Researchers at University of California San Diego are launching the first-ever, placebo-controlled study observing the effects of cannabis on migraines. The randomized, double blind study will build upon past findings that indicate promise in treating migraines with medical cannabis.
Getting the necessary approvals from the government took several years. “Medical-grade” cannabis will be provided by the government as well. Approximately 20 participants are currently enrolled in the clinical trial. The end goal is to enroll 90 participants who will be randomized and treated with four separate migraine attacks with four different treatments; one each with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), a combination of the two and a placebo. The products will be administered via a vaporizer.
“This has never been studied before,” Dr. Nathaniel Schuster, the lead researcher on the project, told ABC 10. We want to know whether it is more effective than placebo, whether it is beneficial for the headache part of migraine, whether it’s helpful for the other parts of migraine.”
Participants involved in the study will receive four different doses of cannabis to use on four separate headaches. They’ll self-report the results via an app. “The patients don’t know which one is which,” added Dr. Schuster. “We’ll give one of them with THC, one of them with the THC/CBD mixture, one of them with CBD and one of them with placebo.”
Interestingly, Dr. Schuster estimates that about 30 percent of medical cannabis patients already consume cannabis to treat some form of headache. Migraines cause not only pain, but also cause nausea—which is one of the reasons traditional pain relief drugs don’t always cut it.
Want to be part of the study yourself? People interested in participating in the study can email Research Coordinator Phirum Nguyen directly or call 858-822-3108. Participants cannot already be regular cannabis or opioid users. They also must have a frequency of migraines at least once per month.