Can Cannabis Reduce Migraine Pain


Migraine is a neurological condition that can cause various symptoms. Migraine pains are incapacitating. They can be too painful accompanied by the symptoms of nausea, loss of sensation, visual changes, and sensitivity to light. It is difficult to endure and difficult to treat. Though there are many medications available, some do not work well. The pathology of headache is complex. It is believed that migraine and chronic headaches start in the brain’s hypothalamus, brainstem, and possibly cortex.

With the increasing popularity of cannabis as a good pain reliever, there are evidences targeting cannabis as an effective treatment for chronic headaches or migraines. It has an established history from several decades pointing cannabis as a treatment for “diseases of the head” according to the Assyrian manuscript. As early as ninth century, it was recommended by prominent physicians in the Middle Ages and prescribed in Arabic pharmacology. Ever since cannabis got legalized in many states in the United States, weed delivery services have become a norm for recreational and medical users.

Current Strategies and Treatment for Migraine

1-2 percent of the global population suffers migraine pain. One of the ways to reducing the episodes of migraines is through identifying and avoiding its triggers. Though it differs to some people, healthcare providers recommend the following approaches to manage the frequency of migraine:

* Avoiding stress or practicing stress management
* Keeping away from bright lights
* Avoiding alcohol, caffeine and other dietary triggers
* Getting regular high quality sleep

Although not every treatment is suitable for everyone, certain medications can help decrease the intensity of migraines. These include over-the-counter medications used for pain relief, such as acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin, prescription drugs such as triptans and ergots, as well as beta-blockers, antidepressants, and Botox treatment.

What did the research say?

Some studies have demonstrated that cannabis may have beneficial effects on various types of chronic pain. Although THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are well-known compounds of cannabis, the plant also contains hundreds of beneficial components such as terpenes, phytocannabinoids and flavonoids. All of these help to relieve chronic pain.

A 2020 review show that CBD can help improve sleep problems, relieve chronic pain and lessen inflammation in some cases.

In November 2019, the Journal of Pain reported that cannabis reduced the severity of migraines and headaches by 50 percent. Cannabis, in the form of concentrates and vaporizers, offers noticeable relief than flowers. The study was driven via Carrie Cutler, assistant professor of psychology at Washington State University.

"We were roused to do this study in light of the fact that a generous number of individuals state they use cannabis for migraine and headache, but surprisingly few studies had addressed the topic,” as per Cutler.

In the same year, a study published by Neurology found that of 279 patients, 88.3% reported that the use of cannabis can relieve chronic headaches. Half of the patients observed improved sleep and reduced migraine frequency.

A 2016 report showed that medical marijuana can reduce the effect of migraines and headaches.

In 2018, a scientific study concluded that cannabis can have a promising relief for any types of pain, including migraine.

In 2017, it was inferred that there is sufficient evidence (albeit anecdotal) and preliminary findings that require more research and clinical trials.

Seminal studies from the University of Colorado and from Florence, Italy concluded that cannabis use was an efficacious treatment for providing headache relief. This is due to cannabis’ antiepileptic properties that can emphatically influence blood pressure.

What the data showed

Strainprint is a mobile app in which users track their before and after symptoms after using cannabis. This application can help patients record their manifestations and timestamp their cannabis utilization. More than 1,300 members followed changes in headache severity more than 12,200 times. Another 653 individuals have used the app more than 7,400 times. For migraine sufferers, they reported that cannabis reduced migraine attacks by 49 percent.

The Endocannabinoid System and Migraine

“There is mounting proof that the endocannabinoid system can directly reduce migraine pain when activated by naturally produced cannabinoids or medical cannabis taken by patients,” according to Dr. Jim Polston, who holds a PhD in Neuroscience and the Chief Science Officer at Helius Therapeutics.

Polston pointed out that cannabis can help reduce inflammation by reducing the release of pro-inflammatory substances that cause migraine attacks. Anandamide deficiency also contributes to causing chronic headaches. Anandamide is a natural cannabinoid produced in the brain that lessens inflammation and reduce the activity of pain centers.

Which delivery method is most effective?

Most research on cannabis as an alternative treatment for migraine is based on inhalation methods and oral administration.

"Despite the fact that comparing methods is required, we can conjecture from the current research that oral cannabis use may be adequate and should be attempted first to avoid smoking in certain patients. However, some patients may find inhalation useful for more rapid pain reduction as the onset of effects is faster,” advised Dr. Polston.

But inhalation and oral delivery are not the only effective methods. For others, sublingual delivery through tinctures placed under the tongue works best. And some preferred vaporizers for immediate relief.

In clinical studies, migraineurs (people with migraine) prefer hybrid strains with high THC and low CBD. This is due to the powerful anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antiemetic properties of THC. For full-blown migraines, indica dominant CBD strains are recommended. You do not want to feel high while suffering an intense headache.

The responses to cannabis vary for each individual. Some are only suitable for one person, while others are not.


While there are sufficient anecdotal and preliminary evidences, it is necessary that more studies should be conducted. If it proves to be valid, more information should be considered. One of those are the effective dosages, optimal administration practices, right formulation, and potential risks to each patient.

If you’re contemplating on taking cannabis as a treatment, make sure to talk to physicians with experience in cannabis medicine. You can find many weed delivery in Santa Monica and everywhere in Los Angeles for your cannabis needs.

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