AUSTIN, Texas — According to a study presented at the American Headache Society Annual Scientific Meeting in June 2023, the combination of vaporized THC and CBD has been found to be beneficial in the treatment of migraines. The study revealed that this combination offered pain relief and alleviated patients’ most bothersome symptoms.
The study, led by Dr. Nathanial M. Schuster from the UC San Diego Center for Pain Medicine, builds upon previous evidence supporting the use of cannabis for acute migraine treatment. It involved a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial with 73 participants who experienced chronic migraines. These participants treated up to four distinct migraine attacks using vaporized THC, a mixture of THC and CBD, CBD alone, or placebo cannabis.
The primary outcome of the study was pain relief at the two-hour mark, with secondary outcomes including freedom from pain and relief from most bothersome symptoms at the same time interval. Participants were instructed to use a vaporizer with four puffs during the moderate or severe stage of their migraines and complete a questionnaire two hours after treatment. Repeat cannabis use within the two-hour timeframe was not permitted, and a one-week washout period between treatments was required.
The results showed that after using the THC and CBD combination, 69% of patients experienced pain relief, 36.2% achieved pain freedom, and 62.1% were free of their most bothersome symptoms. In comparison, the percentages following THC alone were 70.5%, 29.5%, and 49.2%, respectively. For CBD alone, the percentages were 54.4%, 24.6%, and 43.9%, while the placebo group reported 48.3%, 15.5%, and 36.2%, respectively.
Dr. Schuster explained, “For pain relief at 2 hours, both THC alone and the THC/CBD mix were significantly greater than placebo, but for the 2-hour pain freedom, it was only significant for the THC/CBD mix.” The study noted no serious adverse events associated with any of the cannabis products used. However, mild adverse events were reported more frequently with THC alone compared to the other groups.
Dr. Schuster concluded by stating, “In this single-center randomized controlled trial, four puffs of vaporized THC/CBD mix were efficacious for acute migraine treatment, providing pain relief, pain freedom, and relief from the most bothersome symptoms at the two-hour mark. Furthermore, this combination was better tolerated than THC alone.” He emphasized the need for future studies to replicate these results, including multicenter studies and prospective, longitudinal studies to assess the potential risks of repeated use.
The findings of this study highlight the potential benefits of vaporized THC and CBD as an alternative treatment for migraines. While further research is necessary, these initial results provide promising evidence for the efficacy and tolerability of this combination therapy.
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