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Migraines and other headache disorders affect many people with symptoms that are often debilitating, causing not only pain, but nausea, and an overall lower quality of life. Headache disorders are found to be prevalent in females over males, and are often time resistant to medications showing an increase in onset as well as intensity over time.
Though there is a lack in actual clinical research specifically dealing with cannabis use to treat headache disorders, other research has shown that there is a promising correlation between cannabis use and migraine treatment. Individuals suffering from tension headaches reported a notable decrease not only in onset of headaches, but also intensity and shorter lifespan and duration of the headache.
Clinical studies for other conditions using cannabis and cannabinoids have showed success in treatment of “neuropathic/chronic pain, spasticity, and nausea. These three conditions are associated mechanistically and qualitatively with the experience of headache and… it is plausible that their efficacy will carry over in the treatment of headache disorders as well”.
In a study conducted by nine California clinics for treatment of migraines and headaches, 40.7% of patients reported therapeutic benefits to medical marijuana. “One retrospective study described 121 patients who received cannabis for migraine treatment, among whom 85.1% of these patients reported reduction in migraine frequency. The men number of migraines at the initial visit was 10.4, falling to 4.6 at follow-up visits after cannabis treatment.”
It is believed that cannabis may be an effective treatment for headache disorders is an over activating force followed by a depression in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), or an underlying endocannabinoid deficiency. The symptoms associated with this, is an inflammation or a “Dural vascular dilation”, which constricts the neural blood vessels, which are most often responsible for the symptoms associated with migraines. Targeting the ECS, can alleviate the misfiring or deficiencies within the cannabinoid receptors, leading to a potential treatment for headaches.can.2016.0033 (1)