Effects of Medical Marijuana on Migraine Headache Frequency in an Adult Population


No clinical trials are currently available that demonstrate the effects of marijuana on patients with migraine headache; however, the potential effects of cannabinoids on serotonin in the central nervous system indicate that marijuana may be a therapeutic alternative. Thus, the objective of this study was to describe the effects of medical marijuana on the monthly frequency of migraine headache.

Comprehensive Review of Medicinal Marijuana, Cannabinoids, and Therapeutic Implications in Medicine and Headache

To review the history of medicinal cannabis use, discuss the pharmacology and physiology of the endocannabinoid system and cannabis‐derived cannabinoids, perform a comprehensive literature review of the clinical uses of medicinal cannabis and cannabinoids with a focus on migraine and other headache disorders, and outline general clinical practice guidelines.

Cannabinoids Suitable for Migraine Prevention

A study presented at the Congress of the European Academy of Neurology in Amsterdam confirmed that cannabinoids are just as suitable as a prophylaxis for migraine attacks as other pharmaceutical treatments. Interestingly though, when it comes to treating acute cluster headaches they are only effective in patients that suffered from migraine in childhood.

Endocannabinoids and migraine



Experimental evidence demonstrates the antinociceptive action of endocannabinoids (eCBs) and their role in the modulation of trigeminovascular system activation, suggesting that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) may be dysfunctional in migraine, a neurovascular disorder characterized by recurrent episodic headaches.

Medicinal Properties of Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and Flavonoids in Cannabis, and Benefits in Migraine, Headache, and Pain

Review the medical literature for the use of cannabis/cannabinoids in the treatment of migraine, headache, facial pain, and other chronic pain syndromes, and for supporting evidence of a potential role in combatting the opioid epidemic. Review the medical literature involving major and minor cannabinoids, primary and secondary terpenes, and flavonoids that underlie the synergistic entourage effects of cannabis. Summarize the individual medicinal benefits of these substances, including analgesic and anti‐inflammatory properties.

Osler on Migraine

Did you know that Doctors began treating migraines with cannabis as early as the 1800s?
Sir William Osler is commonly referred to as the “Father of Modern Medicine” and wrote the famous medical textbook called The Principles and Practice of Medicine. He thought cannabis is “the most satisfactory” remedy for migraine. Read more here!

Study: The Use of Cannabis for Headache Disorders

Headache disorders are common, debilitating, and, in many cases, inadequately managed by existing treatments. Although clinical trials of cannabis for neuropathic pain have shown promising results, there has been limited research on its use, specifically for headache disorders. This review considers historical prescription practices, summarizes the existing reports on the use of cannabis for headache, and examines the preclinical literature exploring the role of exogenous and endogenous cannabinoids to alter headache pathophysiology. Currently, there is not enough evidence from well-designed clinical trials to support the use of cannabis for headache, but there are sufficient anecdotal and preliminary results, as well as plausible neurobiological mechanisms, to warrant properly designed clinical trials. Such trials are needed to determine short- and long-term efficacy for specific headache types, compatibility with existing treatments, optimal administration practices, as well as potential risks.

Study: Therapeutic Use of Cannabinoids - Dose Finding, Effects and Pilot Data of Effects in Chronic Migraine and Cluster Headache

A study presented at the Congress of the European Academy of Neurology has confirmed that cannabinoids are suitable for migraine prophylaxis. The study investigated the use of cannabinoids for migraine prevention as well as the treatment of migraine and acute cluster headaches.

New Study Confirms That Cannabis Can Help Migraine Sufferers

Cannabis has long been used for the treatment of migraines, but only in recent years have scientists closed in on the reasons why. A new study published this week from Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado looked at the effects of inhaled and ingested cannabis in migraine sufferers, and the results confirmed what previous studies had begun to unearth.

Medical Journal: History of non-drug treatment in headache, particularly migraine

Although new invasive procedures for the treatment of migraine have evolved during the past decades, the application of invasive procedures for this indication is not new. In this review, the history of non-drug treatments for migraine is discussed. Historical texts by physicians known to have written on headache and migraine (hemicrania), well-known books by physicians from the main historical periods up to 1900 and mainstream 20th century neurology handbooks were analysed. A large number of treatments have been tried, based on contemporaneous pathophysiological models that were not only applied to headache, but to medicine in general…

CrescoLabs Article: A helpful article on Migraines and Cannabis (includes great research links!)

A Brief Description
Marijuana is the best treatment for migraines, writes the father of internal medicine and founder of Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Sir William Osler, in “the Principles and Practice of Medicine” first published in 1892. He writes, “Cannabis indica is probably the most satisfactory remedy [for migraines].”

