Few studies to date have measured the real-time effects of the use of cannabis products for the treatment of headaches and migraines under naturalistic conditions.
Study of the action of cannabis on migraine
This study examines, for the first time, the efficacy of the use of dried cannabis flower, the most widely used type of cannabis product in the United States, in real-time for the treatment of pain associated with headaches and migraines and the associations between the different characteristics of the product. Also, changes in symptom intensity after cannabis use assessed.
This study is available by clicking on this link. It was conducted at the Faculty of Economics at the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque, USA.
700 people interviewed and followed up
Between 06/10/2016 and 02/12/2019, 699 people used the Releaf application to record real-time details of their cannabis consumption, including product characteristics and levels of symptom intensity before and after self-administration.
The data included 1910 session-level attempts to treat headaches (1328 sessions) or migraine pain (582 sessions).
Headaches or migraine pain intensity changes measured on a scale of 0 to 10 before and immediately after cannabis use.
94% of patients relieved by cannabis
94% of users experienced symptom relief within a two-hour observation window.
The mean reduction in symptom intensity was 3.3 points on a scale of 0 to 10, with men experiencing more relief than women and a trend observed in younger users (<35 years of age) experiencing high relief than older users.
Mixed-effect regression models showed that, among known (i.e., labeled) product characteristics, tetrahydrocannabinol levels of 10% and above are the potent independent predictors of symptom relief, and this effect is particularly strong among headache rather than migraine sufferers, women, and younger users. Women and younger users also appear to obtain higher symptom relief from flowers labeled “C. indica” rather than “C. sativa” or other hybrid strains.
Using cannabis for migraine relief: a natural solution
These results suggest that the whole dried cannabis flower may be an effective medication for the treatment of pain associated with migraines and headaches, however, the effect differs depending on the characteristics of the cannabis plant, the burning methods, and the age and sex of the patient.