Inhaled cannabis lowers self-reported headache severity by 47.3% and migraine intensity by 49.6%, according to a current study led by Carrie Cuttler, a Washington State University assistant teacher of psychology.

The research study, published online recently in the Journal of Pain, is the very first to use big information from headache and migraine clients using cannabis in real time. Previous studies have asked clients to recall the result of cannabis usage in the past. There has been one clinical trial indicating that marijuana was much better than ibuprofen in reducing headache, but it used nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid drug.

“We were motivated to do this study because a substantial number of people say they use cannabis for headache and migraine, but surprisingly few studies had addressed the topic,” said Cuttler, the lead author on the paper.

In the WSU study, researchers examined archival data from the Strainprint app, which permits patients to track symptoms prior to and after utilizing medical marijuana purchased from Canadian producers and distributors. The information was sent by more than 1,300 clients who used the app over 12,200 times to track changes in headache from before to after cannabis use, and another 653 who used the app more than 7,400 times to track modifications in migraine seriousness.

“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,” Cuttler said. “These are also very big data, so we can more appropriately and accurately generalize to the greater population of patients using cannabis to manage these conditions.”

Cuttler and her coworkers saw no proof that marijuana triggered “overuse headache,” a risk of more traditional treatments which can make clients’ headaches even worse in time. Nevertheless, they did see patients utilizing bigger doses of marijuana in time, prosecuting they might be developing tolerance to the drug.

The research study discovered a small gender difference with significantly more sessions involving headache decrease reported by guys (90.0%) than by females (89.1%). The scientists likewise kept in mind that marijuana concentrates, such as cannabis oil, produced a bigger decrease in headache seriousness ratings than cannabis flower.

There was, however, no significant distinction in pain decrease among marijuana strains that were greater or lower in levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), two of the most commonly studied chemical constituents in marijuana, also called cannabinoids. Since cannabis is made up of over 100 cannabinoids, this finding suggests that various cannabinoids or other constituents like terpenes may play the central role in headache and migraine relief.

More research study is needed, and Cuttler acknowledges the constraints of the Strainprint study because it counts on a self-selected group of individuals who may already prepare for that marijuana will work to reduce their symptoms, and it was not possible to utilize a placebo control group.

“I suspect there are some slight overestimates of effectiveness,” said Cuttler. “My hope is that this research will motivate researchers to take on the difficult work of conducting placebo-controlled trials. In the meantime, this at least gives medical cannabis patients and their doctors a little more information about what they might expect from using cannabis to manage these conditions.”


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