A preliminary study has found that people with severe migraines who take cannabis products are more likely to deal with rebounds of headaches as compared to those who do not use such products. However, the study has uncovered a link between cannabis use and rebound headaches but it is uncertain whether cannabis directly causes rebound headaches. The study has not been able to find what types of cannabis products are highly linked to this issue. A rebound headache is known as medication overuse headache (MOH) as well. This type of headache takes place when a person who has a headache disorder such as severe migraine is diagnosed with a new type of headache or their existing disorder majorly worsens over time as they have been taking medicines for headache quite frequently. This is how the International Classification of headaches Disorders (ICHD) has tagged rebound headaches. Experts have said that an official diagnosis of rebound headaches shows that a patient has been overusing one or two drugs to treat their headaches for more than three months. It means taking pain-relieving or anti-migraine drugs more than two or three days a week. People who are formally diagnosed with rebound headaches deal with frequent headaches for 15 or more days each month. Doctors have said that rebound headaches usually stop if patients refrain from overusing such medicines.
Experts, who have been involved in the study, have said that around 1 to 3 percent of people in the general population and about one-third of patients who are treated for headaches in specialized clinics are affected by such kinds of headaches. The lead author of the study, Dr. Niushen Zhang, the director of the Headache Fellowship Program at Stanford University School of Medicine, along with her colleagues has found the people with severe migraines, who use cannabis are at six times higher risk of being diagnosed with rebound headaches. On the other hand, people with a severe migraine, who do not use cannabis-based products, are less likely to experience rebound headaches. The authors of the study are going to share their findings at the 73rd meeting of the American Academy of Neurology. This meeting will be held in April 2021. The lead author of the study has said that the findings show a potential link between cannabis use and MOH in people with severe migraines. However, the study is still in its initial stage, therefore it is unclear whether patients have been taking cannabis to treat rebound headaches, or cannabis is playing a role in triggering medication overuse headaches.
Other experts have said that there is a need for more studies to determine whether cannabis leads to the growth of rebound headaches. The lead author of the study has said that it will be too soon to provide any recommendations based on preliminary findings. After seeing a number of patients who are dealing with migraines and MOH using cannabis, Zhang and her colleagues have launched this study.