Complete Scientific Info: Marijuana For Migraines

Summary:  Will smoking weed help my headache?

  • A scientific study at the University of Colorado Department of Clinical Pharmacy (2016) studied 121 migraine sufferers. They found migraines decreased by about half in those treated with medical marijuana (Rhyne 2016)
  • States that legalize medical marijuana have a decrease in opioid usage(Dyer, 2018)
  • Marijuana was first used to treat chronic headaches in ancient Mesopotamia and continued in ancient Greece, Rome, India, and other places around the world.
  • How much cannabis use? For edibles about 35 mg of Sativa per pound of body weight. Smoked, 0.1 mg per pound of bodyweight. Check the dosage with your doctor.
  • Endocannabinoids modulate pain levels by affecting various pain-related neurotransmitter systems.
  • Inhaled marijuana worked better for migraines than edible pot.
  • Medical marijuana is legal is about 50% of states but each state has its own laws. See our page here to know which states have which liberal marijuana laws:
  • Long-term smoked marijuana with high THC levels may cause an increase in the risk of damage to kidneys and the heart from the temporary increase in blood pressure on initial smoke intake.
  • Short-term, marijuana smoked can cause dizziness and dry mouth.
  • THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids and terpenes may help in relieving migraines.

Figure 1.

Can You Get Medical Marijuana For Migraines?

What are migraines?

A migraine is a headache that is strong and severe. It is often in just one side of the head, and it pulsates causing misery for sufferers. Shaking movement and exercise can make the pulsating more painful.   It can be exacerbated by sunlight, loud sounds, or noxious fragrances. 15 percent of people worldwide may be affected by migraines, making this a global phenomenon with both genetic and environmental causes. The usual treatments are NSAIDs like Advil and Tylenol. Further treatments may include ergotamines, caffeine, and triptans, which are serotonin-agonist substances. Preventative treatments include beta-blockers like metoprolol, anticonvulsants like topiramate, and Depakote. Magnesium supplements may be of some use, as well as SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants for the prevention of migraines. Botox can be used for chronic forms of migraine. Pain can be intense. It can be so severe that it can cause disability in sufferers who can lose jobs, income, and productivity.  It can be associated with mood disorders like bipolar disorder. Migraines can be triggered by food, smells, strong emotion, or sunlight. A flood of activity first occurs in the affected brain area, then a reduction of blood flow follows for up to six hours. Headaches are associated with nausea for which medications like meclizine are typically prescribed.

Will smoking weed help my headache?

A study was done at the University of Colorado Pharmacy Department using medical marijuana to answer the question Will marijuana help with migraines?  Does smoking weed help with headaches?  A sample of 121 migraine sufferers was examined in the study. Can you get medical marijuana for migraines?  The answer is yes in states like California, Colorado, and Washington.  Every state has different laws. You can find out the laws in your state by seeing our site here:  This study showed that migraine frequencies were cut in half in the group that used medical marijuana. This is a powerful and significant treatment effect for migraine pain. Not many studies have been done on using pot for migraine pain due to the marijuana being a Schedule I Controlled Substance in the US. However, users have long used the cannabis bud for migraine relief for centuries. The dosage in this study may be equivalent to 0.01 mg per pound of weight of smoked Sativa bud to treat migraines. For edible forms, it may require 35 mg per pound of body weight. However, one needs to get a prescription from a doctor and a proper dosage should be worked out individually. It’s important to get the right strain prescribed by a doctor so that your medicinal marijuana is not causing a high risk of medication interactions.

How Does it Work?

Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD bind to cannabinoid receptors throughout the brain and nervous system. They interact with serotonin, dopaminergic, catecholamine, and endorphin receptors to modulate pain levels. They may block pain signals and nerve impulses that produce nausea as well as mental pain such as anxiety and depression. In the brain, cannabinoids may block the signals of pain coming from dilated blood vessels in the brain which become hypoxic (causing migraines and other types of headaches), lacking in blood flow and causing pain. This may in turn help restore blood flow and normal hemodynamics.

