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Medical Marijuana and Headaches, Cluster

Cluster Headache and Medical Marijuana Research

Very limited research has been done in regard to medical marijuana for treatment of cluster headaches. However, there is some indication that it could help with this condition. It has been observed that the hypothalamus may be, at least in part, responsible for producing cluster headaches. The hypothalamus has endocannabinoid receptors, which the active components in medical marijuana attach to causing the many beneficial and negative responses experienced by medical and recreational marijuana users. If medical marijuana can affect change in the areas causing cluster headaches, it may be able to alter the course of cluster headaches, relieve them or even stop them.

A case study published in "Headache" by a group of researchers at the Montefiore Headache Center, Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine indicated that cluster headaches could be stopped by inhaling medical marijuana. During the course of a headache, the study's subject would inhale marijuana and experience cessation of the headache within minutes of administration. Furthermore, when synthetic THC in the form of dronabinol was administered instead, the subject experienced identical results. 

This patient experienced results with medical marijuana despite having had no relief from medications typically prescribed for cluster headaches. If continued research shows similar results in other cluster headaches sufferers, this could be a huge breakthrough for these unfortunate individuals, particularly those who do not respond to traditional treatment. More research is required to determine whether other synthetic marijuana medications will produce the same results. 

Cluster Headaches and Medical Marijuana Studies

This study on its own is not sufficient to determine whether medical marijuana will help a significant portion of cluster headache sufferers. It involved a single participant. However, the treatment of a similar type of headache -- migraine -- with medical marijuana has been more extensively studied and has produced promising results. 

Marijuana is very mild as a pain reliever. It does not have even close to the same effect as opiates. However, it is safe in the respect that it cannot produce overdose or death. It also has much more potential in other departments apart from pain relief. It is quite likely in many conditions that marijuana can attack the root of the problem not just the pain, as with glaucoma. This is thought to be the case with the successful treatment of cluster headaches with medical marijuana as well. It is mild pain relieving effects certainly would not work on such an excruciating condition as a pain reliever. Nonetheless, the pain ceased. That indicates that marijuana can treat the immediate cause of the pain.

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