Why Medical Marijuana Is Great for Headaches

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

There are various types of headaches, including migraines, tension headaches, cluster headaches, and sinus headaches, and they can be triggered by food, caffeine, lack of sleep, noises, smells, hormones, weight, exercise, and smoking. Despite these differences, they all produce pain and sensitivity that could last hours or days. The causes of headaches aren't well understood, but some researchers suggest they could result from a problem with cannabinoid receptors in the brain, affecting neurotransmitters, including serotonin. Cannabinoids could interact with these receptors to resolve these problems, and THC specifically may affect serotonin levels. 

Now, a study from the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado has provided insights into the efficacy of inhaled or ingested medical cannabis on migraines. The study participants' migraines lowered from 10.4 a month to 4.6 a month on average, and almost 40% of participants reported positive effects from the treatment. Cannabis helped prevent migraines in 19.8% of the subjects, and stopped migraines as they began in 11.6% of patients. While these results are promising, 2% of participants actually said cannabis increased their frequency, and 12% said frequency remained the same. Participants said inhalation was more effective in stopping migraines as they occurred and in providing quick relief. 

This information has been provided by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.