Chronic Headaches and Cannabis: Finding A Natural Relief

It is estimated that there are over 45 million Americans that suffer from chronic headaches.  This can include tension, migraine and cluster headaches.  Most of the population knows what its like to have a headache once in awhile but millions of Americans face severe pain on a regular basis which can be difficult.  The other problem that chronic pain suffers face is that the medication they are prescribed stops working after building up a tolerance.

Many of the choices for headaches can have scary side effects.  Many patients seek a natural option.  It is important to look at all your treatment options as well as thoroughly knowing your illness.  Please feel free to share the truth with not only your friends but your doctor as well.  Many are not trained in the science of cannabis and do not realize what studies have already been conducted.  ~ Cherry Girl

Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD): can this concept explain therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions?
Migraine has numerous relationships to endocannabinoid function. Anandamide (AEA) potentiates 5-HT1A and inhibits 5-HT2A receptors supporting therapeutic efficacy in acute and preventive migraine treatment. Cannabinoids also demonstrate dopamine-blocking and anti-inflammatory effects. AEA is tonically active in the periaqueductal gray matter, a migraine generator. THC modulates glutamatergic neurotransmission via NMDA receptors. Fibromyalgia is now conceived as a central sensitization state with secondary hyperalgesia. Cannabinoids have similarly demonstrated the ability to block spinal, peripheral and gastrointestinal mechanisms that promote pain in headache, fibromyalgia, IBS and related disorders. The past and potential clinical utility of cannabis-based medicines in their treatment is discussed, as are further suggestions for experimental investigation of CECD via CSF examination and neuro-imaging.
Migraine, fibromyalgia, IBS and related conditions display common clinical, biochemical and pathophysiological patterns that suggest an underlying clinical endocannabinoid deficiency that may be suitably treated with cannabinoid medicines.

Degradation of Endocannabinoids in Chronic Migraine and Medication Overuse Headache
Chronic migraine (CM) is frequently associated with medication overuse headache (MOH). The endocannabinoid system plays a role in modulating pain including headache and is involved in the common neurobiological mechanism underlying drug addiction and reward system. Anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol are the most biologically active endocannabinoids, which bind to both central and peripheral cannabinoid receptors. The level of AEA in the extracellular space is controlled by cellular uptake via a specific AEA membrane transporter (AMT), followed by intracellular degradation by the enzyme AEA hydrolase (fatty acid amide hydrolase, FAAH). AMT and FAAH have also been characterized in human platelets. We assayed the activity of AMT and of FAAH in platelets isolated from four groups of subjects: MOH, CM without MOH, episodic migraine and controls. AMT and FAAH were significantly reduced in CM and MOH, compared to either controls or episodic migraine group. This latter finding was observed in both males and females with CM and MOH. Changes observed in the biochemical mechanisms degrading endogenous cannabinoids may reflect an adaptative behaviour induced by chronic headache and/or drug overuse.

Endocannabinoids in Chronic Migraine: CSF Findings Suggest A System Failure 
Based on experimental evidence of the antinociceptive action of endocannabinoids and their role in the modulation of trigeminovascular system activation, we hypothesized that the endocannabinoid system may be dysfunctional in chronic migraine (CM). We examined whether the concentrations of N-arachidonoylethanolamide (anandamide, AEA), palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) in the CSF of patients with CM and with probable CM and probable analgesic-overuse headache (PCM+PAOH) are altered compared with control subjects. The above endocannabinoids were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and quantified by isotope dilution gas-chromatography/mass-spectrometry. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) levels were also determined by RIA method and the end products of nitric oxide (NO), the nitrites, by HPLC. CSF concentrations of AEA were significantly lower and those of PEA slightly but significantly higher both in patients with CM and PCM+PAOH than in nonmigraineur controls (p<0.01 and p<0.02, respectively). A negative correlation was found between AEA and CGRP levels in CM and PCM+PAOH patients (r=0.59, p<0.01 and r=-0.65, p<0.007; respectively). A similar trend was observed between this endocannabinoid and nitrite levels. Reduced levels of AEA in the CSF of CM and PCM+PAOH patients may reflect an impairment of the endocannabinoid system in these patients, which may contribute to chronic head pain and seem to be related to increased CGRP and NO production. These findings support the potential role of the cannabinoid (CB)1 receptor as a possible therapeutic target in CM. 

The Endocannabinoid System and Migraine
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.

Cannabinoid (CB1) Receptor Activation Inhibits Trigeminovascular Neurons
Migraine is a common and disabling neurological disorder that involves activation or the perception of activation of the trigeminovascular system.  The data suggest that Cannabinoid receptors may have therapeutic potential in migraine, cluster headache, or other primary headaches, although the potential hazards of psychoactive side effects that accompany cannabinoid treatments may be complex to overcome.

Interictal Type 1 Cannabinoid Receptor Binding is Increased in Female Migraine Patients
It has been suggested that endocannabinoid deficiency may play a role in the pathophysiology of migraine. Conclusion: The increased interictal CB1R binding, especially in brain regions that exert top-down influences to modulate pain, supports the idea that endocannibinoid deficiency is present in female patients suffering from episodic migraine.

Cluster Attacks Responsive to Recreational Cannabis and Dronabinol
Pharmacological preparations of cannabinoid compounds have a variety of therapeutic uses in medicine, including different pain syndromes…We present a patient with cluster headache who was refractory to multiple acute and preventive medications but successfully aborted his attacks with recreational marijuana use. The beneficial effect may be related to the high concentration of cannabinoid receptors in the hypothalamus, which has been implicated as a site of dysfunction in neuroimaging studies of patients with cluster headache.

6 thoughts on “Chronic Headaches and Cannabis: Finding A Natural Relief

  1. Pingback: Targeting Our Endocannabinoid System:Search For Nature’s Cure | Cherry Girl

  2. Pingback: Our Endocannabinoid System: Key To Understanding The Human Body | Cherry Girl

  3. Pingback: Human Endocannabinoid System: Science’s Target For New Therapies | Cherry Girl

  4. Pingback: The Many Functions of the Human Endocannabinoid System And How Cannabis Can Help | Cherry Girl

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