5 Ways Cannabis Affects Migraine Headache Disorder

A migraine is unlike any other type of headache. And just like the people it afflicts, a migraine can bring about unique, and often very uncomfortable, side effects.

For most migraine sufferers, their symptoms are characterized by intense head pain, lights and blind spots blocking their vision, and nausea. And when you have a migraine, you just want to find a dark room and lay down until it passes.

Whether you have occasional or frequent migraines, the goal remains the same — to make it end as quickly as possible. 

And if you’re sick of popping a pill or two every time a migraine comes on, we have good news for you:

Cannabis is a natural migraine reliever!

In fact, there are at least five ways cannabis affects migraine headache disorder. 

1. Cannabis Can Reduce Migraine Frequency

In an observational study on people who suffer frequent migraines, as in ten or more each month, participants took edible and inhaled cannabis along with a common migraine medication daily.

About 40% of the study participants reported that their migraine frequency reduced from ten per month to about four per month. 

A massive reduction in the number of monthly migraines certainly warrants further study, as it can significantly improve the wellbeing of frequent migraine sufferers.

Though further studies are needed, a case like this illustrates how cannabis can work in conjunction with common medications to potentially increase their efficacy. 

2. Cannabis Regulates Your Natural Endocannabinoid System

Our bodies produce endocannabinoids naturally, which are compounds that rule our endocannabinoid system. 

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) was so named by researchers who discovered how similar this part of the body’s nervous system and cannabis is, and how synergistically they can work together.

To illustrate how essential a healthy endocannabinoid system is, it effects:

  • The immune system
  • The digestive system
  • Memory
  • Metabolism
  • Pain receptors

And yes, possibly migraines! People who have migraines may very well have a dysfunctional endocannabinoid system. 

Various strains of cannabis, including CBD and THC, can stimulate the cannabinoid system and potentially put an end to migraines, once and for all.

3. Cannabis May Be a More Effective Treatment Than Pills 

Many people who suffer frequent migraines most likely take a pain-relieving pill. While OTC pills may do the trick for some, for others, these just don’t cut it.

After talking with their doctor, they most likely will receive a prescription for migraine medication in the form of an opioid pill. Opioids are well known these days for their many dangerous side effects, namely their addictive quality and the ease with which patients can misuse them.

While long-term side effects of medical cannabis are not certain, scientists do know that using medical cannabis is a lot safer than using opioids. 

Doctors who have replaced their patient’s opioid prescriptions with medical cannabis have even noted better pain management and overall better quality of life.   

You can learn more about the different effects of cannabis and opioids here. 

4. Cannabis Eases Eye Pain

As noted, one of the significant side effects of migraine headaches is troubled vision.

People who have chronic vision issues, like glaucoma, use medical marijuana to reduce pain and blurriness. 

Cannabis is helpful with eye issues since it reduces inflammation and eye pressure. These are things that migraine sufferers would be grateful for at the onset of a migraine headache. 

5. Cannabis Reduces Nausea

Nausea is a hallmark side effect of migraine headaches. And, one of the most unpleasant aspects of the affliction.

Studies show that a mix of CBD and THC cannabis reduces nausea in patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment. 

And while researchers are still trying to figure out why that is precisely, it is believed that cannabis increases serotonin levels. Serotonin is the hormone that makes us feel happy, while also improving our sleep and, yes, reducing nausea.


While lots of studies are still needed, there is plenty of research to suggest that cannabis can help reduce the pain and frequency of migraine headaches.

It works with our natural chemistry to boost our endocannabinoid system to ease pain, reduce inflammation, improve mood, and boost our immune system. 

Because of this, cannabis’s potential as a life-altering medicinal alternative is intriguing, from head to toe. 


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