Growing evidence suggests cannabis could help migraine and headache symptoms. However, more research is necessary to confirm the efficacy of cannabis as a migraine treatment.
Migraine is a condition that typically involves headaches, among other symptoms. They are more than just a “bad headache” — they can be debilitating. Migraine may have a significant impact on daily life, making it difficult for people to work and perform everyday activities. While pharmaceutical interventions are available, researchers continue to investigate better treatment options and, perhaps one day, a cure.
Cannabis, also known as weed, refers to products of the Cannabis sativa plant. Two well-known components include cannabidiol and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or CBD and THC. Both of these substances interact with the endocannabinoid system and may offer a promising treatment option for treating the frequency and duration of migraine.
This article explores whether cannabis may be beneficial for treating migraine.
A 2022 review highlights evidence supporting the use of
Substances such as CBD and THC are also known as
Chronic pain affects between
Cannabis use is associated with various side effects and risks. According to the
- reduced attention span or lack of concentration
- impaired memory
- blurred vision
- nausea and vomiting
Additionally, the liver cytochrome P450 (CYP-450) system metabolizes THC and CBD in the body. This system also metabolizes many other drugs. As such, potential side effects are likely the result of
Under the Controlled Substances Act and the Drug Enforcement Agency, the U.S. government classifies cannabis as a
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 37 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia allow cannabis products for medical use. Additionally, 19 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia allow cannabis products for nonmedical use.
Laws surrounding the use of medical and recreational cannabis are changing rapidly. A person considering using cannabis should check their local laws regularly.
Currently, there is
The goal of acute migraine treatment is to stop the headache from worsening. Medications that form part of acute treatment may
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): These include drugs such as ibuprofen and aim to provide pain relief.
- Triptans: This type of medication includes drugs such as sumatriptan and aims to reduce pain symptoms by constricting blood vessels in the brain.
- Antiemetics: These include metoclopramide and chlorpromazine, which aim to reduce nausea and vomiting symptoms.
- Ergot alkaloids: These drugs include ergotamine and dihydroergotamine. These drugs work by preventing blood vessels from dilating and causing headaches.
Treatment for chronic migraine aims to reduce or prevent future migraine episodes and reduce the disabling effects of migraine. Medications for preventive treatment may
- Beta-blockers: Examples include metoprolol and propranolol, and work by slowing down the heart.
- Antidepressants: These include drugs such as amitriptyline and venlafaxine, which may help with depression or insomnia symptoms associated with migraine.
- Anticonvulsants: Examples include topiramate and valproate sodium. They may help with neurological symptoms associated with migraine, especially in people with epilepsy.
- Calcium channel blockers: These include verapamil and flunarizine and may help reduce migraine frequency.
Migraine can be unpleasant and significantly affect daily life. Typically, they include symptoms such as frequent, debilitating headaches, as well as other symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.
While more research is still necessary, evidence suggests that cannabis may offer a promising option for treating and reducing the frequency and duration of migraine symptoms.