Not to be confused with a common headache, migraines are a neurological disorder characterized by a collection of symptoms that cause one of the most debilitating conditions suffered by humans. Less oxygen reaches the brain as a result of the restricted blood flow and higher levels of serotonin are produced. Platelets, the blood cells that aid in clotting, become stuck in the blood pathways as vessels outside the brain are contracted. There are two types of migraines: Classic and Common.

Study: Endocannabinoid System and Migraine Pain: An Update

Migraine is one of the most disabling painful conditions and a very common disorder (Global Burden of Disease, 2015). Although the pathophysiology of migraine is still largely elusive, the trigeminovascular system (TS) activation and the neurogenic inflammation of the dura mater are widely recognized as two key mechanisms underlying migraine attacks (Moskowitz, 1993).

Studies Claim Medical Cannabis Effective For Treating Migraines

A study published in the journal, Pharmacotherapy, aims to show that people suffering chronically from headaches could control their condition by using the right type, and amount, of medical cannabis.

Patterns of medicinal cannabis use, strain analysis, and substitution effect among patients with migraine, headache, arthritis, and chronic pain in a medicinal cannabis cohort

Medicinal cannabis registries typically report pain as the most common reason for use. It would be clinically useful to identify patterns of cannabis treatment in migraine and headache, as compared to arthritis and chronic pain, and to analyze preferred cannabis strains, biochemical profiles, and prescription medication substitutions with cannabis.

WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence Pre-Review: Cannabis plant and cannabis resin Section 4: Therapeutic use

1.2.8 Migraine and cluster headaches A preliminary investigation, which was presented at a scientific conference in 2017, found no difference between cannabis and amitriptyline for prophylaxis of cluster or migraine headaches, although the control arm might not represent optimal control therapy. In a subset of participants with a history of childhood migraine, acute administration of cannabis as abortive therapy decreased attack pain from both migraines and cluster headaches (22).

Cannabinoids and hallucinogens for headache

Hallucinogens and most cannabinoids are classified under schedule 1 of the Federal Controlled Substances Act 1970, along with heroin and ecstacy. Hence they cannot be prescribed by physicians, and by implication, have no accepted medical use with a high abuse potential. Despite their legal status, hallucinogens and cannabinoids are used by patients for relief of headache, helped by the growing number of American states that have legalized medical marijuana. Cannabinoids in particular have a long history of use in the abortive and prophylactic treatment of migraine before prohibition and are still used by patients as a migraine abortive in particular. Most practitioners are unaware of the prominence cannabis or “marijuana” once held in medical practice. Hallucinogens are being increasingly used by cluster headache patients outside of physician recommendation mainly to abort a cluster period and maintain quiescence for which there is considerable anecdotal success. The legal status of cannabinoids and hallucinogens has for a long time severely inhibited medical research, and there are still no blinded studies on headache subjects, from which we could assess true efficacy.

Cannabis for migraine treatment: the once and future prescription? An historical and scientific review

Cannabis, or Marijuana, has been used for centuries for both symptomatic and prophylactic treatment of migraine. It was highly esteemed as a headache remedy by the most prominent physicians of the age between 1874 and 1942, remaining part of the Western pharmacopoeia for this indication even into the mid-twentieth century. Current ethnobotanical and anecdotal references continue to refer to its efficacy for this malady, while biochemical studies of THC and anandamide have provided a scientific basis for such treatment. The author believes that controlled clinical trials of Cannabis in acute migraine treatment are warranted.

Endocannabinoids in platelets of chronic migraine patients and medication-overuse headache patients: relation with serotonin levels

Chronic migraine (CM) and medication-overuse headaches (MOH) are well-recognized disabling conditions affecting a significant portion of the headache population attending centers specialized in treating headaches. A dysfunctioning of the serotonergic system has been demonstrated in MOH and CM patients. Here we report on our assessment of the dysfunctioning of the endocannabinoid system as a potential underlying factor in pathogenic mechanisms involved in CM and MOH.

Endocannabinoids in chronic migraine: CSF findings suggest a system failure

Based on experimental evidence of the antinociceptive action of endocannabinoids and their role in the modulation of trigeminovascular system activation, we hypothesized that the endocannabinoid system may be dysfunctional in chronic migraine (CM). We examined whether the concentrations of N-arachidonoylethanolamide (anandamide, AEA), palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) in the CSF of patients with CM and with probable CM and probable analgesic-overuse headache (PCM+PAOH) are altered compared with control subjects. The above endocannabinoids were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and quantified by isotope dilution gas-chromatography/mass-spectrometry. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) levels were also determined by RIA method and the end products of nitric oxide (NO), the nitrites, by HPLC….