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Study Proves Effectiveness of Marijuana For Migraines

Dime Bags Blog - Marijuana for Migraines Blog - photo by David Garrison

Marijuana is used to treat a growing number of conditions, and many of those using it will tell you that they have had great results. In spite of a significant amount of anecdotal evidence about the benefits of marijuana, many of these claims have yet to be substantiated with proper studies. This was the case with patients stating that marijuana was an effective treatment for migraines. In spite of a growing number of people stating that they received relief superior to that of over-the-counter medication, few studies existed on the subject.

A small team at Washington State University decided that it was time to correct this by performing a study specifically aimed at determining the effectiveness of marijuana on migraines. The lead author on the paper, Carrie Cuttler, stated that while there was a substantial number of people, “surprisingly few studies” had addressed it. A central part of the study performed by this team was the Strainprint app, a tool that allowed users to report the status of their symptoms before and after treatment.

One thousand three hundred patients reported changes in headache severity 12,200 times, and 653 reported 7,400 regarding changes in the severity of their migraines. Their study was conducted in an “ecologically valid way” as well, focusing directly on whole-plant cannabis in their typical environments, such as their homes. One issue that often plagues traditional headache and migraine patients is a condition known as ‘rebound headaches’ or ‘overuse headaches.’ Their study revealed that there was no evidence could be found of marijuana use caused these effects in patients.

There was a trend of patients increasing their dosage over time, which could indicate that tolerance was being developed. There also seemed to be a small but significant difference in experience between the genders as well. Women reported headache reduction in symptoms 89.1% of the time, while men reported benefits 90% of the time. There were also greater effects reported in those using concentrates over the flower.

Curiously, reduction in headache severity didn’t seem to demonstrate a significant difference based on strain. Neither CBD or THC level variances seemed to have any effect at all. These are the two most commonly researched cannabinoids, suggesting that it is some other part of marijuana’s composition is responsible. Considering that these are only two of well over 100 cannabinoids known to appear in the plant, research into these other substances is a viable path.

While good information was collected from this study, the study did contain certain handicaps. Specifically, the information used to produce the results was collected from people who anticipated relief from their headaches with marijuana. This means that there’s a distinct possibility of the effectiveness of the plant in this form of pain being overstated, or being bolstered by the placebo effect. That aside, the results are highly suggestive of the necessity for placebo-controlled trials. We’re excited to see what studies like these will produce in the future, and what new medical wonders will be revealed as marijuana continues to be studied.

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