Cannabinoids overall are likely to be helpful for headache sufferers due to their ability to penetrate the part of the brain involved in migraine pathophysiology.
Did you know that 23 million Americans suffer from severe migraine headaches, and 25% have four or more episodes per month?
In fact, this epidemic costs businesses between 1.2 billion to 17.2 billion dollars annually, through lost productivity and sick time.
But can cannabis provide relief?
Though the United States classifies medical cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug (meaning it has the high potential for abuse and has no accepted medical use and lack of safety for use under medical supervision), there have been numerous case studies surrounding the use of medical cannabis for headaches. And it would be a natural derivation of those studies to at least consider CBD oil, another closely related cannabinoid.
For example, one woman with a rare type of headache was presented in Headache Magazine in the 2004 Journal For Headache Medicine. She had a history of pseudotumor cerebri, which is a very uncomfortable splitting headache, associated sometimes with obesity and high pressures within the spinal cord fluid.
This woman experienced resolution of her headache within five minutes of smoking cannabis. Though anecdotal, case studies such as this suggest further evaluation be considered for headache sufferers.
Cannabinoids overall are likely to be helpful for headache sufferers due to their ability to penetrate the part of the brain involved in migraine pathophysiology, offering migraine sufferers with endocannabinoid (naturally appearing pain modulators) deficiency or receptor activation dysfunction possible relief. (If you’re suffering with headaches or migraines, you may want to read that sentence a few more times, because it offers HOPE.)
While also being entwined with the central nervous system’s serotonin, the endocannabinoid system mechanism of action can be similar to drugs already in use for migraine sufferers such as triptans, like Sumatriptan, Imitrex, Maxalt and Amerge which act through serotonin activation.
Cannabis has been found to be most effective in treating patients with:
- Anxiety (prior to the onset of migraines)
- Migraines concurrent with fibromyalgia
- Endocannabinoid deficiency in pain disorders
- Variation with the CNR1 gene
- Female migraine sufferers due to the accelerated degradation fo endocannabinoids
WHY DO WE CARE? Look, current migraine medications fall far short, whether from side effects, failed response to triptans, or simple intolerance to the medications.
In these situations it is perfectly reasonable to consider an alternative treatment with the use of medical cannabis or even CBD.
When medications have failed, a patient’s medical team might want to consider cannabis or CBD.
These might very well present a logical alternative therapy to finding relief.