If you suffer from migraines or know someone who does, you’ll be familiar with the particular brand of debilitating pain that sets this type of headache apart from ordinary headaches. It might even be so strong that you have no choice but to put your life on hold until it passes. You might think that nothing works to help abate this excruciating pain. It’s true that migraines can be difficult to treat, but are you sure you’ve tried everything?
One often-overlooked treatment for migraines has just been shown in a study to work even better than migraine drugs: Cannabinoids. A study found that pills that contain these chemicals can reduce migraine pain by as much as 43.5 percent. Not only did it alleviate migraines, but it also helped curb stomach aches and muscle pain.
The study looked at 79 people who regularly suffer from cluster headaches and migraines. Some participants were given oral doses of two cannabis compounds each day for three months. The first compound, THC, is known for creating the psychological effects of cannabis, while the second compound, cannabidiol (CBD) has several therapeutic benefits including its antioxidant ability. The pills contained 200mg of the THC-CBD drug.
Other participants were given 25mg of amitriptyline, which is an antidepressant that is routinely prescribed to migraine patients.
The researchers discovered that the THC-CBD drug reduced the quantity and severity of both migraines and cluster headache attacks better than the medication. However, when it comes to those with cluster headaches, the cannabinoids might only benefit those patients who have been getting migraines since childhood.
The results are very promising because the current treatment of amitriptyline leaves a lot to be desired. It might help some migraine sufferers, but weight gain and drowsiness are common side effects, making it an unrealistic choice for many people. Even more concerning, it has been linked to sudden death.
Growing body of evidence supporting effects of cannabis on migraines
Past research has shown that cannabis can help migraines thanks to its ability to target the cells
in the body that are responsible for controlling inflammation and relieving pain. A study that was published in the medical journal Pharmacotherapy discovered that marijuana treatment led to fewer and less frequent migraines, while 100 percent of the participants in a Care by Design survey noted dramatic drops in discomfort and pain following medical cannabis use.
A migraine is so much more than a really bad headache; it often involves severe and throbbing pain that strikes one or both sides of a person’s head for anywhere from four to 72 hours. The pain is often paired with symptoms like nausea, dizziness, sensitivity to light, numbness or tingling of the extremities or face, and even vomiting.
Cluster headaches, meanwhile, are short but quite painful headaches that strike suddenly, sometimes occurring a few times a day. The pain is usually confined to just one side of the head, typically around an eye.
Other natural ways to alleviate this common ailment
The Migraine Research Foundation says that migraines are the third most common illness in the world and the sixth most disabling one. Affecting 18 percent of American women, six percent of men and 10 percent of children, more than four million adults in our country suffer chronic daily migraines.
It is hoped that studies like this one will lead to safer migraine treatments. However, there are several other natural ways that help alleviate migraine pain that your can try. While the success of the various options often depends on the individual, some people have reported getting relief from massage therapy, acupuncture, tai chi, yoga, and biofeedback.