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Medical Cannabis, Headaches, and Migraines: A Review of the Current Literature

Co-authors: Sujan Poudel1, Samir Ruxmohan1, Jinal Choudhari1, Zachary Au1, Armond Theiss1, Mobashir Hosameddin1, Geraldo Ferrer1, Jack Michel1
1Larkin Community Hospital

Cannabis has been long used since ancient times for both medical and recreational use. Past research has shown that cannabis can be indicated for symptom management disorders, including cancer, chronic pain, headaches, migraines, and psychological disorders (anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder).

Active ingredients in cannabis that modulate patients’ perceptions of their conditions include Δ9tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), flavonoids, and terpenes. These compounds work to produce effects within the endocannabinoid system to decrease nociception and decrease symptom frequency. Research within the United States of America is limited to date due to cannabis being classified as a schedule one drug per the Drug Enforcement Agency. Few anecdotal studies have found a limited relationship between cannabis use and migraine frequency.

The purpose of the review article is to document the validity of how medical cannabis can be utilized as an alternative therapy for migraine management.

Thirty-four relevant articles were selected after a thorough screening process using PubMed and Google Scholar databases. The following keywords were used: “Cannabis,” “Medical Marijuana,” “Headache,” “Cannabis and Migraine,” “Cannabis and Headache.” This literature study demonstrates that medical cannabis use decreases migraine duration and frequency and headaches of unknown origin. Patients suffering from migraines and related conditions may benefit from medical cannabis therapy due to its convenience and efficacy.

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