Oral Cannabis Preparations Associated with Modest Improvements in Patients with Refractory Migraines

Modena, Italy: The long-term use of oral preparations of herbal cannabis is associated with modest improvements in patients with treatment-resistant migraines, according to observational trial data published in the journal Pain Medicine.

A team of Italian investigators assessed the use of herbal cannabis tinctures in a cohort of 32 patients with chronic, refractory migraines. Subjects took one of three varieties of tinctures (high THC/low CBD, high CBD/low THC, nearly equal rations of THC and CBD) daily for a period of six months.

Inconsistent with several other recent studies – such as those here and here – cannabis use was not associated with any reduction in the number of days during which patients experienced migraines. Consistent with other studies, the use of herbal cannabis tinctures reduced patients pain intensity, their need for prescription analgesics, and their use of prescription migraine rescue medications. Cannabinoid tinctures were also associated with reduced incidences of nausea and vomiting.

Authors concluded: “The observed improvements in the NRS [numeric rating scale] score, AC [analgesic consumption], and NDM [number of days on medication] may suggest a role of the oral cannabinoid preparations in patients with CM and a high analgesic consumption. … In order to clearly establish the real magnitude of the effect of oral cannabinoid preparations in the treatment of CM, randomized, placebo-controlled studies with big samples are needed.”

Several prior studies have reported that those suffering from migraines often turn to cannabis for symptomatic relief, and many patients say that it is more effective than prescription medications.

Full text of the study, “Oral cannabinoid preparations for the treatment of chronic migraine: A retrospective study,” appears in Pain Medicine. Additional information on cannabis and migraine control is available from NORML.