Marijuana can be used to effectively treat people suffering from migraine headaches, new research has found.
In the study, patients diagnosed with migraine headaches saw a significant drop in their frequency when treated with medical marijuana.
The study, published in the journal Pharmacotherapy, examined patients diagnosed with migraines and treated with medical marijuana between 2010-2014.
It found the frequency of migraines dropped from 10.4 to 4.6 headaches per month, a number considered statistically and clinically significant.
Of the 121 patients studied, 103 reported a decrease in monthly migraines while 15 reported the same number and three saw an increase in migraines.
“There was a substantial improvement for patients in their ability to function and feel better,” said the study’s senior author Laura Borgelt from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in the US.
“Like any drug, marijuana has potential benefits and potential risks. It is important for people to be aware that using medical marijuana can also have adverse effects,” Borgelt cautioned.
Borgelt said cannabinoid receptors can be found throughout the body, including the brain, connective tissues and immune system. And they appear to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
Cannabinoids are a group of active compounds found in marijuana.
These cannabinoids also seem to affect critical neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
“We believe serotonin plays a role in migraine headaches, but we are still working to discover the exact role of cannabinoids in this condition,” Borgelt said.
The study is one of the first to reveal a drop in migraine frequency due to medical marijuana.
Borgelt said the results were quite remarkable but stressed the need for more controlled studies in the future.