Data published in the journal Neurology Clinical Practice shows cannabis to be an effective treatment for those who live with migraines, with many opting to use cannabis to treat their symptoms.  

Researchers affiliated with Yale School of Medicine, Ayer Neuroscience Institute, and others selected a cohort of 1373 from 5400 respondents. Patients from a specialist headache centre in the USA completed a one-time online survey and researchers analysed the results. 

Questions in the survey were designed to indicate to researchers how cannabis helps patients manage symptoms such as the intensity, frequency and duration of their migraine, as well as other risk factors such as nausea, sleep disturbance, depression, and anxiety. 

“The most frequently cited reasons for cannabis-based product use were treating headache (65.8%) and sleep concerns (50.8%)”, the study states. 

The most common method for consuming cannabis among the respondents was inhaling through vaping or combustion, followed by edibles such as gummies. Patients reported preferring a THC and CBD blend product.

Over 50% of patients who said they hadn’t used cannabis in the prior three years reported being confused about which cannabis product to use and what dose to take. 

Their results show that nearly 80% of cannabis users found it to be useful in the treatment of their migraine intensity, nearly three-quarters found it to reduce the length of time their migraines affected them, and 62% said it reduced the number of migraines they experienced. 

About half of the respondents reported a reduction in the amount of medication they were using alongside cannabis, and 14% said they had stopped taking their other prescriptions completely. 

“A majority of participants reported cannabis-related improvements in migraine headache characteristics (i.e., intensity: 78.1%; duration: 73.4%; frequency: 62.4%), nausea (56.3%), and risk factors (sleep disturbance: 81.2%; anxiety: 71.4%; depression: 57.0%). Over half (58.0%) of the respondents reported only using cannabis products when experiencing a headache, while 42.0% used cannabis most days/daily for prevention. Nearly half (48.9%) of the respondents reported that cannabis use contributed to a reduction in medication amount for headache treatment, and 14.5% reported an elimination of other medications. A minority (20.9%) of participants reported experiencing side effects when using cannabis products for headaches, most commonly fatigue/lethargy. For those participants who reported no use of cannabis-based products in the previous 3 years, approximately half indicated not knowing what cannabis product to take or the appropriate dosage.” wrote the author of this study.

This study was the largest study of its kind and the results show promise that cannabis can be used as an effective and safe treatment for the management of migraine symptoms. However, the clinical use and research into cannabis as a medicine is still in its infancy and more studies should be conducted to gain a firmer understanding of the role it can play. 

“This is the largest study to date to document cannabis product usage patterns and perceived benefits for migraine management in a clinical headache patient sample. A majority of patients surveyed reported using cannabis products for migraine management and cited perceived improvements in migraine characteristics, clinical features, and associated risk factors. The findings warrant experimental trials to confirm the perceived benefits of cannabis products for migraine prevention and treatment.” the study concludes.

This story first appeared on leafie, view here
Author: Kevin Dinneen

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