Your latest cannabis business info from Europe

Your latest cannabis business info from Europe


Exploring the efficacy of cannabis for acute migraine

Exploring the efficacy of cannabis for acute migraine

Over one billion people worldwide suffer from migraine, a crippling neurological disorder marked by excruciating headaches that are frequently accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and light and sound sensitivity. Migraine is still a complex and difficult disorder to successfully manage, despite its prevalence and major impact on quality of life. Despite the availability of numerous pharmaceutical and non-pharmacological treatments, a significant proportion of migraineurs still encounter insufficient alleviation or unbearable side effects from traditional treatments.

The use of cannabinoids, or cannabis-derived medicines, as an alternative to traditional migraine therapies, has gained popularity in recent years.

In a recent study, a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial* was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of cannabis in treating acute migraine attacks. This study closes a significant gap in the literature by investigating the potential of cannabinoids, specifically THC and CBD, to reduce migraine symptoms.

Evaluating cannabis’s potential for medicinal use

The aim of the study, which is extensively detailed in the journal “Neurology,” was to thoroughly examine the efficacy of cannabis, particularly vaporized cannabis flower with different THC and CBD compositions, in mitigating severe migraine symptoms.

Preclinical and retrospective research suggested that cannabinoids may have anti-migraine effects before this study. Nevertheless, there was little scientific data to demonstrate cannabis’s effectiveness in treating migraines. This experiment stands out as the first to evaluate cannabis’s medicinal potential for treating acute migraines.

Specifics and methodology of the research

Adults with migraines who experienced up to four consecutive attacks were treated in this painstakingly planned trial with one of four interventions: 6% THC, 11% CBD, 6% THC and 11% CBD combined, or a placebo flower from the NIDA Drug Supply Program.

The chosen mode of administration was vaporization, with a washout interval of at least one week in between treatments and treatments that were randomized. The degree of pain reduction at two hours after vapourization was the main outcome, while at the same time, pain independence and relief from the most bothersome symptom (MBS) were secondary endpoints.

As a result, using cannabis to alleviate migraines

Seventy-one of the 92 individuals who were enrolled and randomly assigned had at least one migraine attack. With a mean age of 41, the majority of participants were female. Data from 234 migraine episodes were analyzed, and the results showed that the THC/CBD combination outperformed the placebo in:

  • obtaining MBS freedom (60.3% vs. 34.5%),
  • pain relief (67.2% vs. 46.6%),
  • and pain freedom (34.5% vs. 15.5%).

Exactly two hours later. Furthermore, the THC/CBD combination was shown to result in maintained pain freedom after 24 hours as well as persistent MBS freedom after 24 and 48 hours. In terms of pain alleviation (68.9% vs. 46.6%), THC alone outperformed the placebo; nonetheless, neither pain freedom nor MBS freedom were achieved after two hours. On the other hand, after two hours, CBD by itself did not show any improvement over the placebo in any of the outcomes. Notably, throughout the experiment, no significant adverse events were recorded.

According to the results of this ground-breaking trial, vaporized cannabis flower with 6% THC and 11% CBD is effective in relieving acute migraine symptoms at two hours after treatment, and it also continues to provide pain reduction and MBS alleviation for 24 and 48 hours. This work makes a substantial contribution to the expanding corpus of research demonstrating the therapeutic potential of cannabis in the treatment of migraines. It may compel more investigation and even influence clinical practice.

*The research was conducted by: Nathaniel Schuster, Mark Wallace, Dawn Buse, Thomas Marcotte, Euyhyun Lee, Lin Liu, and Michelle Sexton. Full version can be accessed here:


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