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Marijuana May Work Better Than Migraine Medication

The medical world is buzzing with the FDA’s recent approval of migraine medication Aimovig, the first CGRP receptor blocker designed to prevent migraines. However, research suggests a different treatment may hold more promise.

Migraines and Aimovig

Far more serious than a headache, migraines are a neurological disease listed as the sixth most disabling illness in the world. Every ten seconds, someone in the U.S. goes to the emergency room complaining of head pain; approximately 1.2 million visits are from acute migraine attacks.

Aimovig’s appeal rests largely on its claim to stop migraines before they start. Three clinical trials have demonstrated it works: Over the course of three to six months, Aimovig-treated patients experienced, on average, one to two fewer monthly migraine days than those on placebo.

The downside? Treatment comes in an auto-injector device (like an EpiPen) and has possible side-effects, including: pain at the injection site and constipation.

As Harvard neurologist Elizabeth Loder noted prior to launch, “It’ll be a shame if the price for erenumab [Aimovig] does not reflect its modest efficacy.”

On May 17, Aimovig announced its price:

$575 a month.

Hope for patients

A closer look at Aimovig’s data reveals that, before adjusting for placebo comparison, participants experienced an average of 2.9 to 6.6 less migraine days a month (depending on study, length, and dosage). Not mentioned? A separate study suggesting that a different medication may be able to achieve the same results, with less risk of serious side effects, for less than half the price.

The treatment?

Medical marijuana.

In 2016, Pharmacotherapy published results of a retrospective chart review analyzing medical marijuana use in 121 migraine patients. The study showed marijuana successfully prevented migraines; patients who used marijuana experienced 5.8 less migraine days a month.  Moreover, patients also reported that marijuana stopped migraines in-progress.

These findings support a separate study presented at the Third Congress of the European Academy of Neurology which concluded:

“Cannabinoids are just as suitable as a [means of prevention] for migraine attacks as other pharmaceutical treatments.”

Lead study author Maria Nicolodi summarized:

“We were able to demonstrate that cannabinoids are an alternative to established treatments in migraine prevention.”

Could marijuana help your migraine?

Clinical trials are still needed; however, preliminary research suggests medical marijuana may be just as effective – if not more effective – at decreasing monthly migraine days as Aimovig and other pharmaceutical treatments.

Patients have also voiced strong support, with Vice columnist Caroline Thompson claiming:

“After 20 years and dozens of medications, I finally found something that helped.”

Unfortunately, more than four million U.S. adults experience chronic daily migraines. Research has shown that medication overuse is the prime reason episodic migraines turn chronic. With a number of arguments in its favor, this final point may just tip the scale for marijuana.

Summing up the state of current research, neuroscientist (and migraine sufferer) Michelle Ross explains:

“CBD [a marijuana compound] is really good for inflammation and pain. It’s crazy how many things it does.”

While state laws vary, CannaMD is proud to offer treatment to Florida patients suffering from a number of conditions that count migraines as a primary symptom (including cancer, PTSD, and epilepsy). To learn if you qualify, fill out an application today.

Find Out If You Qualify

You may be eligible for medical marijuana!

Current migraine patient? We’d love to hear about your experience and explore different ways we may help. Please feel free to add your thoughts, comments, and questions in the comment section, below!

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12 Comments

  1. I have found that mmj helps with pain for a little while but once the mmj wears off the headache comes back with more intensity. I have tried several strains of 1:1 CBD to THC and have not had success with mmj preventing or treating an acute migraine.

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for sharing! It’s interesting to hear what works for different people (and certainly, like any medication, medical cannabis isn’t the right solution for everyone). Hoping you find something that gives sufficient relief!

      Wishing health and wellness!

    2. Sorry to hear, I have the same if I am week without cannabis, it helps but comes back. Try using 2 hours before bedtime vaporizator. Or better, use decarbylaxed skuff in pill, everyday to prevent migraine. You have to use cannabis to prevent migraine. Vaporizator 190 Celsius is ok to onset of migraine. CBD is not that good for migraine, but people are different. If I use cannabis everyday, migraines are very mild and similar to headaches.

  2. Cannabis has been a BIG HELP with my migraines. I am 56 and have had them as far as I can remember. I am a MMJ card holder in Fl. Oh my with out Cannabis , I would be throwing up, Pounding my head on the ground. I BELIEVE from experience. I also use cannabis infused cream for aches and pains. Cannabis also helps with my back ( I had surgery ) and recently had Major shoulder surgery and used it along with a couple pain pills at first ( I hate them) then medical cannabis after that ! Thank you God for such an amazing plant !

    1. What an incredible success story! We’re so happy you’ve found relief! Thank you for sharing – wishing you continued health and wellness!

  3. I use MM for post-traumatic migraines from a car accident. I was on opiods for years and then triptans. The triptans stopped working over a year ago. I can’t believe how well mm works! Within a few minutes, the pain, nausea, light sensitivity and smell sensitivity are all gone. Only one time in a year (multiple migraines every week) was the mm not effective. The CBD does not work nearly as well for me, I need THC, which can be a problem when out. Otherwise, the migraines have decreased in intensity and I don’t get them nearly as much as when I took the triptans. When is the government going to get out of the pockets of big pharma?

    1. What an incredible success story! Thank you so much for sharing! Hoping restrictions will continue to be lifted…!

  4. I’ve gone 40 yrs with Migraines and I am allowed cbd oil only in my state I’d love to have more. But it helps now after 40 yrs . I can go a day or two without a migraine.

  5. I have had chronic migraines over 10 years. I cannot smoke mj while i have a migraine it makes it way more intense and worse. I just actually started taking amovig 2 months ago yesterday and it had helped me amazing. I am a smoker and would love to say that smoking helps but for me the amovig helps not the mj.

  6. From what I have been reading here and on other sites, the THC works better for chronic intractable Migraines. I will be seeing the doctor next week and look forward to relief from this “Monster” (migraines) that have incapacitated me for years.

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