A team at the University of California, San Diego has started the first randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to assess if cannabis is an effective treatment for migraines. The team has about 20 participants currently enrolled, and hopes to end up with 90 people in the end.
The trial will randomize the participants into four groups. One group will receive THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. The second group will be receiving CBD, another cannabinoid compound with no psychoactive effect. The third group will get a mixture of the two, and the final one will only get a placebo. All these will be administered via a vaporizer.
“Many patients who suffer from migraines have experienced them for many years but have never discussed them with their physicians. They are, rather, self-treating with various treatments, such as cannabis,” Nathaniel Schuster, MD, pain management specialist and headache neurologist at UC San Diego Health and investigator at the UC San Diego Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, said in a statement. “Right now, when patients ask us if cannabis works for migraines, we do not have evidence-based data to answer that question.”
To qualify for the trial, the participants must experience migraines every month, must not be a regular cannabis user or use opioids, and be between the age of 21 and 65. Allison Knigge is among the participants, and she’s been experiencing migraines since she was in elementary school.
“I am proud and grateful to be part of a study that could lead to more tools in the toolbox for those of us who suffer from migraines,” explained Knigge. “It could mean one more option when all other options have not worked. This is truly significant for patients whose lives are disrupted on a regular basis from migraines.”