Study: Inhaled Cannabis Associated with Reductions in Migraine Severity

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Pullman, WA: Cannabis inhalation is associated with self-reported reductions in headache and migraine severity, according to clinical data published in the Journal of Pain.

A team of investigators from Washington State University reviewed archived data from 1,959 anonymous cannabis consumers who tracked their cannabis use and headache frequency over a 16-month period via an online application.

Authors reported that inhaled cannabis reduced subjects' perceived severity of headache and migraine by nearly 50 percent. Men were more likely than women to report changes in headache severity.

Investigators also acknowledged that many subjects exhibited tolerance to cannabis over time, as they required increased quantities to maintain the same self-reported analgesic effects.

They concluded: "The present study indicates that inhaled cannabis reduces headache and migraine severity ratings by approximately 50 percent. Repeated use of cannabis is associated with tolerance to its effects, making tolerance a risk factor for the use of cannabis to treat headache and migraine. However, cannabis does not lead to the medication overuse headache that is associated with other conventional treatments, meaning that use of cannabis does not make headaches or migraines worse over time. Future double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials are warranted and will help to rule out placebo effects and provide a more controlled examination of dose, type of cannabis, THC, CBD, and THC x CBD interactions."

Full text of the study, "Short and Long-term effects of cannabis on headaches and migraine," appears in the Journal of Pain. Additional information on cannabinoids and migraine is available online from NORML.