This study is one of the first to reveal that migraine headache frequency is decreased in patients with medical marijuana. The difference in frequency between the initial and follow-up visit was statistically significant. Furthermore, 90% of patients used marijuana for both treatment and prophylaxis of migraines.
All patients were recorded as using marijuana daily for migraine headache prevention. Inhaled forms of marijuana (joint/vape) were commonly used for acute migraine treatment and were reported to abort migraine headache.
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Overall, more positive than negative effects were reported with medical marijuana use. Edible marijuana was reported to cause more negative effects compared with other forms. Further research should be performed to determine if there is a preferred delivery method, dose, and strain of medical marijuana for migraine headache therapy as well as the potential long-term effects of medical marijuana.
As no clinical trials were previously published on the effects of marijuana on patients with migraine headache, these researches set out to collect data. The reason for interest was the potential effects of cannabinoids on serotonin in the central nervous system (CNS). This effect suggests marijuana may be a medical alternative to conventional migraine treatments.
The patients of the study included one hundred twenty-one adults with the primary diagnosis of migraine headache. Between January 2010 and September 2014, they were all recommended migraine treatment or prophylaxis with medical marijuana by their physician. They also all had at least one follow-up visit.
With the use of medical marijuana, migraine headache frequency decreased from 10.4 to 4.6 headaches per month. 48 patients reported positive effects. The most common reported positive effects were prevention of migraine headache and decreased frequency of migraine headache. Patients used inhaled forms of marijuana. The medical marijuana was commonly used for acute migraine treatment and was reported to abort migraine headache.
14 of the patients reported adverse or negative side effects. The most common negative effects were drowsiness and difficulty controlling the effects of marijuana related to timing and dosage. These effects were experienced only in patients using edible marijuana.
Migraine headache frequency was decreased with medical marijuana with little to no adverse reactions. To better understand the effects of medical marijuana on migraine headache treatment, further studies are required to explore the use of different strains, formulations, and doses of marijuana.