Study: Marijuana Associated With Decreased Migraine Frequency

cannabis_pillsCannabis administration is associated with decreased migraine headache frequency, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Pharmacotherapy.

Investigators at the University of Colorado, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences retrospectively assessed cannabis’ effects on monthly migraine headache frequency in a group of 121 adults. Study participants had a primary diagnosis of migraine headache, had been recommended cannabis by a physicians for migraine treatment, and had participated in at least one follow up medical visit.

Authors reported that 85 percent of subjects reported a decrease in migraine frequency and 12 percent indicated that the use of cannabis prior to migraine onset would abort headaches.

“Migraine headache frequency decreased from 10.4 to 4.6 headache per month with the use of medical marijuana,” researchers concluded. “Further research should be performed to determine if there is a preferred delivery method, dose, and strain of medical marijuana for migraine headache therapy as well as potential long-term effects of medical marijuana.”

Although case reports have previously documented the effect of cannabinoids for migraine relief, no prospective trials have yet to evaluate cannabis use in migraine patients. Nonetheless, scientists for some time have theorized that cannabinoids may play a role in migraine regulation. Writing in 2007 in the European Journal of Critical Pharmacology, Italian researchers reported that patients with chronic migraines possessed significantly lower levels of the endogenous cannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG) in their platelets compared to age-matched controls. “These data support the potential involvement of a dysfunctioning of the endocannabinoid and serotonergic systems in the pathology of chronic migraine and medication-overuse headaches,” authors concluded.

The abstract of the study, “Effects of medical marijuana on migraine headache frequency in an adult population,” appears online here.

11 thoughts

  1. I have been stating this for at least 2 decades.

    I get the full on, cluster,
    wish-you-could-pop-your-eyeballs-out-to-ease-the-pressure migraines.

    I have found 2 things can help,
    in addition to required peace and quiet:
    1) sole stiff alcoholic beverage and tylenol with codeine == snooze
    2) a few pleasant tokes, and something to focus upon == distraction

    alc + TwC = out for half a day
    couple good rips = good in a couple hours
    and not dying in that time either

  2. John C lilly, M.D., author of “Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer”, claimed to have cured his migraines with ketamine. Beware, though, also under the influence of ketamine he once called the White House to warn of an impending cyber attack from an alien machine intelligence.

    Stay away from ketamine, NORML fans.

  3. Please tell me what kind to use for migraines. I think medical cannabis is amazing, and I sold licit pharmaceuticals for 25 years! I’d rather take cannabis any day.

    1. What works for me is any indica. Some sativas can help, but sativa edibles are actually a migraine trigger for me. I have my med card in Colorado for migraines, my quality of life has improved dramatically since obtaining it. I still get migraines, mainly from hormones (PMS time), but they’re much less frequent & significantly less severe.

  4. Effect of Cannabinoid Receptor Activation on Spreading Depression

    Hadi Kazemi, et al, Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2012 Jul-Aug; 15(4): 926–936

    Objective(s): The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of cannabinoid on cortical spreading depression (CSD) in rat brain. Cannabis has been used for centuries for both symptomatic and prophylactic treatment of different types of headaches including migraine. CSD is believed to be a putative neuronal mechanism underlying migraine aura and subsequent pain.

    Materials and Methods: The effects of Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as well as, cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptor agonists on CSD in rat neocortical slices were investigated. Furthermore, the effect of cannabinoid CB1 agonist was tested on field excitatory postsynaptic potentials (fEPSP) and long-term potentiation (LTP).

    Results: HC (1-20 microM) dose dependently suppressed CSD amplitude, duration, and propagation velocity. Cannabinoid CB1 agonist, WIN 55,212-2 mesylate (1-10 microM), also significantly suppressed all characteristic features of CSD. However, cannabinoid CB2 agonist, JWH-133 (1-20 microM), did not affect CSD. FEPSP and induction of LTP were suppressed by application of WIN55212-2.

    Conclusion: Suppression of CSD by activation of CB1 receptors points to the potential therapeutic effects of cannabinoids in migraine with aura. More research is needed before we know whether cannabinoids may be helpful in treating migraine pain.

    – Shefa Neuroscience Research Centre, Tehran, Iran

  5. Thank you as always Paul for your diligence in scientific research reporting. What an extraordinary library of cannabis research you have built for the world to access.

    Its amazing to us within the cannabis community to have watched Iran and Israel lead the way in cannabis science for decades while our own US institutions languish in prohibition, now risking federal backlash just to prove scientifically what we consumers already know. And then there are those unwilling or unable to risk the tyranny of prohibition by consuming marijuana so they suffer the failed prescriptions intended for profit. Thanks for nothing but migraines NIDA and the CSAct.

    Still its nice to see research published in Colorado.

    Just think; the DEA has been steadily eradicating wild, free, local medicine in the form of feral hemp for 45 years, (albeit without complete success… Feral hemp still grows throughout parts of the Mississippi river valley. I know, I know too many sex parties with the Colombian cartels to finish the program properly). What a terrible waste of tax resources that program has been for Americans; the DEA went around eradicating free medicine so Big Pharma could hike prices on their poisons to the sick and the poor. Better yet, I think I need some marijuana right now just to cure the migraine I got from thinking about it.

  6. This link describes the causes of migraines in great detail

    But then says the “best remedy for people suffering from migraines is leave them alone, quiet and in the dark.”

    Uhmmm… After handing them a vaporizer full of weed?

  7. Dr. Ethan Russo? was the PIONEER in studying Migraines and cannabis.

    PLEASE – WHEN you get a chance – Google Search Dr. Ethan Russo, cannabis and migraines.

    He – is one of my ALL TIME HEROES for helping me understand my illness and just how cannabis CAN and DOES help people like me. Thank GOD Gary Lynch? found Dr. Russo via the Internet when I was DESPERATE – almost 20 years ago!

    Dr. Russo is a highly regarded/respected Neurologist in the United States who specializes in Multiple Sclerosis, cannabis AND – BELIEVE or NOT – now BILATERAL Tic Douloureux. (The EXCRUCIATING pain I suffer from in my head and face associated with MS and have for over 25 years, 24 hours a day….)

    Cannabis got me away from 32 pills, two thousand milligrams of morphine AND heroin and cocaine (DAILY for almost twenty years. (ALL Doctor prescribed).

    And you WONDER WHY I fight for CANNABIS as medicine?

    More details in Ethan’s Migraine Study…
    Please share…

    Thank you.

    Love and a Squish,

    Alison Myrden
    Federal Medical Cannabis Exemptee in Canada since 1994
    Retired Law Enforcement Officer
    Speaker for LEAP Since 2004
    Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
    Speaker for LPP
    Lawmen Protecting Patients
    Canadian Patient Representative for the IACM
    International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines
    Bonn, Germany
    Alison Myrden is part of the marijuana majority. Are you?
    MMAR Coalition against Repeal Lawsuit in Canada
    NDP Candidate for Oakville, Ontario 2004
    New Democratic Party of Canada

    1. Wow, I had forgot to look up more stuff on Dr. Russo, such important work on migraine, when to me he’s the TERPENE guy, look up article titled “Taming Thc” about 2011.

  8. I found it; Marijuana and Lavender essential oil in a vaporizer. Cures instantly.

    Smoked marijuana combined has a quick effect as well.

    I never get migraines but I got a big one recently after tape and floating, sanding and painting a garage with an airless sprayer, even with a mask on. Blurred vision, and its been more than 24 hours of constant yet slowly diminshing pain behind the eyes and sides or temples.

    Its the terpenes curing it for sure. If this was chronic I’d drop some in a plug in vaporizer at night and dab some on the car vents.

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