It is no secret that the leading complaint among people seeking Medical Cannabis Cards in Utah is pain. In fact, pain is the leading motivator for Medical Cannabis consumption across the country. So it’s understandable that a patient would want to know if the drug could help with their particular type of pain. One we hear a lot about is treatment for migraine pain.
Migraine headaches are among the most painful. Unfortunately, pain isn’t the only symptom. Migraine sufferers also complain of light and noise sensitivity, nausea, and even auras (visual disturbances). A migraine headache is not a pleasant experience.
The question for many is whether Medical Cannabis can alleviate or prevent the symptoms. We don’t know about prevention, but a number of studies look promising for symptom alleviation.
Have you ever wondered how people used cannabis before it was outlawed in the 1970s? We did a little digging and discovered some interesting things. For instance, there was a period of roughly 100 years – between 1848 and 1948 – when cannabis was a preferred medication for migraine.
Johns Hopkins medical school founder William Osler was reported to have used cannabis for migraines. Likewise for England’s renowned neurologist William Gowers.
Unfortunately, cannabis has never undergone the type of clinical scrutiny necessary to convince the FDA and DOJ that it is an effective medication. Most of the studies conducted so far have been observational studies, meaning researchers gathered data by conducting surveys.
Despite being observational, the small number of studies we can still look at are promising. One study published in 2019 showed that almost half of the migraine patients who were treated with THC or CBD reported less severe migraine pain following treatment. There were some downsides, including THC tolerance that resulted in rebound headaches, but the patients in that study were self-medicating. We might be able to achieve better results through prescriptions managed by doctors.
Moving on to another study published in 2020, researchers discovered that some of their subjects responded to cannabis while others did not. Among those that did, they reported 50% fewer migraine attacks than the nonresponsive group. We are guessing anyone suffering from regular migraines would welcome the opportunity to cut their attacks in half.
The data we currently have about cannabis as a migraine treatment is promising, but not definitive. Would it work for you? We cannot say one way or the other. The best advice we can offer is that you sit down and talk it over with your medical provider. Tell your provider how you feel, how severe your migraines are, and why you think Medical Cannabis might help.
We at least know enough about cannabis to suggest it can be helpful for people dealing with chronic pain. The state legislature recognizes the same thing, which is why chronic pain has been on the qualifying conditions list since day one.
You might also be happy to know that acute pain was added to the list during the 2022 legislative session. Certain types of acute pain now qualify for Medical Cannabis as long as a few conditions are met. So if acute pain is something you are worried about, be sure to talk it over with your medical provider.
In closing, we just want to remind new readers that the state requires possession of a valid Medical Cannabis Card to purchase medications at a Utah pharmacy. We can help you get your card. Just make an appointment to see us at any of our Utah clinics.