Migraine headaches affect 13% of the population in the U.S. Thirty-eight million people suffer the impact of this chronic disorder, with women making up 85%. Migraines are the 3rd most common illness in the world and are responsible for healthcare and lost productivity costs totaling an approximate $36 billion annually.
At a whole different level than a bad headache, migraines cause a throbbing, relentless pain in the front or side of the head, along with debilitating side effects such as impaired vision, lights or auras in eyesight, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting, and extreme fatigue. Migraines are treated with medication as a preventative measure or to relieve pain, working well for some people and not others. Sometimes the medications cause more harm than good, with long-term implications including liver and kidney damage.
Cannabis is a Safer Treatment for Migraine Relief
Searching for a safer, more natural alternative, more and more people are finding relief in marijuana. Participants in a recent study were treated with a combination of the cannabinoids THC and CBD in two phases. During the initial phase, various dosages of THC and CBD were administered to determine the most effective levels to treat migraines. At 200mg of THC and CBD daily for three months, a 55% decrease in pain was achieved. During the second phase of testing, participants were divided into two groups. One group received THC/CBD supplements, while the other took 25mg of amitriptyline, an antidepressant and conventional migraine treatment. The cannabinoid therapy outperformed the traditional antidepressant in both reducing frequency and pain of migraines. For cluster headache patients, treatment was only effective if they had experienced migraines earlier in life.
Prior to this, researchers at Colorado State University conducted similar tests on 121 participants who also verified a significant reduction in the frequency of headaches for those using marijuana for migraines daily. An additional survey conducted by Care by Design, a cannabis company, included more than 600 individuals. Once again, CBD-rich cannabis was remarkably effective at treating headaches and migraines.
There is obviously strong potential in the future of medical marijuana as a migraine treatment. Safe, natural, and without the side effects of conventional medications, the benefits are both immediate and ongoing. As legalization continues to spread across the country, further research will lead to more people discovering the advantages of using marijuana for migraines.