Migraine And Cannabis Use
Migraine is a severe headache that lasts for hours or days, often accompanied by disturbance of vision and nausea and vomiting. The attacks usually re-occur and can be brought on by stress, certain types of food, bright lights, loud noise and even strong smells. About 20 % of the popluation has experienced a migraine attack and women are more likely to experience them. A person’s first attack usually happens before age 20, and rarely after age 50.
Drugs can either be used to prevent long-term re-occurance, to cut short attacks, or for pain relief once an attack has started. 10-20 % of sufferers get no relief from these drugs and many more get incomplete relief or suffer serious side effects. Cannabis was highly regarded as a treatment for migraine in the 19th century. Dr J.B. Mattison wrote in 1891 that the treating migraine was the most important use of cannabis. Reviewing his own and earlier physicians’ experiences, he concluded that cannabis not only blocks the pain, but prevents attacks.
In 1913 William Osler expressed his agreement, saying that cannabis was probably the most satisfactory remedy for migraine. Yet there is no mention of the effect of cannabis on migraine in 20th century medical literature. Individuals have experimented with cannabis however. They report that smoking a little amount of cannabis just as the early-warning signs of an attack (such as flickering vision) appear will prevent the attack from continuing. This may just be another analgesic effect of cannabis (combined with its anti-nausea effect), or it may be actually effecting the unknown biochemistry of migraine in some manner.
Patient’s Testimony 1
The testimony of Carol Miller is particularly revealing because all the women in her family suffer from migraine. Carol has been controlling her migraines for 18 years with cannabis…..Read More
Patient’s Testimony 2
UKCIA member Terwur suffers from classical migraine. In this account he explains that cannabis aborts his attacks, without the side-effect of getting “stoned”…… ” I have suffered from classical migraine for the last 15 years, since I was 14. The symptoms include profound visual disturbances… Read More
Migraine attacks may be related to the neurotransmitter serotonin. In 1985 Volfe et al. reported that THC inhibited the release of serotonin from the blood of migraine sufferers during an attack (but not at other times). This could be a clue to future research, which is obviously needed.