A migraine is defined as a recurrent throbbing headache that typically affects one side of the head and is often accompanied by nausea and disturbed vision. So, can medical marijuana be used to treat migraines? Although the data is only beginning to be known, studies are showing very positive results in the correlation between medical marijuana and the reduction of migraines and/ or their effects.

How does it work?

Marijuana has natural compounds called cannabinoids. When you use it, these cannabinoids go into your body and look for the receptors. They change how the receptors work, and they can calm down pain signals.  So how can cannabis be used to combat migraines?  A study by Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado, the average number of migraine headaches decreased from 10.4 per month to 4.6. Almost 40% of subjects reported positive effects. 19.8% of subjects claimed medical marijuana helped to prevent migraines. 11.6% of subjects reported that cannabis stopped migraine headaches. About 85% of subjects reported having fewer migraines per month with cannabis. This is impressive data. Cannabis is also helpful in improving appetite, controlling nausea and vomiting, decreasing eye pressure and relieving overall pain caused by migraines.


The World Health Organization ranks migraines as the 19th most common disability, and migraine sufferers use twice the amount of prescription drugs and visit doctors and emergency rooms twice as often as those who don’t have the disorder. Since sufferers often attempt to search for the underlying causes of their disorder, they tend to spend additional healthcare costs on diagnostic testing, lab work, and various prescriptions to find answers. However, as cannabis begins to emerge as a viable and far less harmful option, not only can millions of people find safe and reliable relief but it may also lessen the devastating financial and health toll of the opioid crisis, according to Herb.com.


According to Migraine.com, more than a dozen states have laws allowing medical use of marijuana in certain cases, although it is not a U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved drug. In the state of California, migraine is listed in the state’s health and safety code as an illness that is acceptable for marijuana use.

Next Step

Leafly writes that the next frontier in this field of research is figuring out which cannabinoids, strains, and delivery methods are most effective in treating headaches and migraines. In the meantime, we’ll have to continue relying primarily on anecdotal evidence, which is looking very promising!