Study Finds Marijuana Use Associated With Reduced Migraine Frequency

Those who consume marijuana through inhalation for extended periods of time are likely to report reductions in migraine frequency. This is according to a study published in the journal Brain Sciences, and first reported on by NORML. The measure was also published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

For the study researchers from Israel examined 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”, states NORML. “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.”

The study is titled “Migraine frequency decrease following prolonged medical cannabis treatment: A cross-sectional study”.

Below is the full abstract:

Background: Medical cannabis (MC) treatment for migraine is practically emerging, although sufficient clinical data are not available for this indication. This cross-sectional questionnaire-based study aimed to investigate the associations between phytocannabinoid treatment and migraine frequency.

Methods: Participants were migraine patients licensed for MC treatment. Data included self-reported questionnaires and MC treatment features. Patients were retrospectively classified as responders vs. non-responders (≥50% vs. <50% decrease in monthly migraine attacks frequency following MC treatment initiation, respectively). Comparative statistics evaluated differences between these two subgroups.



Results: A total of 145 patients (97 females, 67%) with a median MC treatment duration of three years were analyzed. Compared to non-responders, responders (n = 89, 61%) reported lower current migraine disability and lower negative impact, and lower rates of opioid and triptan consumption. Subgroup analysis demonstrated that responders consumed higher doses of the phytocannabinoid ms_373_15c and lower doses of the phytocannabinoid ms_331_18d (3.40 95% CI (1.10 to 12.00); p < 0.01 and 0.22 95% CI (0.05-0.72); p < 0.05, respectively).

Conclusions: These findings indicate that MC results in long-term reduction of migraine frequency in >60% of treated patients and is associated with less disability and lower antimigraine medication intake. They also point to the MC composition, which may be potentially efficacious in migraine patients.

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