Cannabis has been used to soothe headaches since almost the dawn of time, but there have been few studies — and certainly no scientifically rigorous ones — that verify whether it is an effective treatment.
That’s why a new trial getting underway is piquing the interest of those in the medical cannabis world.
The double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study is the first of its kind to investigate whether cannabis products, containing the cannabinoids THC and CBD, can treat acute migraines in a safe and effective way.
So far, the study at the University of California at San Diego has enrolled twenty participants who experience at least monthly migraines, but the number is set to rise to 90.
Migraines cause a throbbing pain, typically located on one side of the head that can last for hours or even days and can also cause nausea and vomiting as well as extreme sensitivity to light and sound.
Current migraine treatments work patchily and can stop working for some.
Neurologist Nathaniel Schuster from UCSD who is involved in the trial says that many patients who suffer from migraines are self-administering various treatments, including cannabis, without discussing their doctor.
In this new research, the team is treating four types of migraines with four different treatments: THC, CBD, a combination, and a placebo. The study participants will use a vaporizer, which it is thought may be more effective for those patients who have nausea or gastrointestinal issues with their migraines.
To qualify for the study, patients must be 21-65-years-old, and not be regular cannabis or opioid users.
A survey in 2020 found over 86 percent of patients with headaches and migraines reporting an improvement in their symptoms after using CND and other recent California surveys suggest up to 10 percent of those with headache disorders are turning to the plant for relief.
Most of what is known is anecdotal or from uncontrolled studies however, while the new study will hold much more weight because of its robust design.