Cannabidiol and Migraine

Studies and peer-reviewed research into the effects of CBD and Migraine

Effects of anandamide in migraine: data from an animal modelFrom the abstract:
Systemic nitroglycerin (NTG) produces spontaneous-like migraine attacks in migraine sufferers and induces a condition of hyperalgesia in the rat 4 h after its administration. Endocannabinoid system seems to be involved in the modulation of NTG-induced hyperalgesia, and probably, in the pathophysiological mechanisms of migraine. In this study, the analgesic effect of anandamide (AEA) was evaluated by means of the formalin test, performed in baseline conditions and following NTG-induced hyperalgesia in male Sprague-Dawley rats. AEA was administered 30 min before the formalin injection. In addition, the effect of AEA (administered 30 min before NTG injection) was investigated on NTG-induced Fos expression and evaluated 4 h following NTG injection. AEA induced a significant decrease in the nociceptive behavior during both phases of the formalin test in the animals treated with vehicle, while it abolished NTG-induced hyperalgesia during the phase II. Pre-treatment with AEA significantly reduced the NTG-induced neuronal activation in nucleus trigeminalis caudalis, confirming the results obtained in our previous study, and in area postrema, while the same treatment induced an increase of Fos expression in paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei of the hypothalamus, parabrachial nucleus, and periaqueductal grey. The study confirms that a dysfunction of the endocannabinoid system may contribute to the development of migraine attacks and that a pharmacological modulation of CB receptors can be useful for the treatment of migraine pain.
Cannabinoids and hallucinogens for headacheFrom the abstract:
Hallucinogens and most cannabinoids are classified under schedule 1 of the Federal Controlled Substances Act 1970, along with heroin and ecstacy. Hence they cannot be prescribed by physicians, and by implication, have no accepted medical use with a high abuse potential. Despite their legal status, hallucinogens and cannabinoids are used by patients for relief of headache, helped by the growing number of American states that have legalized medical marijuana. Cannabinoids in particular have a long history of use in the abortive and prophylactic treatment of migraine before prohibition and are still used by patients as a migraine abortive in particular. Most practitioners are unaware of the prominence cannabis or “marijuana” once held in medical practice. Hallucinogens are being increasingly used by cluster headache patients outside of physician recommendation mainly to abort a cluster period and maintain quiescence for which there is considerable anecdotal success. The legal status of cannabinoids and hallucinogens has for a long time severely inhibited medical research, and there are still no blinded studies on headache subjects, from which we could assess true efficacy.
The endocannabinoid system and migraineFrom the abstract:
The recently discovered endocannabinoid system (ECS), which includes endocannabinoids and the proteins that metabolize and bind them, has been implicated in multiple regulatory functions both in health and disease. Several studies have suggested that ECS is centrally and peripherally involved in the processing of pain signals. This finding is corroborated by the evidence that endocannabinoids inhibit, through a cannabinoid type-1 receptor (CB1R)-dependent retrograde mechanism, the release of neurotransmitters controlling nociceptive inputs and that the levels of these lipids are high in those regions (such as sensory terminals, skin, dorsal root ganglia) known to be involved in transmission and modulation of pain signals. In this review we shall describe experimental and clinical data that, intriguingly, demonstrate the link between endocannabinoids and migraine, a neurovascular disorder characterized by recurrent episodic headaches and caused by abnormal processing of sensory information due to peripheral and/or central sensitization. Although the exact ECS-dependent mechanisms underlying migraine are not fully understood, the available results strongly suggest that activation of ECS could represent a promising therapeutical tool for reducing both the physiological and inflammatory components of pain that are likely involved in migraine attacks.
Variations in the cannabinoid receptor 1 gene predispose to migraineFrom the abstract:
In animal models endogenous cannabinoids have an inhibitory effect on trigeminovascular activation through the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1), although there is no evidence of the potential role of CB1 in human migraine. In this study we applied single marker association and haplotypic trend regression analysis to investigate the relationship between the CB1 gene (CNR1) and headache with migraine symptoms (nausea, photophobia and disability, measured by the ID-migraine questionnaire). We identified our controls (CO=684) as those who have not reported ID-migraine symptoms at all and defined migraine headache sufferers (M=195) as those who reported all three symptoms. The CNR1 was covered by 10 SNPs located throughout the gene based on haplotype tagging (htSNP) and previous literature. Our results demonstrated a significant haplotypic effect of CNR1 on migraine headaches (p=0.008, after permutation p=0.017). This effect was independent of reported depression or drug/alcohol abuse although using neuroticism in the analysis as covariant slightly decreased this association (p=0.027, permutated p=0.052). These results suggest a significant effect of CNR1 on migraine headaches that might be related to the alteration of peripheral trigeminovascular activation. In addition, this is the first study to demonstrate the effectiveness of using trait components combinations to define extreme phenotypes with haplotype analysis in genetic association studies for migraine. However, further studies are needed to elucidate the role of CNR1 and the cannabinoid system in migraine.

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