Saturday, December 2, 2017

Medical Cannabis Benefits: Treating Migraine

Migraines are a type of excruciatingly painful headache that can cause intense throbbing and pulsing in the head, and is usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and severe sensitivity to light, loud sounds, and or smells. Migraines are also oftentimes classified as a chronic neurological disorder if the headaches persist (which they do in tens of millions of people throughout the world). Sufferers of Migraine disorders may experience migraines several times a month, and at the worst, even on a daily basis.

The exact cause of migraine disorders vary from individual to individual, although it is hypothesized that they are related to chemical changes in the brain as well as genetics. Various ailments including Asthma, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Epilepsy, Hypertension, Stroke, Sleep Disorders, and more can also cause migraines in the sufferer. Some individuals (those with a migraine disorder or ailment that may cause migraines) are more predisposed to undergoing a migraine attack than others, but normal healthy individuals may experience a migraine from time to time depending on specific triggers. Known triggers of a migraine include: emotional stress; sensitivity to chemicals or preservatives in foods; excessive caffeine consumption; caffeine withdrawal; menstrual periods; side effects of medications; excessive fatigue; skipping meals; and changes in sleep patterns.

Thankfully, there are various medications and therapies that help manage a Migraine.

Using Cannabis to Treat Migraine

Cannabis is a complex medicinal plant that may actually be used to treat a variety of debilitating symptoms caused by a surprisingly large number of ailments. Its usefulness as a non-lethal medicine (you cannot die from an overdose of cannabis) cannot be overstated and its versatility in terms of how it can be consumed and as to how it can be useful for so many illnesses is something to be excited about. However, it is important to remember that consulting with your primary care physician should be your first priority when considering incorporating cannabis into one’s medical regiment and that cannabis is to be used as an adjunct therapy and not a replacement. It is also your responsibility to communicate with your doctor as to how your use of cannabis has affected your health and of your progress with utilizing medical cannabis.

Those suffering from Migraines will be pleased to hear that one study in 2008 by Russo et al published in Neuroendocrinology Letters concludes, “Migraine, fibromyalgia, IBS and related conditions display common clinical, biochemical and pathophysiological patterns that suggest an underlying clinical endocannabinoid deficiency that may be suitably treated with cannabinoid medicines.”

With that said, studies have shown that cannabis may be quite useful for treating individuals suffering from migraine for the following reasons: relieving pain caused by the migraine; helping to manage anxiety and or depression associated with the various stages of a migraine; relieving nausea and possible vomiting; helping to regulate blood flow and relieve possible hypertension or high blood pressure; helping to restore appetite during a prolonged migraine attack; and with protecting the brain from damage and degeneration.

Cannabis has been used to treat migraines for centuries. Between the years of 1874 and 1942, it was among the most prominent remedy used by physicians.

Research suggests that cannabis’ effectiveness for migraine relief can be attributed to the cannabinoids contained in cannabis. Cannabinoids interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the body’s endocannabinoid system, which in turn inhibits responses of the trigeminovascular system and restricts the inflammation that causes migraine pain.

A January 2016 study found medical marijuana to be effective at decreasing the frequency of migraine headaches. In a first-of-its-kind study, because of previous federal regulations, the researchers found that 103 of 121 of participants diagnosed with migraines saw a decrease in migraine frequency. The average migraine frequency reduced from 10.4 a month to 4.6 per month.

Further, studies suggest that cannabis is effective at providing analgesia effects caused by chronic neuropathic pain conditions that are otherwise resistant to other pain relief treatments. The findings of one study even suggest that a dysfunction of the endocannabinoid system may contribute to the development of migraines. Researchers then came to a conclusion that the activation of the CB1 and CB2 receptors would correct this dysfunction and be useful in treating migraine pain.

Because of the effectiveness of cannabinoids on migraines, there continues to be prominent marijuana use by migraine patients outside of physician recommendations and in locations where medical cannabis use continues to be illegal.

Currently just California and Illinois have specifically approved medical cannabis for the treatment of migraines.

However, other states allow medical cannabis to treat nausea or chronic pain. These states include: Alaska (nausea, chronic pain), Arizona (nausea, chronic pain), Arkansas (nausea, intractable pain) Colorado (nausea, chronic pain), Delaware (nausea, chronic pain), Hawaii (nausea, chronic pain), Maine (nausea, chronic pain), Maryland (nausea, chronic pain), Michigan (nausea, chronic pain), Minnesota (intractable pain), Montana (severe nausea, severe pain), Nevada (severe nausea, pain), New Hampshire (nausea, severe pain), New Mexico (chronic pain), North Dakota (nausea, severe pain), Ohio (chronic pain, severe pain, intractable pain), Oregon (nausea, chronic pain), Pennsylvania (chronic pain, intractable pain), Rhode Island (nausea, chronic pain), Vermont (severe pain, severe nausea), Washington (nausea, intractable pain), and West Virginia (chronic or intractable pain).

In addition, other states allow medical cannabis for the treatment of migraines, but use must be first approved and accommodated with a recommendation by a physician. These states include: Connecticut (other medical conditions may be approved by the Department of Consumer Protection) and Massachusetts (other conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s physician. In Washington D.C., any condition can be approved for medical cannabis as long as a DC-licensed physician recommends the treatment.

Medical marijuana reduced frequency of migraines in 103 of 121 participants.
Effects of Medical Marijuana on Migraine Headache Frequency in an Adult Population.

Marijuana-like medicine caused rats with experimentally-induced migraines to experience less pain than rats that didn’t receive medicine.
Activation of CB2 receptors as a potential therapeutic target for migraine: evaluation in an animal model.

Beneficial Cannabinoids and Terpenoids Useful for Treating Migraine

The cannabis plant offers a plethora of therapeutic benefits and contains cannabinoids and terpenoid compounds that are useful for managing a migraine. Although much of the scientific research surrounding cannabis has been focused on both Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) for their ability to be potent Analgesics and Anti-Nausea (Anti-Emetic) medicines, the following list denotes which cannabinoids and terpenoids also work synergistically with each other for possible therapeutic benefit:

Chronic Pain Condition-based Booklet

A Note from Americans for Safe Access
We are committed to ensuring safe, legal availability of cannabis for medical uses. Today over one million Americans are legally using medical cannabis—or "cannabis," as it is more properly called—under the care of their medical professional, and more than 40% of the nation lives in a state where this treatment is an option.

This publication series is intended to help medical professionals, patients and policymakers better understand how cannabis may be used safely and effectively as a treatment for many medical conditions.

You will find here information about:

Why Cannabis is Legal to Recommend

Overview of the Scientific Research on Medical Cannabis

Cannabis and Chronic Pain

Comparison of Medications: Efficacy and Side-Effects

Why Cannabis is Safe to Recommend

Testimonials of Patients and Doctors

History of Cannabis as Medicine

Scientific and Legal References

While the federal prohibition of cannabis has limited modern clinical research and resulted in considerable misinformation, a scientific consensus on its therapeutic value has emerged, based on a growing body of successful clinical trials and preclinical research. The experience of patients, medical professionals and research has revealed that cannabis can safely treat a remarkably broad range of medical conditions, often more effectively than conventional pharmaceutical drugs. For some of the most difficult to treat conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and neuropathic pain, cannabis often works when nothing else does.

Article: "How to Qualify for Medical Cannabis in New Mexico"