Brazilian Journal of Pain
Brazilian Journal of Pain
Review Article

Chronic headache and cannabinoids use: myths and truths

Cefaleia crônica e uso de canabinoides: mitos e verdades

Natally Marques Santiago; Yara Maria Lima

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The use of cannabis for medical purposes is known since ancient times. The endocannabinoid system is present throughout central and peripheral nervous system and plays a role in many important regulatory physiological processes like immune function, synaptic plasticity, pain and regulation of stress and emotion, among others. Due to its wide distribution and according to researches, cannabis can be indicated for symptoms management in different disorders such as chronic pain, headache, epilepsy, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders. The primary cannabinoids studied to date include delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV). The active ingredients in cannabis include flavonoids, terpenes, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) and they are able to act within the endocannabinoid system and decrease nociception and also the frequency of the symptoms. The purpose of the article is to document the validity of how medical cannabis can be utilized as an alternative therapy for chronic headache management and enlighten about false beliefs regarding its use.
CONTENTS: Sixty-four relevant articles were selected after a thorough screening process using PubMed and Google Scholar databases. The following keywords were used: “Cannabis”, “Medical Marijuana”, “Headache”, “Migraine”, “Cannabis and Migraine”, “Cannabis and Headache”. This literature study demonstrates that medical cannabis use decreases migraine duration and frequency and headaches of unknown origin.
CONCLUSION: Patients suffering from migraines and related conditions may benefit from medical cannabis therapy due to its convenience and efficacy.


Cannabis, Endocannabinoids, Headache, Medical marijuana, Migraine disorders


JUSTIFICATIVA E OBJETIVOS: O uso da cannabis medicinal é conhecido desde a antiguidade. O sistema endocanabinoide está distribuído no sistema nervoso central e periférico e atua como importante regulador em processos fisiológicos como função imune, plasticidade sináptica, regulação da dor e das emoções/estresse, entre outros. Devido à sua ampla distribuição e, de acordo com pesquisas, a cannabis pode ser indicada no manejo de sintomas em diferentes condições, como dor crônica, cefaleias, epilepsia, ansiedade e outras doenças psiquiátricas. Os canabinoides primários estudados são o 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabinol (CBN), canabigeral (CBG), e a tetrahidrocannabivarina (THCV). Os ingredientes ativos da cannabis incluem flavonoides, terpenos, delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), canabidiol (CBD), e eles são capazes de agir dentro do sistema endocanabinoide e diminuir a nocicepção e a frequência dos sintomas. O objetivo deste estudo foi documentar a validade de como a cannabis medicinal pode ser utilizada como terapia alternativa para o manejo da cefaleia crônica, além de esclarecer sobre falsas crenças ligadas a seu uso. 
CONTEÚDO: Sessenta e quatro artigos foram selecionados por meio de pesquisa nas bases de dados Pubmed e Google Scholar. As seguintes palavras-chave foram usadas: “Cannabis”, “Maconha Medicinal”, “Cefaleia”, “Enxaqueca”, “Cannabis e Enxaqueca”, “Cannabis e Cefaleia”. A literatura mostra que o uso da cannabis medicinal reduz a duração e a frequência da enxaqueca e das cefaleias de origens não conhecidas. 
CONCLUSÃO: Pacientes sofrendo com enxaqueca e condições relacionadas podem se beneficiar da terapia com cannabis devido à sua conveniência e eficácia. 


Cefaleia, Cannabis, Enxaqueca com aura, Enxaqueca sem aura, Maconha medicinal


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