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  • Ashley Slimak

Medical Marijuana for Migraines

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

Migraine headaches are a common debilitating condition, causing severe throbbing or pulsation in the head or temple. Aside from the intense pain caused by migraines, people often experience nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms, dizziness, sensitivity to light and other symptoms.

Migraine can be triggered by a number of causes, including stress, drinks, foods, changes in weather, certain sensory stimuli and more. Although some individuals will suffer with migraines their entire life, medications and lifestyle changes over time can help prevent and treat migraines.

Research has shown that medical marijuana can significantly help ease the pain caused by migraines – or even keep them from starting. Click here to learn more about how to qualify for a medical marijuana card. In turn, cannabis can help mitigate the other side effects caused from the pain of migraines like nausea and anxiety.

Migraines and medical cannabis

Marijuana contains compounds called cannabinoids that help relieve pain. When a migraine sufferer uses marijuana, the cannabinoids identify receptors in his or her body and can calm down the pain receptors.

Cannabis can work as both a preventative and a treatment for migraines. Marijuana is particularly useful for stress-related migraines and can be used to prevent the onset of these migraines by relaxing muscles. When a migraine is already in progress, medical marijuana can be used to ease the pain.

It is said that inhaling marijuana is the most effective way to use it for migraine relief since the absorption comes much more quickly and doesn’t have to pass through the digestive system and can get into the bloodstream more quickly. However, CBD oils and other CBD products can also be an effective option to treat and prevent migraines.

The research on medical marijuana and chronic headaches

A recent study published in the Journal of Pain claims that headache and migraine ratings were reduced by nearly 50 percent after using cannabis.

The research that was published in November 2019 is the first of its kind to use real-time data from migraine sufferers. In addition, researchers did not find that higher doses were more, or less, effective than lower doses.

Another study published in the National Library of Medicine found that patients had a decrease in the number of migraines, which fell from 10.4 to 4.6 per month. The same study showed that around 85 percent of participants reported medical marijuana helped them have fewer migraines each month, and nearly 12 percent said it stopped their migraines altogether.

Finally, a study in Neurology found that medical marijuana played a safe role in improving headaches, reducing anxiety and improving sleep routine and mood. Additionally, this study found that users reduce or even replace the use of opioids prescribed for migraines when using medical marijuana.

So, what next?

More research and studies continue to be conducted to prove cannabis as an effective treatment for migraines and chronic headaches.

As always, it’s important to consult a physician to discuss changes to your medications. If you’re already taking prescription medicines but considering using medical cannabis as an alternative, speak with a medical marijuana doctor to learn more about the benefits and potential side effects.


If you are a Virginia resident suffering from a medical condition you think may benefit cannabis, you're likely eligible for medical marijuana treatment.

Click here to learn more about what Virginia Marijuana Card's state-certified medical marijuana doctors can do for you, or give us a call at (888) 633-5808 and our friendly support team can walk you through the entire process and schedule you for an evaluation appointment.

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