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US study found that weed users are six times more likely to develop headaches from excessive drug use.
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March 03, 2021 • • 13 minutes ago • • Read for 3 minutes • • Join the conversation Photo from iStock / Getty Images Plus
Factors that can lead to rebound headaches include the frequency of migraines, excessive use of other drugs for acute migraines, and how long a person has had chronic migraines, the AAN statement says.
Investigators considered the records of 368 adults from headache clinics between 2015 and 2019 who had chronic migraines for at least a year – defined as 15 or more headache days per month. A total of 150 participants consumed cannabis and 218 did not.
The researchers extracted information about the MOH diagnosis, migraine frequency, current cannabis use duration, the types of cannabis products used, and overused drugs for acute migraines, among other things.
Of all participants, 212 had rebound headaches and 156 did not. Those who used weed “had six times more frequent headaches from overuse of drugs than those who did not use cannabis,” the AAN points out.
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The lead author Dr. Niushen Zhang, a Stanford University School of Medicine member and AAN member, admits that there is evidence that cannabis helps treat some types of chronic pain.
However, the study’s results suggest that those who use cannabis to treat migraines are “significantly more likely” to experience rebound headaches than those who did not use weeds.
The study also shows that participants who used opioids are currently also more likely to use cannabis. “Previous research has shown that both opioids and cannabis can affect the part of the brain called periaqueductal gray that has been linked to migraines,” the AAN reports.
“Current cannabis use, opioid use and MOH were significantly linked,” the study said. “A bidirectional cannabis-opioid association has been observed – the use of increased use of the other,” she adds.
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The researchers pointed out that the study was retrospective and suggested that longitudinal studies would be needed to “examine more closely the cause and effect of cannabis use and headache associated with drug overuse in patients with chronic migraines”.
Meanwhile, researchers advise reducing marijuana use may help alleviate MOH.
A cross-sectional, questionnaire-based study published in Brain Sciences last year concluded that the use of medicinal cannabis resulted in long-term reductions in migraine frequency in more than 60 percent of patients treated. In addition, it is “linked to less disability and less use of anti-migraine medication,” the researchers found.
And another study last fall found that those who also have migraines experience great levels of weed relief. The average reported relief for cannabis products was about 76 percent, compared with about 51 percent for those using non-cannabis products.
According to Migraine Canada, migraines affect a quarter of Canadian households. Broken down, 15 percent of women and eight percent of men suffer from migraines. The Ontario Migraine Clinic adds that migraines “cause significant disabilities and can cost the Canadian workforce 7 million work days a year.”
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