Study: Medical cannabis for chronic headaches

July 15, 2020

More than 300 out of 1000 people suffer from recurring tension headaches. About 150 out of every 1000 people complain about migraine headaches and one or two out of every 1000 people complain about cluster headaches, although women are slightly more likely to suffer from chronic headaches than men.

For the majority of people affected, headache attacks mean the interruption of their normal daily routine. In severe cases, headaches can last for several days. Accompanying symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, hypersensitivity to noise as well as photophobia are additional stress factors.

In acute cases, painkillers and migraine medications can provide relief, but these can sometimes cause considerable side effects.

Various studies suggest that medical cannabis could be a treatment option with fewer side effects. Researchers think that a clinical lack of endocannabinoids might be a cause of different diseases like migraines. It is also known from various reports that medical cannabis and freely available CBD oil for chronic pain can reduce symptoms in acute cases. However, research here is still in its infancy.

Results of the study

That the treatment of chronic headaches could be promising is shown by a small study conducted at Thomas Jefferson University and presented at the virtual annual meeting of the US Headache Society.

48 patients with migraine or other chronic headache types participated in this study. They received treatment with medical cannabis in inhaled or oral form between January and September 2019. A telephone follow-up questionnaire was completed by 28 participants.

The results show that 3 of the 28 participants had stopped cannabis therapy. Before starting therapy, 46.4 percent of the participants took pain medication for at least ten days per month. This rate decreased to 25 percent during cannabis treatment.

In addition, it was reported that the use of cannabis reduced anxiety in 57.1 percent of the participants and 78.6 percent reported an improvement in sleep. On a scale of 10, the participants were asked to rate how useful they felt cannabis therapy was. Here the average score was 5.9 points. 17.9 percent rated the usefulness with a 10.


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