If you’ve ever experiences a migraine, you know that it is much worse than a regular headache. In addition to pain, symptoms of migraines include sensitivity to light, sound, and smell, as well as nausea and vomiting.
In the United States, 35 million people suffer from migraines. Statistics show that migraines occur more commonly in women and that they mostly affect people between the ages of 15 and 55. Migraines are caused by a variety of factors, such as stress and other emotions, biological and environmental conditions, fatigue, glaring or flickering lights, weather changes, and certain foods and drinks.
In 2016, the first formal study on cannabis as a migraine treatment was published in the journal Pharmacotherapy. The study surveyed 121 adults with migraines over a period from January 2010 to September 2014 who were prescribed medical cannabis. The study noted a decrease in the average frequency of migraines decreased from 10.4 per month to 4.6 per month with regular cannabis consumption.
While there are no randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials on the use of cannabis marijuana to treating migraines, there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence from patients and physicians that indicate its effectiveness. For example, a 2009 report published in the scientific journalHeadache describes one case where researchers witnessed the full relief of cluster headache symptoms in a man just five minutes after he took cannabis.
So why does cannabis show such promise as a therapeutic alternative to other traditional migraine treatments? For decades, a class of drugs called triptans have been used to treat migraines. These drugs activate the receptors in the brain that respond to serotonin, which scientists believe is a trigger chemical that narrows blood vessels and leads to migraine pain. Cannabinoids, the naturally occurring chemical compounds in cannabis, activate the same receptors. Research has also shown that cannabinoids can block the release of serotonin during a migraine attack, providing one more reason to believe in its effectiveness.
If you suffer from migraines, medical cannabis may be the solution for you. Your doctor at Tetra Health Centers can evaluate your symptoms and offer a personalized treatment plan.