Migraine is an extremely prevalent neurological disease that affects 39 million men, women and children in the U.S. and 1 billion worldwide. In fact, migraine is the 3rd most prevalent illness in the world and nearly one in four households include someone suffering from migraine headaches.
Despite the prevalence of this illness, most people don’t realize how debilitating migraine headaches can be.
Migraine is one of the top illness in the world
Migraine is the 6th most debilitating illness in the world. More than 90 percent of migraine headache sufferers are unable to work or function normally during an episode. Additionally, while most sufferers experience attacks once or twice a month, more than four million people have chronic migraine headaches, amounting to 15 days of migraines every month.
The symptoms associated with migraine headaches are often misunderstood as well. During an episode, a person will often experience one or more symptoms including visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell, and tingling or numbness in the extremities or face.
There is no cure for migraine headaches. Those living with this illness are often advised to avoid migraine triggers like stress, alcohol, caffeine and sleep deprivation. Additionally, while medicines can’t be used to cure the illness, they can be used to treat the symptoms. Migraine sufferers often take over the counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, but doctors can also prescribe an antipsychotic medication.
However, while various medications can help mitigate the symptoms of a migraine, these medications may also come with concerning side effects. For this reason, many are turning toward more natural solutions like cannabidiol. CBD works by interacting with cells in both the brain and nervous system to limit pain sensations. The substance is believed to limit inflammation within the body, which can help reduce pain.
Although research on the effectiveness of CBD oil in treating migraines is limited, some laboratory studies suggest cannabis might be effective in treating headache disorders. Additionally, several studies have found it effective in treating forms of chronic and acute pain. Here are three studies exploring the use of cannabis in alleviating migraine headaches.
The Use of Cannabis for Headache Disorders
In 2017, the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research journal released a study looking at the use of oral cannabis in treating headaches. The report details a study of 26 people who experienced medication overuse headaches. Over the course of six months, the subjects took either ibuprofen or nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid mimicking tetrahydrocannabinol. Each combination was used for eight weeks at a time and the subject took eight-week breaks in between the two combinations.
According to the report, while both substances showed symptom improvement, nabilone was significantly more effective than ibuprofen in reducing pain intensity, analgesic intake, and medication dependence, as well as in improving quality of life. Overall, the report indicates that while placebo-controlled clinical trials are still necessary to fully determine the effectiveness of cannabis in treating headaches, it appears likely that cannabis will emerge as a potential treatment for some headache sufferers.
Effects of Medical Marijuana on Migraine Headache Frequency in an Adult Population
A 2016 study in the journal of Pharmacotherapy examined the effectiveness of medical marijuana in treating migraines. The study involved 121 adults diagnosed with migraine headaches who were recommended migraine treatment or prophylaxis with medical marijuana by a physician, between January 2010 and September 2014. Patients in the study consumed medical marijuana both orally and by inhaling the substance.
According to the study, the use of medical marijuana lead to a decrease in the frequency of migraine headaches for some subjects. Forty-eight of the patients reported positive effects including fewer headaches and headaches lasting less time. Fourteen patients report negative effects including drowsiness.
The report concluded that additional studies should be conducted to explore a cause-and-effect relationship between medical marijuana and migraines. Additionally, researchers called for more research into the use of different strains, formulations, and doses of marijuana to better understand the effects of medical marijuana on migraine headache treatment and prophylaxis.
Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain
A 2008 article in the journal of Clinical Therapeutics and Risk Management, looked at clinical trials employing cannabinoids in pain treatment. The article examined several studies done across a number of years.
One looked at the impact of Cannador, a cannabis extract administered in oral capsules, on 30 post-operative pain subjects. The subjects used Cannador in place of opiates and found slight benefits. Another study in the report looked at the use of Sativa, which contains CBD. According to the article, Sativa has demonstrated pain relief outcomes in more than 2000 experimental subjects.
Like the other articles in this list, this report concluded that more research is necessary to determine whether cannabinoid analgesics will become mainstream. However, given the many demonstrated positive benefits of these substances, the article concludes that the the future for cannabinoid therapeutics appears very bright.
These reports indicate the power of CBD oil as a source of pain relief. In particular, they demonstrate the potential effectiveness of CBD in easing the symptoms of hard-to-treat illnesses like migraine headaches. Illnesses like migraine often leave sufferers dependent on over-the-counter or prescription painkillers that can wreak havoc on their bodies. However, the studies described here show how CBD can be used as an alternative that potentially has fewer negative side effects.
Before starting a CBD regimen for migraine headaches, you should consult your doctor to determine whether CBD is right for you. Individuals new to CBD should also take their time in determining the correct dosage and which method of CBD absorption works best for them.