The science behind marijuana and migraines

It’s estimated that over 1 billion individuals worldwide suffer from the debilitating pain of migraines. And now new research shows that CBD may help.

There is nothing quite like a migraine. The American Migraine Foundation (AMF) estimates that over 1 billion individuals worldwide suffer from the debilitating pain of migraines. With 1 in 5 women, 1 in 16 men, and 1 in 11 children all dealing with the life-changing effects of migraines, it’s no wonder CBD and marijuana are often brought up as a means of therapy.

Dr. Stephen Silberstein, director of the Headache Center at Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, recently published a piece with the AMF that showcased the benefits and risks of CBD and THC for those that experience migraines. He states, “If you have a lot of neck pain or soreness, it is perfectly reasonable to use CBD oil. It may even prevent nausea and vomiting,” symptoms often associated with a severe migraine episode. 

Dr. Silberstein also notes that while CBD and medical marijuana is not yet legal in all states, patients should consult their doctor and research where their CBD is made to ensure it’s labeled correctly. 

Do studies exist to showcase other benefits that CBD offers those that have migraines?  

A study from the University of Colorado, published in the journal Pharmacotherapy, showed that the frequency of migraines in patients who used cannabis dropped from 10.4 per month to 4.6 — a number that’s both statistically and clinically significant. Additionally, secondary findings showed that different cannabis delivery routes had different strengths: Smoked marijuana, which hits the bloodstream almost instantly, was best for treating acute migraines. On the other hand, edibles, which take much longer to metabolize, helped prevent headaches.

relieve your migraines

The Association of Migraine Disorders shared a first-hand account of Michelle Tracy, who explained her fear and hesitation to try CBD and marijuana to combat migraines. Her compelling story serves as a reminder that often, when patients are told, “there’s nothing else that can be done,” it can cause debilitating stress and confusion. Travis closes her story with, “I remain optimistic that there is even more help to be found as more research is conducted, and as marijuana becomes even more socially acceptable.” 

While CBD offers therapy above and beyond prescriptions, Mayo Clinic cites that patients need to be aware of risks as well. “Though it’s often well-tolerated, CBD can cause side effects, such as dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue.” For those that spend days in the dark, it may be time to bring up CBD to their health care team to investigate if it’s a viable solution to their migraines. 

Using cannabis to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome

Certain people in the cannabis business are more prone to carpal tunnel syndrome than others who work in the industry. Just like professions that require their workers to type, cook, or use a cash register all day, marijuana trimmers suffer due to the detailed, repetitive nature of their work.

The carpal tunnel is a thin tube in your wrist, pretty much from elbow to palm of the hand, that houses the median nerve, which becomes inflamed when the syndrome kicks in. Fortunately, cannabis is here to save the day yet again.

The NSAIDs or corticosteroids that are commonly used to treat the pain associated with carpal tunnel have side effects that range from weight gain and easy bruising to osteoporosis. On the other hand (no pun intended) cannabis’ side effects are short term and include an increase in appetite, dry mouth and the potential for giggles. CBD has no side effects at all. However, depending on the severity of your carpal tunnel, you still may need to wear a splint to bed in order to combat the numb, tingling feelings.

Cannabis is a natural remedy for inflammation in soft tissues, for nerve damage and for joint pain — all associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Peter J Thompson

Another problem with using the anti-inflammatories like NSAIDs and steroids is that your body builds up a tolerance to them over time. This can lead to stronger painkillers, more discomfort and an increased moodiness. Cannabis is a known anti-inflammatory and though you may build up a tolerance if you’ve never tried it before, it evens out pretty quickly. Let’s say in a matter of weeks, though it certainly varies from person to person.

Cannabis is a natural remedy for inflammation in soft tissues, for nerve damage and for joint pain—all associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. It makes the most sense to use a substance that’s able to relieve the three symptoms of carpal tunnel and that has additional benefits like mood elevation and the alleviation of other aches and pains. If you’re using a topical cannabis product, however, it will be non-psychoactive, but it will work wonders.

THC or CBD Topicals are the best bet for workers who fear drug testing and the products work even better in conjunction with CBD tincture, gummies and/or vape pens. If you’re able to get a bit lifted, though, using an edible or smoking/vaping a good strain for pain, like Girl Scout Cookies, will provide deeper relief.

It’s no fun having a syndrome that makes what you’re used to doing either impossible or limited, but there is relief to be had. Incorporating cannabis into your wellness regime may be the difference between a good day and a bad one, a good night’s rest or an awkward tossing and turning to keep your wrists in position. Cannabis is an excellent medicine, especially when it comes to inflammation, and its potential to help mitigate carpal tunnel syndrome is no small miracle.

Second GW pharmaceutical setback exposes U.K. health system flaws

The U.K. medical body charged with determining which treatments can be accessed through the National Health Service (NHS) has dealt a second blow to GW Pharmaceuticals in a matter of days.

Last week, in its findings on the potential for U.K. medical cannabis, NICE  (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) ruled GW’s Multiple Sclerosis drug Sativex as not cost effective.

And it has now delivered the same verdict on its epilepsy drug Epidiolex – for the time being, at least.

Another U.K. Anti-Medical Cannabis Ruling

In its announcement NICE went to say that it would continue to work with GW on a number of issues. Epidiolex – comprising of CBD and the anti-seizure drug clobazam – was approved by the FDA last year and has prompted a major sales boost for GW in the U.S.

In the U.S it costs over $30,000 a year for, often young patients, suffering from Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut epilepsy – and it is this cost which is causing problems for the NHS. Needless to say NICE has come under fire for this latest anti-medical cannabis ruling.

Securing NHS Cannabis ‘Seems A Lost Cause’

Former U.K. Drugs Czar Prof David Nutt, now Head of the Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology, said that this decision, and last week’s ruling, mean ‘getting pure extracts of plant cannabis products into the NHS now seems a lost cause’.

In a press release NICE said it would work with GW on the issues it has raised. It said the duration of the clinical trials, at only only 14 weeks, meant the ‘longer-term effectiveness of cannabidiol with clobazam is uncertain’.

It also had concerns about the ‘economic models’ provided by GW saying it excluded some key cost impacts. Its ruling is open to consultation with a final decision due next month. In England, some 600 people with Dravet syndrome and around 4,000 people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome could benefit.

Ruling Exposes Flaw in U.K Health System

While some see the two decisions as further evidence of U.K. clinical bias against cannabis drugs, it all exposes one of the key flaws of the country’s socialised health care model. NICE generally funds treatments that cost less than £20,000 a year, but baulks at those costing over £30,000.

As well as taking into account the cost of the drug, its deliberations include equipment and time spent administering and managing the treatment. It  aims ‘to make decisions that will improve the health of the whole population’. In the U.S. over 90% of health insurance providers have agreed to list Epidiolex, and as such the U.K. system now seems to undermine the NHS’s founding principle of ‘providing universal care, according to need’.

Meindert Boysen, director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE, accepted the evidence on Epidiolex but went on to say  ‘the committee was not convinced about the way the company had modelled the effect on people living longer or having a better quality of life’.

A spokesman for GW, a U.K. company listed on the NASDAQ, told the Telegraph: “We are working with NICE to address the questions raised in this draft guidance, with the aim of ensuring patients can access the medicine on the NHS once approved. We remain hopeful that NICE will recommend cannabidiol oral solution at the end of its appraisal process.”