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Medical Marijuana May Help Ease Headache and Migraine Pain

“We found that self-reported headache and migraine severity were reduced by nearly 50% from before to after cannabis use.”

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Do you have a chronic headache? Are you a migraine sufferer? If so, medical marijuana may come to your rescue.

A study published in the Journal of Pain has found that medical marijuana can help treat headaches and migraines.

The study looked at the data collected from a Canadian phone app from more than 700 migraine sufferers and 1,300 headache sufferers who reported an improvement in pain after using medical marijuana.

Study author Carrie Cuttler said, “We found that self-reported headache and migraine severity were reduced by nearly 50% from before to after cannabis use.”

However, there were a lot of unanswered questions. For instance, it was unclear whether cannabis was a better option at reducing headache than conventional medications. Cuttler explained, “We didn’t directly compare cannabis to conventional treatments so we don’t know if it is more or less effective.”

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Also, it was unclear what particular compound in cannabis might be reducing the pain. The researchers said they were not sure whether how much tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD) helped ease the pain.

Cannabis contains THC, which is a psychostimulant compound that gets you high, and CBD, which is not a psychostimulant compound. They are the most commonly studied ingredients in marijuana.

Cuttler said, “It could be one of the other 100-plus phytocannabinoids in the cannabis plant,” adding, “there is simply not enough research on these other constituents to know right now.”

The author went on to say, “At the same time, I have always wondered whether cannabis simply reduces the emotional distress surrounding and exacerbating the pain, which makes the pain more bearable/tolerable. In other words, perhaps cannabis makes people care less about the pain?”

The study failed to address this possibility.

Cuttler noted, “We did, however, find that cannabis was not associated with medication overuse headache, which is a common pitfall of more conventional treatments.”

She also noted, “We didn’t find any evidence that higher doses were more, or less, effective than lower doses, which might suggest that micro-dosing could be sufficient for some people.” However, she described medical marijuana use as “fairly well-tolerated.”

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