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Meds Migraines


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Research Finds Cannabis-Based Medication Successful in Treating Migraines

Research on the extraordinary properties and medical benefits of cannabis is taking off. Yet another study has confirmed that cannabinoids are more effective in reducing the frequency of acute migraine headache pain than currently prescribed medication. And, naturally, there are far fewer side effects.

The study, which included 127 participants who suffered from chronic migraine and cluster headaches, which are severe headaches that occur on one side of the head usually around one eye. Migraine pain usually affects both sides of the head and is often accompanied by sensitivity to light, visual distortions and nausea.

The researchers, who presented their findings at the 3rd Congress of the European Academy of Neurology in Amsterdam, gave study participants a cannabis-based medication that was a combination of THC and CBD.

The study, led by Dr. Maria Nicolodi and published in the European Pharmaceutical Review, was done in two phases.

In the first phase, sufferers of chronic, acute migraines were given varying doses of the THC-CBD combination. The results showed that those who received 200 mg doses each day for three months experienced significantly less pain—about 55 percent less—while lower doses did not provide the same pain relief.

The second phase included both those suffering from chronic migraines and those suffering from cluster headaches.

Migraine sufferers were given either the THC-CBD treatment or 25 milligrams of amitriptyline, an antidepressant often used to treat migraines.

The cluster headache sufferers were given either the THC-CBD treatment or 80 milligrams of verapamil, a calcium channel blocker often prescribed for cluster headaches.

The results showed that THC-CBD was slightly better at reducing the frequency of migraine attacks than the commonly prescribed medications.

The THC-CBD combination was very effective at reducing migraine pain, cutting it by 43.5 percent.

It was also effective at reducing the severity of pain among cluster headache sufferers, but only if they had a history of migraines from childhood.

The study reinforces earlier research showing that medical marijuana is effective in reducing the frequency of migraines.

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, migraine headaches are the third most prevalent illness across the globe, affecting around one billion people, making it the sixth most disabling illness in the world.

Amazingly, 12 percent of the population in the United States (more than 38 million people) suffer from migraines and that includes children, who often go undiagnosed. So, when your children complain of bad headaches, pay attention.

Nicolodi’s study is yet another research finding that confirms MMJ to be an effective and far safer alternative to prescription pain medications.

In view of the rush to prescribe opioids and other prescription drugs, which currently has millions of Americans addicted, dying from overdoses or incarcerated, isn’t it time to start looking at safe alternatives?

Cannabis Formula Just as Effective as Migraine Drug
July 03, 2017 By Pat Anson, Editor

An experimental medication made from marijuana is just as effective as a widely used pharmaceutical drug in the treatment and prevention of migraine, according to two new studies by Italian researchers.

In the first study, a research team led by Dr. Maria Nicolodi found that combining two cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), in a 200mg dose reduced acute pain by 55 percent in a group of 48 migraine sufferers. The medication, which was taken orally, contained 19% THC and 9% CBD.

In a second phase of the study, researchers then gave a group of 79 chronic migraine patients either the 200 mg THC-CBD combination or a 25mg dose of amitriptyline – a tricyclic antidepressant commonly used to treat migraine.

After three months of daily treatment, researchers found that the group taking the THC-CBD combination had a 40.4% reduction in migraine attacks, which was slightly better than the amitriptyline group (40.1%).

The cannabinoids reduced migraine pain intensity by an average of 43.5 percent. Female patients also reported a decline in stomach ache, colitis and musculoskeletal pain.

"We were able to demonstrate that cannabinoids are an alternative to established treatments in migraine prevention,” said Nicoldi, who recently presented her findings at the 3rd Congress of the European Academy of Neurology in Amsterdam.

Migraine is thought to affect a billion people worldwide and about 36 million adults in the United States, according to the American Migraine Foundation. It affects three times as many women as men. In addition to headache pain and nausea, migraine can also cause vomiting, blurriness or visual disturbances, and sensitivity to light and sound.

Previous research has also found that cannabis is effective in treating migraines. A 2016 study by the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado found that inhaled and ingested cannabis significantly reduced the number of headaches in a group of migraine sufferers. Inhalation appeared to provide the fastest results, while the edible cannabis took longer to provide pain relief.
Surviving Migraines with Cannabis

Medical marijuana can be an effective treatment for severe head pains.
Distorted vision, excruciating headache, intense nausea, extreme sensitivity to stimuli; few things are as instantly debilitating as a severe migraine.

For Pamela Hadfield, co-founder of HelloMD — an online service offering medical marijuana recommendations and advice — migraines were a lifelong problem.

“It basically felt like a bolt of lightning hit my head,” Hadfield says, recalling her first migraine. “I got very ill for a period of days, I was vomiting, I saw the aura [lights in front of your eyes that cause a loss of sight]and a pounding sensation where your head feels like it is going to explode off of your neck… It is a very uncontrollable feeling.”

