A recent American study suggests that medical cannabis could reduce pain by nearly half in patients with chronic headaches or severe migraines.
“The use of cannabis to relieve headaches and migraine is relatively common. But research on its effectiveness remains rare,” said researchers at Washington State University. “We investigated whether cannabis inhalation reduced headaches and migraines. As well as whether sex, cannabis type (concentrated versus flowers), THC, CBD or dose contributed to these feelings. »
The researchers opted for a relatively modern approach to form a group of patients for their study. The data were collected from Strainprint, a Canadian application that allows patients to rate their symptoms on a scale of 1 to 10 before and after using cannabis for medical purposes. From this application, researchers collected data from 1,300 patients who used the application more than 12,000 times to regularly report changes in their headaches. The study also included data from 653 migraine patients who had used the application more than 7,400 times to monitor their symptoms.
“We wanted to address this issue in an ecologically valid way. Which is to examine the case of patients using whole-plant cannabis for treatment at home and in their environment. ” Carrie Cuttler said , lead author of the study. “It is also very voluminous data. Which allows us to generalize more appropriately to the largest population of patients using cannabis to treat these conditions. »
The study indicates that 88.1% of migraine sufferers and 89.9% of people with headaches reported that cannabis use relieves some of their pain. Users of the application reported a 49.6% decrease in migraine pain and a 47.3% decrease in headache severity. Slightly more men (90%) reported that cannabis helps to relieve headaches than women (89.1%).
Interestingly, the study showed that these results were consistent regardless of the type or variety of cannabis used. The researchers expected that specific concentrations of THC or CBD would be more or less effective in treating headaches. But the study found that each mixture appeared to have the same effectiveness.
Since cannabis is composed of more than 100 cannabinoids. This discovery suggests that different cannabinoids or terpenes could play a major role in the headaches relief” the authors concluded.
The study showed no evidence of side effects .
Cuttler acknowledged that the study had its limitations, particularly because it is based on self-reporting. “I suspect a slight overestimation of effectiveness,” she explained. “I hope that this research will motivate researchers to undertake the difficult work of conducting placebo-controlled trials. In the meantime, this will at least give patients treated with medical cannabis and their doctors a little more information about what they could expect from cannabis to manage these conditions.