Migraine Treatment: Is Cannabis A Potential Solution?

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 28 October 2022, Updated on - 10 December 2022

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Most of us know cannabis or marijuana as a recreational drug but do you also know that it is being considered for the treatment of migraine? Yes, that's true. Read on to learn how cannabis plays a role in reducing pain in migraine.

NOTE: Consumption and possession of cannabis are illegal in India. We do not promote the use of marijuana in any manner.

What is Cannabis?

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is a psychoactive drug made by harvesting the flowers of three plant groups, Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Studies have shown that cannabis can be used to ease pain in several medical conditions like cancer, painful surgeries, chronic headaches, and even migraine.

Can Cannabis be used for the treatment of migraine?

Cannabis is made up of 120 individual components known as cannabinoids. Two of these compounds, Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), are found to be most active in inhibiting pain-causing cells. Recent studies have shown cannabis has promising results in reducing nagging migraine headaches. Migraine is a type of throbbing, pulsating pain, usually experienced on one side of the head.

A 2019 study, investigating the effect of CBD on migraine, found that CBD significantly reduced the number and severity of migraine attacks in those who consumed the drug compared to those who took a placebo. However, further studies on a larger population are needed to establish the beneficial effect of cannabis on migraine.

How does cannabis help with migraine?

Several potential mechanisms could explain why cannabis is so effective in treating migraines. Some of these include: 

  • Cannabis reduces inflammation, which is thought to play a role in the development of migraines. 
  • Cannabis is also known to have pain-relieving properties, which could help to relieve the severe pain associated with migraines.

If you are considering using cannabis to treat migraines, it is essential to consult with a medical professional first.

Controversy regarding medical usage of cannabis

Cannabis has been classified as a Schedule I drug by the Controlled Substances Act and the Drug Enforcement Agency. This means that cannabis can be abused and cause addiction, therefore, it has been prohibited for medical use. However, in recent years, more and more countries are now legalising the use of cannabis for medical purposes.

Moreover, due to the limited studies quantifying the beneficial effects of Cannabis for medical purposes. Doctors need to be cautious during its usage and would require thorough workup for individual patient cases.

Cannabis has not been introduced as a treatment option for migraine yet. Meanwhile, if you suffer from chronic migraine and want to try any new medication,

Consult An Apollo Neurologist


Medically reviewed by Dr Sonia Bhatt.



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