In surprising results, a new study into inhaled cannabis shows the drug might be able to vastly decrease the pain from headaches and migraines.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Pain investigated the effect of cannabis on headaches and migraines. Run by researchers from Washington State University, the study involved 1,953 participants.
Exactly 1,300 of these participants tracked their headaches, another 653 participants tracked their migraines before and after inhaling cannabis. Both groups reported changes in their pain using the Strainprint app. In total, over 19,600 recordings were made.
According to this data, the severity of headaches decreased by 47.3%, while the severity of migraines decreased by 49.6%. This is consistent with previous research into headaches and synthetic cannabis drug nabilone, which found nabilone was more effective than ibuprofen.
Interestingly, while the WSU study did measure whether the strains participants used were dominant in THC or CBD, the type of strain used had no distinct effect on participants headaches. To researchers, this suggests that another cannabinoid may be responsible for headache relief – perhaps terpenes (organic compounds). Typical strains of cannabis contain over 100 different cannabinoids.
In the study, whether participants were male or female also influenced the results. While 90% of men experienced a decrease in headache pain after cannabis, the same results were recorded in 89.1% of female participants.
In previous research, a similar disparity was also found between cannabis oil and flower – leading scientists to believe cannabis oil is the more effective of the two.
Although the results of the WSU study are promising, researchers admit that there are many limitations to the studies findings. The study used no control group, and all participants were already regularly consuming cannabis, which may have altered the results through participant bias. Discussing the study, lead researcher Carrie Cuttler wrote:
We were motivated to do this study because a substantial number of people say they use cannabis for headache and migraine, but surprisingly few studies had addressed the topic.
While the study wasn’t conducted in a clinical setting, researchers hope that the findings pave the way for further investigation into cannabis and headaches.
You can read all about further research into cannabis here.