Nearly a third of patients with migraines have tried cannabis for symptom management, and the majority of those who have done so report it to be effective, according to survey data compiled by the healthcare technology provider Healint.
Researchers surveyed over 9,800 migraine patients in the United States and Canada who had downloaded a migraine tracking application (a/k/a Migraine Buddy). They reported that some 30 percent of migraine patients had used cannabis to mitigate migraine pain. Among medical cannabis users, 82 percent reported it to be effective at providing migraine relief.
Commenting on the findings, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “Migraines have a debilitating impact on tens of millions of Americans and, in many cases, are poorly addressed by conventional therapies. Therefore, it is not surprising to see a significant percentage of migraine sufferers turning to cannabis as a therapeutic option. Those that do so are consistently reporting it to be safe and effective at reducing both migraine symptoms and migraine frequency. With the legal status of cannabis changing in more and more states, no doubt this population of medical users will continue to grow over time.”
The high percentage of migraine patients reporting efficacy from cannabis in the Healint study is consistent with prior survey data. For example, data published this summer in the Journal of Integrative Medicine reported that 94 percent of migraine sufferers who inhaled cannabis experienced symptom relief within two hours. On average, patients enrolled in the study experienced a reduction in symptom intensity of 3.3 points on the ten-point scale.
Separate data published in the June edition of the journal Brain Sciences reported that the inhalation of cannabis long-term was associated with reductions in migraine frequency. Another study, published in 2019 in the Journal of Pain, reported that “inhaled cannabis reduces headache and migraine severity ratings by approximately 50 percent.” Data published that same year in the journal Neurology reported similar results – with subjects reporting a 42 percent decrease in average monthly migraine frequency following their use of cannabis. A 2016 study of 121 migraine sufferers reported that the frequency of headaches decreased from 10.4 to 4.6 migraine headaches per month following the initiation of cannabis.
Additional information on the use of cannabinoids for migraine is available from NORML here.