How Medicinal Marijuana Can Treat Migraines

Photo Credit: The Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: The Medicinal Marijuana Association

In a study published by in Pharmacotherapy, researchers determined medicinal marijuana effectively reduced the frequency of migraine headaches in 103 of its 121 participants. The ability for cannabinoids to interact with and bind to pain receptors in the brain allow it to mitigate pain perception.  Participants reported inhalation as their preferred vehicle of administration due to the fast onset of its therapeutic effects. They also opted for marijuana with higher concentrations of CBD in order to avoid the plant's psychoactive effects and continue with their daily routines. 

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

Can Marijuana Help Treat Migraines?

Photo Credit: Leaf Science

Photo Credit: Leaf Science

Migraines are headaches that consist of severe pain and last for an extended period of time. In addition to pain, migraines can increase sensitivity to light, sound, and smell, as well as produce nausea and vomiting. Most information surrounding the use of medical marijuana for migraines is anecdotal, but one formal study published in the journal Pharmacotherapy in 2016 found regular consumption of cannabis decreased migraine frequency from 10.4 migraines a month to 4.6. The study surveyed 121 adults with migraines from 2010 to 2014, all of whom were prescribed medical marijuana and who attended a minimum of one follow-up appointment.

Patients self-reported their consumption method and dosage frequency, in which researchers were able to determine the mean monthly dosage per patient was 2.64 oz of vaporized cannabis, 2.59 oz of edibles, 2.73 oz of topical applications, and 1.59 oz of smoked marijuana. Patients preferred vaporizing or smoking cannabis because it is easier to dose and offers quick relief, whereas edible are harder to measure and take longer to reach maximum effect. Improvements can be made for future studies. More data is desired on the types of cannabis use and the dosage, patients needed to consistently fill out their forms, and some patients were excluded from the study for not attending follow-up appointments.

At CannaBest Medical, the anonymous self-reported data you submit contributes to our research databank where we are able to determine how patients are using medical marijuana to successfully treat their symptoms. We hope you remember to document your dose by completely filling out the form in the journaling section of our app while the information is still fresh in your mind. This will not only help you to keep track of what works or doesn't work for your specific symptoms, but it will also be used to influence our guidelines which will help patients who don't know where to begin. This information has been provided in part by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Study: Marijuana Associated With Decreased Migraine Frequency

Photo Credit: NORML

Photo Credit: NORML

Recent data published online ahead of print in the journal Pharmacotherapy suggests marijuana administration results in decreased migraine frequency. Investigators at the University of Colorado, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical scientists looked at the effects of cannabis on the frequency of monthly migraine headache. The 121 participants of the study were diagnosed with migraine headache, recommended cannabis by a physician for its treatment, and had attended a followup meeting. Of the participants, 85 percent reported a decrease in migraine frequency and 12 percent said using cannabis before the migraine began would actually prevent it. The preferred method of intake, dose, and strain of medical marijuana for the use of migraine headache therapy has not yet been determined.

The use of medical marijuana for migraine relief is not a new theory, though very few trials have actually documented the effects of cannabis on migraine patients. Back in 2007, Italian researchers wrote in the European Journal of Critical Pharmacology, noting that patients with chronic migraines possessed significantly low levers of endogenous cannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonylglycerol in their platelets. This supports the theory that cannabis and the endocannabinoid system might play a significant role in migraine regulation.

This information has been provided by NORML and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. You can also find an abstract of the study here.