Review: Cannabis Provides Benefits for Migraine Sufferers

Tucson, AZ: Cannabis preparations likely provide for the prophylactic and abortive treatment of migraines, according to a review of the relevant literature published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology

A team of investigators with the University of Arizona reviewed the findings of 12 previously published studies involving 1,980 participants.

Authors reported evidence of plant cannabinoids’ ability to reduce migraine frequency and to abort the onset of migraine headaches. The use of various preparations of cannabis was also associated with significant reductions in migraine-induced vomiting, pain, and nausea. 

They concluded: “[T]here is some evidence for MC’s [medical cannabis’] beneficial effect on treating migraine in adults. However, further research is needed to assess effective dosing and safety critically. Mindful of the upsurge of interest in MC use to treat migraines, there is an urgent need to implement well-designed studies to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of medical marijuana for treating adults with migraines.”

The results of a prior literature review, which assessed 34 scientific papers on cannabis and migraine, similarly identified “encouraging data on medicinal cannabis’ therapeutic effects on alleviating migraines in all of the studies reviewed.”

Numerous surveys of patients report 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, “Cannabis for the treatment of migraine in adults: A Review of the evidence,” appears in Frontiers in Neurology. Additional information on cannabis and migraine treatment is available from NORML.