Pros and Cons of Marijuana Versus Standard Treatments

 Pros and Cons Compared to Standard Treatments
Cannabis Treatments                                                                                 Standard Treatments
Weed is natural. This natural treatment has been used for centuries and has evolved alongside animals in a symbiotic relationship. Therefore, the plant is able to interact with the animal nervous system in a mutually beneficial way. Standard treatments are largely synthetic.
  • Marijuana may have fewer side effects.
Standard treatments like NSAIDs may irritate the stomach lining and liver. Topiramate may cause paresthesia, strange sensations in the body. Depakote requires monitoring of liver enzymes. SSRI’s can have a withdrawal syndrome. Gabapentin and pregabalin can have withdrawal, tolerance, and addiction syndrome. Metoprolol and beta-blockers can slightly raise the risk of diabetes and cause fatigue.
  • Marijuana high can make the pain bearable even if it remains.
Standard treatments, when they don’t work, do not produce a high which can make the pain bearable. They can leave the patient still in pain and misery.
  • Marijuana has fewer side effects than opioids.
Opioids and other forms of overmedication are a problem in the treatment of migraines. Opioids can cause tolerance, withdrawal, addiction, and a switch to using street heroin. The US currently has an opioid epidemic. Some of these addicts may have begun with being treated for severe migraines so when the doctor cuts off their supply they switch to heroin off the streets to avoid the painful withdrawal and rebound of migraines. Studies have shown that places that legalize marijuana have a drop in deadly opioid use.

CBD Hemp Oil For Migraines: Does CBD Help Pain?

Some migraine sufferers want to avoid marijuana which contains THC which causes the high and psychoactive effects of marijuana. They are curious about CBD or cannabidiol. Can CBD oil cause headaches?  CBD or cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is dominant in hemp with little or no detectable THC. Cannabidiol has a low binding ability at C1 and C2 receptors but appears to increase the receptor density and interacts with a number of receptors including serotonin receptors. Although there is not yet scientific evidence for the efficacy of CBD in migraines there is plenty of anecdotal evidence. Also, the efficacy of CBD in treating related conditions such as anxiety and seizure disorders suggests that it may be efficacious as well in treating migraines.

cbd oil has changed my life
Figure 2.

This Reddit user is one of many people who claim to have found relief from migraines from non-psychoactive hemp oil. Hemp oil can be put in the cheek, under the tongue, swallowed in capsules, and even applied to the skin. Hemp oil which contains no THC may even be safe for children. Dosage should be calculated by consulting a doctor. Reddit users claim to take from 0.25 to 1ml of standard hemp oil. This user claims a reduction from 20 migraines per month to a little more than 5. That is a significant reduction. Hemp oil can have mild side effects mainly associated with its anticholinergic effect, similar to that of cannabis sativa. It can also cause sleepiness, feeling heavy, and drowsiness. CBD is the component of cannabis that moderates the stimulant effect of THC, so without the THC, it can have an overpowering relaxant effect. CBD can also be smoked, vaped, or added to foods. Ingestion of CBD is, therefore, hassle-free.


Different strains of marijuana have different effects. For migraines, you might want to try a strain with balanced CBD and THC. You can view all the different strains on our site here:

Balanced Strain The Harlequin weed strain has 15% CBD and 15% THC. This balanced strain might be where you want to start with your experimentation. This strain may knock your migraine right out.
High CBD, Low THC ACDC strain has 24% CBD, 6% THC. This strain will give you a slight, mellow high and a large dose of CBD relaxation. This might be what you want for a migraine if you want less psychoactive properties and more relaxing properties. Cannatonic also has high CBD and low THC. You can also get varieties of Cannatonic with no detectable THC.
High THC Alien OG is a strain for weed veterans. It packs a massive 28% THC and only 0.1% CBD. This strain will get you crazy high but might just be the thing to knock out a serious migraine.


If you are suffering from migraines work with your doctor to find the appropriate treatment. Your doctor can prescribe a strain of medical marijuana which he has seen work in other patients. CBD oils can be ordered online and strains with no THC are legal in most states. You deserve to live a life with less pain. It is your choice and your right to use natural substances that provide relief.


Dyer, O. (2018). Opioid prescriptions decreased in US states where marijuana was legally accessible. BMJ, 361. Retrieved 9 19, 2018, from

Rhyne DN, Anderson SL, Gedde M, Borgelt LM. Effects of Medical Marijuana on Migraine Headache Frequency in an Adult Population. Pharmacotherapy. 2016 May;36(5):505-10. doi: 10.1002/phar.1673. Epub 2016 Jan 9. PubMed PMID: 26749285.

This article about Medical Marijuana was published on and updated on October 27, 2022 . Medical facts in this article was checked and article was medically reviewed by our . Author of this checked article is
Need to Pass a Drug Test?
Toxin Rid 10 Day Detox Program
Aloe Toxin Rid Shampoo + Zydot Ultra CleanMega Clean + PreCleanse Pills
Powdered Human Urine
toxin rid cannabis detox kit
Aloe toxin rid and zydot ultra clean
MegaClean THC detox drink
Powdered Urine Kit
$189.95 $209.99$235.90$69.95$43.95
More information
More information
More information
More information