Research Shows Treating Migraines With Cannabis Is Effective

A new review of published literature on treating migraines with cannabis finds that cannabis is effective both at reducing migraine frequency and stopping the onset of migraine headaches. Cannabis also reduced symptoms associated with migraines, including nausea and vomiting.

The researchers from the University of Arizona published their findings in the journal Frontiers in Neurology. They looked at findings from 12 previous studies in Italy and the United States involving more than 1,980 people.

If supported by further clinical study, the findings would mean good news for the 30 percent of the world population who reportedly experience migraines. In the United States alone, about 39 million people live with migraines, according to the American Migraine Foundation.

How Cannabis Treats Migraines and Symptoms

The university researchers began looking into the use of treating migraines with cannabis “given the undesirable side effects of current migraine medications.” Those can include constipation or diarrhea, and nausea.

The study found that medical cannabis:

  • Significantly reduced nausea and vomiting associated with migraine attacks after six months of use
  • Reduced the number of migraine headache days after 30 days
  • Reduced the frequency of migraine headaches per month
  • Proved 51 percent more effective in reducing migraines than non-cannabis products
  • Aborted the onset of migraine headaches in 11.6 percent of users and reduced migraine frequency

“There is promising evidence that MC may have a beneficial effect on the onset and duration of migraine headaches in adults,” the researchers wrote. “However, well-designed experimental studies that assess MC’s effectiveness and safety for treating migraine in adults are needed to support this hypothesis.”

Cannabis Frequently Used For Headaches

Millennials already have shown an interest in using cannabis to combat migraines. Members of the generation said in a past survey that combating migraines and nausea is one of the main reasons they use cannabis.

Even older cannabis users have reported that they use cannabis to treat migraines and other types of pain. Some say they do so to avoid becoming addicted to painkillers.

CBD also has proven useful for some in fighting the pain of headaches and migraines. The University of Arizona researchers call for clinical tests that can prove their theory on the effectiveness of treating migraines with cannabis, something other researchers have called for in the past.

For example, researchers in 2021 from Larkin Community Hospital in Miami said that further research into this area could result in more doctors becoming comfortable with prescribing medical marijuana. “Chronic pain and mental health are the two reasons where medical cannabis is used often,” they wrote. “It is found that some medical providers are hesitant to recommend medical cannabis due to a lack of current evidence, medical professional training, and a lack of uniform medical cannabis use guidelines.”

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