What started as an occasional migraine intensified into a regular occurrence. At their worst, the migraines left her completely debilitated.

As a mother of three working full time, migraines were not only extremely painful for Hadfield, they were interfering with her life and causing constant anxiety. Her doctor’s best solution was a Vicodin prescription, which helped with the pain, but left her worrying about her own developing dependence on the drug and the sustainability of using it long term.

“I always carried a full bottle of Vicodin with me, wherever I’d go, just in case,” she says.

When new restrictions on Vicodin threatened her ability to keep using it, she knew she needed a better option.

That’s when a friend suggested cannabis.

At first, Hadfield was skeptical. Her past experiences with cannabis had been in a recreational setting and they hadn’t been particularly enjoyable. But desperate to find a solution for her migraines, she decided to give it a try.

The results have been incredible. While Hadfield hoped the cannabis use might help her deal with migraine pain, she didn’t expect that it would cure her migraines completely. But it’s been two and half years since Hadfield has had a migraine, and in that time, taking a regular dose of high-CBD cannabis is the only change she’s made to her routine.

Hadfield is not the only patient to find migraine relief from cannabis. Research suggests that cannabis use can significantly reduce migraine frequency.

In one 2016 study from “Pharmacotherapy: The Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy,” 85 percent of participants reported less migraines with the use of cannabis and average headaches per month dropped from 10.4 to 4.6.

Researchers believe there are several mechanisms that might explain cannabis’ helpful effects. First, cannabis can help reduce the body’s natural stress response — which can be a strong contributor to the onset of a migraine — and second, THC and CBD help aid in pain relief directly as potent pain-killers and anti-inflammatory agents.

THC can also aid in migraine relief by raising serotonin levels. And while the role of serotonin in migraines isn’t fully understood, migraines are potentially linked to low serotonin levels, with some suggesting that increases in those levels may help ease migraine symptoms.

But researchers also warn that taking too much THC could have negative effects, actually increasing migraine symptoms. So starting with small doses and working your way up slowly is advised.

As for Hadfield, she is now migraine and Vicodin free, but says she still carries a bottle containing the same few pills that were in it years ago when she switched to cannabis.
How Marijuana Could Help Migraine Sufferers

If you’re not sure if you’ve had a migraine, you probably haven’t. Those who suffer from the condition know a migraine is more than just a headache – it’s a multi-symptom ordeal that seriously affects a person’s quality of life.

Luckily, new research has revealed that cannabis can provide relief from the debilitating pain and nausea that accompany migraines without the side effects of prescription drugs.

How do I know if I’ve had a migraine?

Migraines usually progress through several stages. The first phase, prodrome, starts with neck stiffness and mood swings a few days beforehand. Some people experience flashes of light or vision loss, called an aura, just before the headache kicks in. The actual migraine is often marked by throbbing pain on both sides of the head, sensitivity to light and sound, vomiting, and blurred vision. This misery can last anywhere from four to 72 hours if it’s not treated. The final phase, postdrome, happens the day after a migraine and brings confusion, dizziness, and weakness.

While medication is available to soothe migraine symptoms, the drugs have unpleasant side effects such as fatigue, tightness in the chest, nausea, dizziness, and tingling or numbness in the toes. What’s more, taking these drugs too often can lead to rebound headaches which require additional medication to treat. Fortunately, prescription drugs aren’t the only option for treating migraines. It turns out that sufferers may only need to reach for the nearest joint or vape pen to find relief from the pain and nausea that accompany migraine headaches.

How marijuana alleviates migraine symptoms

The research on cannabis and migraines is limited, but the studies that have been published are promising. In 2016, an analysis of 121 adults with migraines published in the journal Pharmacotherapy found that the frequency of migraine attacks decreased from an average of 10.4 to 4.6 headaches a month with marijuana use. Another study presented in 2017 at the third Congress of the European Academy for Neurology in Amsterdam found that migraine sufferers given a daily 200mg dose of a THC-CBD drug for three months experienced 55 percent less pain.

How does it work? Research suggests that migraines could be caused by an endocannabinoid deficiency. Endocannabinoids are chemical messengers in the body responsible for regulating appetite, pain sensation, mood, and other physiological processes. Consuming marijuana may relieve migraine symptoms by replenishing the body’s natural store of endocannabinoids.

CBD, one of the active compounds in cannabis, has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. When consumed, it helps reduce pain without causing a psychoactive reaction, making it possible to squash migraine symptoms and remain alert throughout the day. On the other hand, THC, the compound in marijuana responsible for making you feel high, can provide instant relief by lessening the intensity of a migraine and reducing nausea.

