, such as stress or a certain type of food, can also be effective for preventing future Migraine attacks. In more severe cases, where treatments and prevention measures have failed to control symptoms, other medications, including anti-seizure medications, may also be considered.

Medical Cannabis and Migraines

In some cases, medical cannabis can be considered for the treatment of Migraines when traditional first-line treatments and prevention strategies have been ineffective. Some evidence suggests that medical cannabis use could be associated with a decrease in migraine frequency. In addition, medical cannabis may also help to stop Migraine attacks when they are already underway.

Our specialist physicians are experienced in assessing individual cases and helping to determine whether medical cannabis could be an effective option.

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