NOV 26, 2019 3:06 PM PST

Cannabis Provides Relief from Headache and Migraine Pain

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

Innovative technology allowed researchers to conduct the first-ever study of cannabis use for the treatment of headache and migraine pain in real-time. With the help of a mobile application where patients can record their symptoms and timestamp their cannabis consumption, researchers observed strong associations between cannabis use and pain relief.

Researchers report that the present study is indeed the first to use “big data” in “real time” from headache and migraine patients using cannabis. This is compared to studies based on the recollection of past cannabis use and studies utilizing synthetic cannabinoid drugs.

"We wanted to approach this in an ecologically valid way, which is to look at actual patients using whole plant cannabis to medicate in their own homes and environments," explained lead author Carrie Cuttler.

Cuttler and her team utilized archival data from an app called “Stainprint,” where patients can track symptoms in real time, before and after using cannabis for headache or migraine pain. Participants in the study were those who had purchased medical cannabis from Canadian producers and distributors. This included 1,300 patients using the app more than 12,200 times to record cannabis effects on headache and 653 patients using the app more than 7,400 times to record cannabis effects on migraine.

The results showed that inhaled cannabis reduced self-reported headache severity by 47.3% and self-reported migraine severity by 49.6%. Unlike conventional treatments for headache and migraine pain, cannabis use for pain relief showed no signs of “overuse headache,” which can exacerbate pain over time. However, analysis did show that patients tended to use larger doses of cannabis over time, potentially a sign that headache and migraine patients run the risk of developing a tolerance to cannabis and need progressively higher doses to achieve the same effect.

Interestingly, pain reduction was not affected by different cannabis strains with varying levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), indicating it may be other cannabinoids or even terpenes which are responsible for the relief experienced by headache and migraine patients. Going forward, study researchers acknowledge that future studies are needed in an environment where researchers can install a control group.

Sources: Washington State University, Journal of Pain

About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
JAN 25, 2020
Health & Medicine
JAN 25, 2020
Can CBD Be Used to Treat Anxiety?
A 2019 study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information showed that Cannabidiol might benefit anxiety-related disorders.  The...
JAN 25, 2020
Health & Medicine
JAN 25, 2020
Pennsylvania Third State to Legalize the Treatment of Anxiety with Medical Marijuana
The Pennsylvania Department of Health added anxiety disorders and Tourette's syndrome to a rather short list of health conditions that currently qualif...
JAN 25, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
JAN 25, 2020
THC Found in Almost Half of Popular Hemp-CBD Products
Many cannabidiol (CBD) products are assumed or advertised to be free, or mostly free, of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). A new study finds this is not always t...
JAN 25, 2020
Health & Medicine
JAN 25, 2020
Can Marijuana Help Chronic Migraines?
Migraines are not just headaches, but often debilitating disorders usually characterized by a unilateral hemi cranial pulsating headache, often accompanied...
JAN 25, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
JAN 25, 2020
Rural Medical Cannabis Users Struggle With Dispensary Distance, Cost
Long drives and high prices can complicate medical cannabis access in rural areas.   Once medical marijuana is legalized in a state, licensed dispensa...
JAN 25, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
JAN 25, 2020
Scientists List Several Reasons Not to Use Marijuana During Pregnancy
An estimated 16 percent of women use marijuana on a daily basis while pregnant, and a large majority of women do so without realizing the potential health...
Loading Comments...