The first trials on THC and CBD as a migraine cure have begun.

Liz Filmer
20 Jul 2021

In a first of its kind study, researchers from the University of California in San Diego are testing several cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, on patients who suffer severe migraines. As many as 1 in 5 women and 1 in 5 men experience migraines; many find current painkillers ineffective as a form of treatment.

The exact cause of migraines is still unknown. They are thought to result from abnormal brain activity that temporarily affects nerve signals, chemicals and blood vessels in the brain. Successful treatment could be revolutionary in helping those whose lives are disrupted from migraines regularly.

There is no clear explanation of what causes this change in brain activity. Still, it is thought possible that your genes could make you more likely to experience migraines due to a specific trigger. These triggers can be physical, emotional, environmental or dietary. 

It has long been claimed by many migraine sufferers that cannabis has brought them more relief than standard treatments. There are many studies and accounts to the testament of this. 

A study from the University of Colorado, Boulder, was carried out in 2020 to assess how migraine sufferers use cannabis and whether it gives them relief. The results were pretty straightforward; 123 or 76.4% of 161 migraine sufferers said they used cannabis as a treatment method. More interestingly, those who used only cannabis saw a 75% improvement of symptoms whilst those using non-cannabis treatment only experienced a 51% improvement.

Still, despite what people believe, nothing can be done to develop new, widely available medication until there is hard scientific evidence. This is why the clinical trials currently underway in California are so significant.

So far, the University has enrolled 20 participants aged 21-65 into the experiment. All of whom experience migraine attacks every month and are not already regular cannabis users.

In the trials, each participant will receive one of 4 vapourised treatments, one including THC, one including CBD, one that is a combination of the two and one that is simply a placebo.

Dr Schuster, who runs the trials, believes that Vaporized cannabis could be a more effective treatment for patients who experience nausea or gastrointestinal issues alongside their migraines.

These trials are incredibly hopeful. They are an excellent example of the research being carried out on the properties of the cannabis plant and how it may be used to treat all kinds of health conditions. The best outcome would be that clinical trials can fill in some blanks and give sufferers clear guidance on how to treat migraines with cannabis.

Liz Filmer