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Medical cannabis has come a long way. First used in the early 90s to help treat diseases like cancer and HIV/AIDS, cannabis and its concentrates are now finding a home in medicine cabinets of people dealing with everything from arthritis to PTSD. Recently, much discussion has circled around the potential benefits of cannabinoids to treat chronic headaches and migraines.

In fact, as these conditions have become ubiquitous, there has been a surge in the number of products – from pills to balms – that purport to ease the uncomfortable symptoms of headaches and migraines. Many patients still have trouble deriving complete relief from these options, and more people are turning to cannabis as an appropriate adjunct therapy for this issue.

While the science is thin and the jury is still out on whether there is a real and concrete connection here, a number of studies have revealed some promise. The University of Colorado found that, of 121 people dealing with regular headaches, roughly 40 percent were able to halve those attacks using medical cannabis. Much of the anecdotal evidence around the topic points to a similar conclusion.1

Even patients who have initially been reluctant to try cannabinoid therapy in answer to headaches and migraines have started to register positive feedback. The Association of Migraine Disorders recently documented one person’s uphill battle with a chronic migraine issue that was remedied by the introduction of a vaporizer and flower cannabis. These stories certainly stretch beyond the realm of lore, and have been recounted time and time again.2

Treating Headaches and Migraines with Medical Cannabis
Over the last 20 years, as opioids have become a choice prescription for sufferers of chronic and acute pain, iatrogenic addiction – a type of addiction precipitated by a prescription-based substance – has spread like wildfire. The opioid epidemic has flexed its icy grip on the spirits of myriad North Americans, and the tide has started to turn as people seek alternative therapies.

Medical cannabis has been chief among those options, specifically over the last half-decade. While the notion that the herb may well benefit a strong majority of people who deal with headaches and migraines is clinically novel, the discussion is assuredly being illuminated by positive reports across the planet.

And perhaps for good reason. Treating these conditions with medical cannabis has been practiced for centuries. According to manuscripts from Mesopotamia dating back to the second millennium BCE, cannabis was noted to help, “bind the temples.” Pioneers of modern neurology also wrote about its benefits in the 19th and 20th Centuries.3 

More literature has emerged in the past two years that has brought to light the potential benefits of medical cannabis to treat headaches and migraines. In 2017, researchers found that, though placebo-controlled clinical trials were still needed to affirm evidence, the likelihood of cannabis emerging as a potential treatment for some sufferers was very high.4 

  1. "Medical marijuana and CBD oils for migraines." https://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/under-counter-treatment-migraines#1
  2. "Medical marijuana and migraine." https://migrainedisorders.org/node/1194
  3. "Everything you need to know about using weed for headaches." https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/j5a4by/everything-you-need-to-know-about-using-weed-for-headaches
  4. "The use of cannabis or headache disorders." https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/can.2016.0033

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