We wrote a few weeks ago about a new study that confirmed the efficacy of cannabis on migraines. But what about tension headaches? These bad boys are the most common type of headache, meaning just about everyone while deal with one at some point or another. If cannabis can knock down a migraine, what can do it for a tension headache? And more importantly, is cannabis better than OTC pain pills if you have a tension headache? Let’s find out!
Meet the Tension Headache
The Mayo Clinic describes tension headaches as a mild to moderate pain that feels like a tight band around your head. Symptoms also include tenderness on the scalp, neck and shoulder blades. Miserable, right? These buggers are split into two groups — episodic and chronic. Essentially, if you’re having tension headaches that last hours and they hit more than 15 days a month for three months in a row, you’re dealing with a chronic issue. But even episodic tension headaches, which come and go, odds are gone you want them gone.
Tension headaches differ from migraines largely because you probably won’t have the same sensitivities to light and sound, nor are you likely to experience nausea and vomiting. Small consolation when your head is pounding!
The cause of tension headaches isn’t clear, but it could be related to muscle contractions in the face, scalp, and neck. These contractions may be caused by tension and stress. If you’re sensitive to pain and you carry stress in the shoulders and neck, boom — tension headache.
Typically, treatments include lifestyle changes designed to minimize stress, like making sure you get enough sleep, eating well, exercising consistently, and stying hydrated. To manage a tension headache, over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen are recommended, along with prescriptions meds if your tension headaches are chronic. We already know these medications have a litany of side effects, which makes it worth investigating cannabis as a treatment option.
Can Cannabis Help?
In a word — yes. Cannabis was used historically as a treatment for headaches, notably in the late 1800s through the 1940s. The federal status of cannabis means research on its efficacy on tension headaches specifically is woefully limited, but we do know that cannabis can help reduce stress and tension. It may also help indirectly by improving sleep quality.
The calming, anti-anxiety effect of cannabis, coupled with its moderating properties on pain and muscle tension, makes it a viable option if you’re regularly reaching for OTC painkillers to zap a tension headache. We know that cannabis works in the body’s endocannabinoid system to intercept pain signals relax muscles, serve as an anti-inflammatory, and reduce dilated arteries and blood pressure. Plus, a fast-acting intake method, like a tincture, means speedy relief. A tincture also allows for precise dosing, so you’re getting just enough to deal with your headache and get on with your life.
Headaches make everything harder, and cannabis can be a great alternative to traditional pain medications. Ask a budtender about the KYND tincture and give it a go the next time your head feels like it’s stuck in a vise.