People regularly experiencing migraine would know that it bring a unique challenge in life. Even seemingly harmless sensory stimuli such as bright light, strong aromas, or loud noise, can trigger unbearable pain. This intense pain can be accompanied by nausea, a loss of sensation, or alarming visual changes. The disruption associated with chronic migraines can be so constant it can even erode a person’s sense of self.
Although commonly prescribed drugs for preventing and treating migraines can help some individuals, they don’t give relief for all the migraineurs. Similar to various heavy-hitting medications, a host of unwanted side effects might ensue with use. However, there has been evidence that the use of medicinal cannabis can be an effective treatment for migraines & chronic headaches.
Cannabis is basically a plant with leaves & flowering top, which contains at least 489 distinct compounds across 18 different chemical classes. Two of the best-known compounds are THC and cannabidiol (CBD).
In this article, we will look at the evidence for medicinal cannabis in the treatment of migraine. But before that, let’s have a look at what medicinal cannabis is.
Medicinal cannabis is a regulated & controlled formulation that typically includes pure or crossbreed of hybrid strains. This formulation is done to achieve a consistent and standardized ratio of CBD and THC.
The balance of these chemical compounds may vary depending upon the desired quality of the treatment and the condition of the patient. The science behind creating the optimal composition of cannabis-based chemical compounds is to deliver the best therapeutic effects in its infancy. Medicinal cannabis has tremendous potential for research to develop more effective treatments with fewer side effects.
The substance classification of cannabis has significantly restricted large scale research investigations. Large scale randomized & placebo-controlled studies are required to prove the clinical observations and initial findings. The current classification of cannabis makes this extremely difficult. As a result, the evidence for medicinal cannabis for migraine treatment is limited to a number of smaller anecdotal reports, case studies & surveys.
One of the prominent studies was in the year 2016 in Colorado, where 121 migraine patients who were recommended & prescribed medicinal cannabis were reviewed. This study found that over 85% of the patients reported a certain level of decrease in their monthly migraine attack’s frequency. A significant fall from 10 to around 5 attacks on an average per month was observed.
Apart from this, there have been larger, high-quality studies conducted to find the efficacy of medical cannabis for migraine or chronic pain in general. Studies have shown that medicinal cannabis & cannabinoid extract increases pain thresholds and provides pain relief. In a review of 38 published randomized controlled trials, about 71% of them found that cannabinoids demonstrated a significant pain-relieving effect.
In the same study, 91% of the patients were using medicinal cannabis as both an acute and as a preventative treatment for migraine.
There are good chances of new medicines based on cannabis plant-derived cannabinoids being developed in the near future. These medicines might be more effective in targeting specific diseases or symptoms, and all this with fewer side effects.
However, to discover these potential new treatments, many more studies and researches are required. Fortunately, research is on the increase. Though, researchers are still only in the infancy of understanding all the functions within the cannabis plant & its potential.
Therefore, this plant holds promise to deliver a whole new class of treatments across a wide range of diseases, chronic disorders, and their symptoms. Hence, medicinal cannabis presents an exciting new frontier for medical scientists & researchers that will ultimately benefit the patient!
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