Marijuana May Lower Migraine Frequency

First Posted: Jan 18, 2016 07:43 PM EST

Can marijuana help lower the frequency of migraines?

New findings published in the journal Pharmacotherapy showed that patients who were treated with medical marijuana between Jan. 2010 and Sept. 2014 had a drop in their frequency of migraines from 10.4 to 4.6 headaches per month.

"There was a substantial improvement for patients in their ability to function and feel better," said the study's senior author Professor Laura Borgelt, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS, in a news release. "Like any drug, marijuana has potential benefits and potential risks. It's important for people to be aware that using medical marijuana can also have adverse effects."

During the study, 103 of 121 patients involved reported a decrease in monthly migraines, while 15 reported the same number and another three saw an increase in migraines. Researchers specifically looked at charts of patients treated at Gedde Whole Health--a private medical practice in Colorado that uses marijuana to treat certain conditions.

Findings revealed that marijuana was a favorite for treating acute migraines while edible cannabis typically took longer to impact the body and help prevent headaches.

At this time, just how cannabis helps relieve migraines is not fully understood; researchers believe it may have something to do with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties that affect critical neurotransmitters including serotonin and dopamine.

While the study results are promising, researchers need to complete more controlled studies for the future.

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