Updated on January 29, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
One of the greatest things about medical marijuana is its flexibility — you can mix and match cannabinoid concentrations and medication methods to get the most out of your treatment plan. Knowing how to use these options to your advantage can help you feel the best you can.
Although a wide variety of medicine types can relieve migraines, patients commonly eat edibles or vaporize. Many states allow one or both of these methods, making them accessible to people all over the United States. But, which option works best to soothe migraines? Although it depends a lot on individual circumstances, there are several factors you can consider when choosing a medication method.
Vaporized cannabis and edibles have a few key differences in use. When you vape, you inhale the water vapor that comes from heating bud or concentrate at a high temperature. Many patients vape as an alternative to smoking since the air doesn’t get as hot and you aren’t inhaling smoke.
Edibles can be any kind of medicine you ingest, including infused food, capsules and oils. They offer a more familiar method for new patients. Each approach has different bonuses for different patients.
Migraines can come on suddenly or happen in predictable patterns. So, you need to pick a medication that works when you need it. Vaporizing affects you very quickly, giving you the relief you need whether you can tell when your migraines occur or not.
On the other hand, edibles can take longer to provide benefits, so you might have to plan ahead for your episodes.
Your personal circumstances can affect which medication method will work best for you. Factors like age, lifestyle preferences, ability and finances often influence a patient’s decision.
While vaporizing offers faster relief than edibles, it can also be a lot less accessible. Children or people with certain disabilities can’t or shouldn’t use a vaporizer due to the equipment and high heat involved. Plus, if you want a high-quality vape, you may have to spend a decent amount of money.
Meanwhile, edibles can suit people of all ages and abilities. As long as the patient doesn’t have swallowing or choking problems, they can eat a premade edible or food with cannabis medicine added to it. You can even add certain marijuana oils to a child’s favorite food to make taking their medicine a happier experience. Or, of course, you can add it to your own tasty treat.
So, which approach works best overall for treating migraines with marijuana? Most people lean toward vaporizing due to its immediacy, but different factors can change what’s best for an individual.
Edibles can’t provide relief as immediately as vaping can, and you have to experiment with their results before you can rely on them. Whether you have unpredictable or predictable episodes, you can count on vaporizing to make you feel better. But, we also can’t ignore some of the accessibility issues it can have for some patients. Age and ability aside, some patients feel intimidated by methods we tend to associate with recreational use.
Of course, if your circumstances tend to vary, you can always use one method in certain situations and the other in another context. With help from your doctor and dispensary, you can try a few assorted products to see how they work in different settings.
Although medical marijuana regimens tend to give the patient more freedom than standard medication, you can still get help tailoring your treatment. Consult a cannabis-friendly physician or your local dispensary’s staff members for more advice about picking a method.