A recent article published in August 2017 in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences reports new findings about how the kynurenine system and the endocannabinoid system interact. Future studies regarding these two systems might offer new insight into migraine headaches and possible new therapies used to treat them.
The dysfunction of the endocannabinoid system in the body has been proven through research to have a role in neurological disorders, inflammatory disorders and disorders that cause involuntary movement such as Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, and multiple sclerosis. Migraine headaches are the most common type of neurological disorder.
Studies have shown that these disorders can be treated with cannabinoids such as CBD which may decrease pain, nausea and tremors. CBD is one of nearly 100 cannabinoids or compounds from the cannabis plant which has multiple medical uses as documented by clinical studies. It can be beneficial in relieving pain, nausea and inflammation that occur with migraines. Cannabinoids bind with the receptors in the brain CB1 and CB2 which is thought to regulate the endocannabinoid system, resulting in a lessening of symptoms. Cannabis has been used as a pain reliever, particularly for migraine headaches, for years. This has been documented with both clinical and anecdotal evidence.
The kynurenine system (or pathway) is also thought to be involved in neurological symptoms, including migraines. Dysfunctional or blocked parts of the kynurenine pathway in the body are associated with genetic diseases like those listed above such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, multiple sclerosis, and possibly migraines as well. The endocannabinoid system and the kynurenine pathway may be linked in the way they work with certain receptors in the body, and with enzymes produced in both systems.
Currently, there are no studies that explain exactly how the kynurenine system and the endocannabinoid system work or communicate with each other in the body. But evidence shows that the two systems do overlap on several levels, and that is the area of interest for future studies aimed at treating migraine headaches. Studies targeting these systems and how they interact with regard to neurological symptoms may shed light on both the cause and treatment of migraines.