By Pat Anson, PNN Editor
Nearly a third of migraine patients have tried medical marijuana or cannabinoids to relieve their pain and other symptoms, according to a large new study that found 82 percent of those who used cannabis found it effective in providing pain relief.
The study gathered data from nearly 10,000 migraine sufferers in the U.S. and Canada who use Migraine Buddy, a migraine tracking app made by Healint, a healthcare technology company based in Singapore.
“Cannabis is becoming a prominent treatment option for chronic pain patients, especially for migraineurs,” Healint CEO and co-founder Francois Cadiou said in a press release.
“With more and more states across the United States legalizing medical marijuana, migraine patients are becoming acquainted with cannabis as a natural remedy that can help alleviate migraines and even prevent them. Research about the benefits of cannabis use among migraine patients is slowly emerging, but more must be done to properly inform individuals about the use and dosage of medical marijuana to treat migraines.”
The findings are similar to a 2019 study, published in The Journal of Pain, that found inhaled cannabis cut headache and migraine severity in half. The effectiveness of cannabis diminished over time, however, as migraine patients appeared to develop a tolerance for the drug and used larger doses for pain relief.
Another recent study, published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine, reported that 94 percent of migraine sufferers who inhaled cannabis experienced symptom relief within two hours.
A major weakness of all three studies is that there was no control group or use of a placebo, and the data was self-reported by patients on mobile software apps. The Migraine Buddy app allows users to report the duration, frequency and intensity of their migraines and medication use, as well as information about sleep, diet and weather-related triggers.
About a billion people worldwide suffer from headaches caused by migraines, which affect three times as many women as men. Over 37 million people in the United States live with migraines, according to the American Migraine Foundation.
“Migraines have a debilitating impact on tens of millions of Americans and, in many cases, are poorly addressed by conventional therapies. Therefore, it is not surprising to see a significant percentage of migraine sufferers turning to cannabis as a therapeutic option. Those that do so are consistently reporting it to be safe and effective at reducing both migraine symptoms and migraine frequency,” said Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML, a marijuana advocacy group.