A new study on the effects of cannabis for migraines and headaches has thrown up some interesting results – it found that inhaling cannabis may be much more effective than consuming over-the-counter painkillers.
The study titled "Short and long-term effects of cannabis on headache and migraine" was published in the Journal of Pain this week. It studied not just pain relief effects for migraine patients not just over the long term but also in real-time, while the headache was occurring.
"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," Carrie Cuttler, the lead author on the paper, stated in a Washington State University press release.
The study has also used data analysis from the Strainpaint app, which lets cannabis users record the effects of the herb over on their headaches. Around 1,300 people recorded the effect on migraines, while 653 people recorded the effect on headaches.
The data analyses showed that the severity of headaches was reduced by 47 percent and the severity of migraines was reduced by 49 percent upon inhaling cannabis. The subjects used "whole-plant cannabis" rather than using alternatives such as THC tablets or vaping oil.
The research also found that men benefitted more than women, by a sliver, 90 percent vis-à-vis 89 percent. The study also found one issue, which is also persistent with over-the-counter painkillers, that the tolerance of the subject increases over time, so the dosage needs to be increased to keep the relief up.
Despite this effect, in totality, it is more effective than painkillers such as Ibuprofen. Also, since the results were self-reported and not done in a lab or a hospital, the effects may be over-reported.
Despite such issues, it lays down the foundation of similar studies, done with placebos for the control group and comparison of effects of marijuana versus different pain killers.