upset older woman with a headache

Medical Cannabis For Migraine Headaches

Migraine headaches affect approximately 13% of the population, with 25% of sufferers having one or more migraines a week. According to the American Migraine Foundation, migraines are considered chronic when an individual experiences 15 or more headache days per month, with at least 8 of those meeting the criteria for a migraine. Preventative medicines are often prescribed to help reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches.

In a new study presented at the recent American Academy of Neurology annual meeting, the effects of medical cannabis were examined in more than 300 chronic migraine patients. After an average of 5 months of treatment, more than 80% of patients described improvement in their headache profile, with over half reporting a decrease in their headache frequency. Approximately half of those patients experienced at least a 50% reduction in headache days. Other benefits of medical cannabis included improved sleep, anxiety, and mood. The use of opioid medications for chronic migraine pain was also significantly reduced. Patients taking a higher ratio of THC to CBD reported a significantly higher occurrence of overall headache improvement. Treatment-related adverse effects (AEs) were reported in fewer than 25% of patients, with only four patients discontinuing due to AEs.

Medical cannabis may play a role in chronic migraine management by helping to improve headache profile and frequency, as well as sleep, anxiety, and mood. Additional studies are needed to assess the long-term safety and efficacy of medical cannabis in migraine patients. 

Citation: Hoffenberg EJ, McWilliams S, Mikulich-Gilbertson S, Murphy B, Hoffenberg A, Hopfer CJ. Cannabis oil use by adolescents and young adults with inflammatory bowel disease. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2019 Mar; 68(3): 348-352.

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