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Study: Marijuana Use Associated With Decreased Migraine Frequency


Marijuana brain stressBy Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

Cannabis administration is associated with decreased migraine headache frequency, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Pharmacotherapy.

Investigators at the University of Colorado, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences retrospectively assessed cannabis’ effects on monthly migraine headache frequency in a group of 121 adults. Study participants had a primary diagnosis of migraine headache, had been recommended cannabis by a physicians for migraine treatment, and had participated in at least one follow up medical visit.

Authors reported that 85 percent of subjects reported a decrease in migraine frequency and 12 percent indicated that the use of cannabis prior to migraine onset would abort headaches.

“Migraine headache frequency decreased from 10.4 to 4.6 headache per month with the use of medical marijuana,” researchers concluded. “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 potential long-term effects of medical marijuana.”

Although case reports have previously documented the effect of cannabinoids for migraine relief, no prospective trials have yet to evaluate cannabis use in migraine patients. Nonetheless, scientists for some time have theorized that cannabinoids may play a role in migraine regulation. Writing in 2007 in the European Journal of Critical Pharmacology, Italian researchers reported that patients with chronic migraines possessed significantly lower levels of the endogenous cannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG) in their platelets compared to age-matched controls. “These data support the potential involvement of a dysfunctioning of the endocannabinoid and serotonergic systems in the pathology of chronic migraine and medication-overuse headaches,” authors concluded.

The abstract of the study, “Effects of medical marijuana on migraine headache frequency in an adult population,” appears online here.

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Johnny Green


  1. According to studies of both medications, Medical Marijuana is FAR more effective for treating migraines than Botox is, reducing the number of Migraines by 50%, whereas Botox only reduced the number of Migraines by 13%

  2. Lucy C Hankins on

    Of Course I’ve been a chronic daily migraine sufferer for decades. I started smoking weed over a year ago. Now, I’m off over 80% of the awful pills. I have my life back….the first time since 1974 since I’ve felt painfree.
    I want it Legalized!

  3. saynotohypocrisy on

    Obama and Congress, you need to pay attention. Stop making the dastardly claim that cannabis is not medicine

  4. Shelly Conrad Ray on

    Hi, I have had them since age 22. Use to last avg. 3 hrs. then 3 days after age 40. Nobody said ANYTHING about Imitrex until I found a pamphlet in a G.P.’s office of another brand than my insurance carried- leading me to the Imitrex. It would take me to the regular headache level only that lasted until the next day when I’d have to take it again-down to regular headache again;All taking place for 3 days due to perimenopause and more intense hormone switching. Even progesterone to less estrogen steep switching down didn’t help. Second day of the first two of the three days again and although have a.m. taken Imitrex, no solid regular headache in between! I had just started the cbd oil starting out at 10mg/day so far and needing to titrate up a little more. Yeah CBD extract!;After 30 yrs of misery. May titrate up more, but insurance doesn’t pay for cbd extract/tincture or high cbd medical marijuana for that matter Dang it ALL.

  5. As a long time sever migraine sufferer I believe that cannabis DOES help, significantly! I have suffered from migraines since about age 5. I used cannabis from about age 18-28 and had almost no migraines. From age 29-51 the severe and frequent migraines returned. Once again I am using it sparingly (daily very low dose vaporization) and have been migraine free for the past 3 years. Just for the curious I stopped for ~22 years because of my profession, not wanting to bring shame to my family and partially justifying it because of the unjust laws ….. silly me!

  6. For years I had a job with VERY supervised testing, so didn’t use MMJ. I had frequent migraines. As of 6 yrs ago, I retired and began using for glaucoma. I haven’t had a migraine since. Coincidence? Perhaps. One anecdote doesn’t equal much of anything. But I’m going to continue using for glaucoma and continue to hope for the same coincidences!

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