Best marijuana strains for migraine relief

If you’re an experienced smoker, you know that some marijuana strains make your heart race and cause anxiety, which can actually lead to a migraine. This is obviously not the stuff you want to reach for when attempting to stop a headache in its tracks. Typically, Hybrids that offer an uplifting, yet relaxing effect provide the best relief from migraine symptoms. Strains to explore include:

  • OG Kush – best to smoke when you’re ready to wind down for the night
  • ACDC – has a low THC content, perfect if you need to get stuff done
  • Dream Queen – great for migraine suffers who experience nausea
  • Purple Kush – when you just want to knock out and sleep it off
  • Harlequin – has a balance of THC and CBD, making it relaxing but non-sedative
As always, whenever you’re trying a new marijuana strain, talk to your budtender — or your doctor — and start slowly for the best effect.
Study: Prolonged Cannabis Treatment Associated with Reduced Migraine Frequency

Haifa, Israel: Patients who engage in cannabis inhalation for extended periods of time are likely to report reductions in migraine frequency, according to clinical data published in the journal Brain Sciences.

A team of Israeli researchers assessed the impact of prolonged cannabis use (median treatment duration = three years) on the frequency of monthly migraine attacks.

The majority of subjects (61 percent) in the cohort reported a greater than 50 percent reduction in monthly migraine attacks following the initiation of cannabis therapy. Those patients who responded favorably to cannabis treatment also reported reducing their anti-migraine medication intake, particularly their use of opioids and tryptamine-based drugs.

Authors concluded, “These findings indicate that MC results in long‐term reduction of migraine frequency in >60 percent of treated patients and is associated with less disability and lower anti-migraine medication intake.”

Prior research has reported that subjects who frequently suffer from migraines possess significantly lower levels of endogenous cannabinoids as compared to matched controls.

Full text of the study, “Migraine frequency decrease following prolonged medical cannabis treatment: A cross-sectional study,” appears in Brain Sciences. Additional information on cannabis and migraines appears online.

Study Shows Cannabis Provides Relief To 9 Out Of 10 Migraine Patients

A study from researchers at the University of New Mexico has found that more than nine out of 10 migraine patients reported that inhaled cannabis provided relief for their symptoms. A report on the research, titled “Alleviative effects of cannabis flower on migraine and headache,” was published this month in the Journal of Integrative Medicine.

To conduct the study, researchers tracked the effects of inhaled herbal cannabis on the symptoms experienced by 699 migraine sufferers over a period of 32 months. Participants self-administered cannabis while at home and reported their use and its effect on symptoms via the smartphone application Releaf. The intensity of pain related to migraine or headache was measured on a scale of zero to ten prior to and immediately following cannabis consumption.

“According to the current results, cannabis flower appears to be effective at reducing headache- and migraine-related pain intensity for most people that choose to use it,” the authors of the study wrote.

“It seems possible that the use of cannabis flower, combined with other behavioral modifications, might offer some patients a natural, safer, and more effective treatment regimen, compared to the use of some conventional prescription pharmaceuticals,” they added.

The study found that 94% of participants reported relief of symptoms within two hours of cannabis inhalation. On average, study participants experienced a reduction of 3.3 points on the ten-point scale. Varieties of cannabis with a THC content of 10% or higher were found to be most effective at relieving migraine symptoms. Males tended to achieve greater relief than females, and younger participants reported greater benefit than older patients.

“These results suggest that whole dried Cannabis flower may be an effective medication for treatment of migraine- and headache-related pain, but the effectiveness differs according to characteristics of the Cannabis plant, the combustion methods, and the age and gender of the patient,” the researchers concluded.

Research Reveals More Evidence Of The Entourage Effect
Researcher Jegason Diviant, who worked on the migraine study as well as another one that used the Releaf app to track the effect of cannabis on depression, reported that many patients are experiencing better results with whole cannabis flower than those reported with refined cannabinoid formulations. The findings give further credence to the entourage effect widely associated with cannabis use.

“We are seeing very encouraging evidence that cannabis can be safe and effective for treating both depression and chronic pain,” Diviant said. “Phytocannabinoid isolates, such as THC or CBD, are less effective treatment options than whole-spectrum cannabis products. However, it is not enough to simply educate the public that whole-spectrum cannabis is superior to cannabis-derived isolates. There are thousands of cannabis strains, also known as chemotypes or chemovars, and they all have a unique phytocannabinoid and terpene profile.”

The researcher noted the wide range of effects that different varieties of cannabis can provide and urged a change in federal cannabis policy to spur more study.

“I predict that we will identify specific chemotypes that are optimal for treating various mental and physical health disorders as well as chemotypes that may be contraindicated for these disorders,” Diviant added. “This research is critical and essential for public health, and for us to properly conduct this vital research, the Schedule I classification must be lifted.”

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