Medical Marijuana for Treating Migraines

Medical Marijuana for Treating Migraines

In the United States, more than 37 million Americans suffer from migraines. These numbers include about 13% of the entire adult population, and 2 to 3 million Americans out of this total suffer from chronic migraines instead of occasional ones. However, new studies are showing a promising new treatment for these migraines by using medical marijuana.

People have been utilizing the medical power of the cannabis plant for thousands of years, but only in the most recent years have we discovered the reasoning behind medical marijuana for cannabis. A recent study published last year from Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado took a deeper look into the effects of cannabis on migraines by studying the way our bodies metabolize cannabis via inhalation or ingestion in people who suffer from migraines. The results of this study actually confirmed what years of holistic knowledge and previous baseline studies had only begun to unlock.

The goal of this study was to create a clinical trial that proves the effects of medical marijuana on patients with migraine headaches since at the time there were no scientifically backed clinical trials available. Cannabinoids have the potential to affect serotonin in the central nervous system, which could possibly show that medical marijuana could be a therapeutic alternative to traditional anti-migraine medicines. The main objective of the study was to diagnose and describe the effects of medical marijuana on the frequency of migraine headaches in patients with chronic migraines that would cause one migraine per month.

The researchers took a look at reports from over 120 american adults and were able to identify a few very important points.

The biggest tangible discovery was that the number of migraines per month when using medical marijuana dropped significantly. At the beginning, patients were experiencing an average of 10.6 migraines per month collectively. With the use of medical marijuana to treat these migraines, the number of migraines dropped to an average of 4.6.

  • 40% of the test subjects, or a total of 48, reported that medical marijuana had positive effects on their lives during the trial and helped with their migraines.
  • 20% of the subjects, or a total of 24, claimed that medical marijuana helped prevent migraines altogether. These 24 patients went from regular migraines to almost 0 migraines.
  • 12% of the subjects, or a total of 14, reported that medical marijuana stopped migraine headaches as they began feeling the symptoms of an oncoming migraine headache, which is a feat that almost nothing else can achieve.
  • 85% of the subjects, or a total of 102, reported that they experienced fewer migraines per month while they used medical marijuana.
  • 12% of the subjects, or a total of 14, reported that they saw no change in the frequency of the migraines they had when using medical marijuana versus doing nothing differently.
  • 2% of these subjects, or a total of 2,  also believed that they had more migraines during the trial while using medical marijuana than when they did nothing differently.

It’s also noteworthy that the subjects who inhaled cannabis were able to receive the fastest effects which helped to stop migraine headaches in their tracks. Just like recreational use, edible cannabis takes much longer to metabolize in the body and takes much longer to provide relief. It was also more likely than a quick smoke to cause negative side effects like sleepiness, and overly intense euphoria which 11.6%, or a total of 14,  of participants reported. Smoking allows the cannabinoids a much quicker route to your brain and to your endocannabinoid receptors, which helps people suffering from migraines stop a migraine before it starts. Edibles take about a half hour to take effect, and by then, you’re already feeling the full force of a migraine.

Previous studies also tried to figure out why medical marijuana tends to help migraines by citing endocannabinoid deficiencies and the activation of our CB2 receptors as potential explanations. While this study didn’t answer any of those specific questions, it did add valuable information to the growing pool of research surrounding the potential of medical marijuana as a possible migraine medication since over 85% of the subjects experienced a tangible reduction in how often they actually had migraines.

As more and more information is unearthed on cannabinoids, our next biggest field of research is going to be about which cannabinoids, delivery methods, and cannabis strains are the most effective for treating a variety of ailments, including of course headaches and migraines.

As of now, the best strains to help manage migraine pain or prevent migraines are as follows:

  • Girl Scout Cookies
  • Sour Diesel
  • Harlequin
  • Lemon OG Kush
  • Candyland
  • White Widow
  • OG Kush
  • And Blue Dream

Most of these strains can be found on our shelves at any given time. If you suffer from migraines or headaches, be sure to talk with your budtender. They’ll be able to provide you with the best medicine to help you feel better.