Medical marijuana can combat migraines, a study featured in the journal Pharmacotherapy has recently determined.
Research was led by Laura Borgelt, professor of clinical pharmacy and family medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
A group of 121 volunteers suffering from migraines took part in the trial, conducted between January 2010 and September 2014. For the duration of the experiment, participants received treatment at Gedde Whole Health.
More precisely, they were routinely administered medical marijuana, as researchers periodically evaluated their condition.
It was determined that the cannabinoid-based treatment was successful in countering headaches among the vast majority of the subjects.
Namely, 103 of the volunteers declared that the number of migraines they had on a monthly basis experienced a decline. Just 15 of them claimed that symptoms had remained unchanged, whereas 3 of the participants complained of more frequent and debilitating manifestations.
Overall, across the study sample, the ubiquity of headaches decreased by a wide margin, initially having been measured at 10.4 per month, and eventually reaching 4.6 per month.
As researchers explain, the downturn is not just statistically significant, but also has remarkable clinical implications, given the fact that it indicates medical marijuana could be an effective treatment for those suffering from chronic migraines.
Apparently, opting for cannabinoid-based medicine can greatly improve the quality of life for those who experience headaches on a regular basis. It allows them to complete daily tasks more effectively, and can therefore lower school and work absenteeism associated with this condition.
As scientists speculate, these positive effects stem from medical marijuana’s interaction with cannabinoid receptors, based in the the central nervous system (the brain and the spinal cord), but also in other parts of the body.
For instance, CB1 receptors which influence the individual’s perception and modulation of pain, are found in nerve cells, and across the spleen, stomach, intestines, adrenal gland, reproductive system, urinary tract.
CB2 receptors, common in the spleen and the tonsils, have been proven to aid the immune system in functioning correctly, by reducing inflammation and fighting cancer.
Moreover, cannabinoids have also been shown to halt the activity of the GABA neurotransmitter, therefore allowing more dopamine to be produced and released.
This “feel good” chemical enables the individual to experience pleasure, by activating the brain’s reward system, especially when coupled with serotonin, another neurotransmitter which can be activated because of marijuana.
Serotonin, which helps balance moods, tends to be abnormally low among migraine sufferers, and cannabinoids can heighten this concentration, making headaches less likely.
For now, since research in this field is virtually unprecedented, study authors believe a more thorough investigation of medical marijuana’s migraine-fighting properties should be performed, before these benefits can be proven with greater assuredness.
At the moment, it’s unclear what adverse reactions such treatment could have, so before such a randomized controlled trial takes place, experts are undecided if the advantages of medical marijuana as an alternative migraine cure would indeed exceed its potential risks and drawbacks.
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