Medically reviewed by Alexander Tabibi, MD
September 8, 2023

Migraines are debilitating headaches that affect millions of people worldwide. Characterized by intense pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound, migraines can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life and productivity. For many migraine sufferers, finding effective relief is a constant struggle. While traditional treatments exist, they may not work for everyone and can sometimes come with unwanted side effects. In recent years, medical cannabis has gained attention as a potential alternative for migraine management, offering hope to those seeking more natural solutions.

This post is intended as information and for general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is recommended that you talk to a healthcare professional about this before introducing cannabinoids into your daily routine (especially if you have been diagnosed with any medical conditions or are under any medication). It is not recommended to drive or operate any machinery when using cannabis- or hemp-derived products. Use responsibly!

Understanding Migraines and Cannabis

Migraines are complex neurological conditions that involve abnormal brain activity. They can be triggered by various factors, including stress, hormonal changes, certain foods, and environmental stimuli. The endocannabinoid system (ECS), present in our bodies, plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes, including pain perception. Cannabis contains several compounds, including cannabinoids like THC and CBD, which interact with the ECS and may offer relief to migraine sufferers.

CBD THC and Other Cannabinoids for Migraines

CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis that has garnered significant attention for its potential therapeutic benefits. Studies suggest that CBD may have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, making it promising for reducing migraine-related inflammation and alleviating pain. Additionally, CBD’s interaction with serotonin receptors may help in preventing migraine attacks and managing symptoms.

On the other hand, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, responsible for the “high” commonly associated with marijuana use. THC’s pain-relieving properties make it relevant for addressing migraine symptoms, and its impact on mood and anxiety may also be beneficial for some migraine patients. Other cannabinoids like CBG (cannabigerol) and CBN (cannabinol) also show potential benefits for migraines, but further research is needed to understand their specific effects fully.

The Entourage Effect and Its Impact on Migraine Treatment

The entourage effect refers to the synergistic interaction of different cannabis compounds, such as cannabinoids and terpenes, which enhances the overall therapeutic effects of the plant. When choosing strains for migraines, considering the entourage effect becomes essential. The combination of specific cannabinoids and terpenes can influence the type and extent of relief experienced by migraine sufferers. Opting for strains with balanced cannabinoid profiles can maximize the entourage effect and provide comprehensive relief for different migraine symptoms.

Best Cannabis Strains for Migraines

Indica vs. Sativa

Indica strains are known for their calming and relaxing effects, which can be beneficial for migraine sufferers experiencing stress and tension-related headaches. Sativa strains, on the other hand, are often associated with uplifting and energizing effects. Hybrid strains offer a combination of both Indica and Sativa effects, providing a more versatile option for migraine relief.

Strains with High CBD Content and Their Benefits for Migraines

For those seeking pain relief without significant psychoactive effects, CBD-dominant strains are an excellent choice. These strains may reduce inflammation and alleviate migraine-related pain while keeping the mind clear, making them suitable for daytime use.

Strains with High THC Content and Their Potential for Migraine Relief

THC-dominant strains can be effective for managing pain during severe migraine attacks. However, individuals should be mindful of THC’s psychoactive effects, which may not be well-tolerated by everyone.

Balanced CBD/THC Strains and Their Efficacy in Treating Migraines

Strains with a balanced CBD-to-THC ratio offer a harmonious combination of pain relief and minimal psychoactive effects. This balance may provide well-rounded relief for different migraine symptoms, making them a popular choice for some migraine sufferers.

Top Terpenes for Migraine Relief

Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in cannabis that contribute to its distinct smells and flavors. They also work with cannabinoids to enhance therapeutic effects. Some terpenes are particularly beneficial for migraine relief.


Myrcene is a common terpene found in cannabis strains, and it may offer anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Additionally, Myrcene’s relaxing effects may help reduce migraine triggers stemming from stress and tension.


Limonene, with its citrus aroma, may have mood-enhancing effects and help reduce stress. This terpene can complement other cannabinoids in providing relief to migraine sufferers.


Caryophyllene is present in various plants, including cannabis, and has potential anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. Including strains rich in Caryophyllene may contribute to the overall effectiveness of cannabis for migraines.

Recommended Consumption Methods

Various consumption methods exist for using medical cannabis for migraine relief, each with its benefits and considerations.

Smoking and Vaporizing

Smoking and vaporizing offer rapid relief during a migraine attack, but they may cause lung irritation and provide short-lasting effects.

Edibles and Tinctures

Edibles and tinctures offer longer-lasting effects, making them suitable for sustained relief during migraine attacks. However, their delayed onset requires careful dosing and patience.


Cannabis-infused topicals, such as creams and balms, are applied directly to the affected area for localized pain relief during migraines.

Dosing Guidelines

Starting with a low dose and gradually increasing if necessary is essential when using cannabis for migraine relief. Different consumption methods may require different dosing ranges, and individual tolerance and metabolism play a significant role in determining the right dose.

Case Studies and Patient Testimonials

Real-life experiences of migraine patients using cannabis for relief

Several case studies and patient testimonials highlight the efficacy of medical cannabis in relieving migraine symptoms. Different strains and consumption methods were used, and positive outcomes were reported.

Different Strains and Their Effects on Individual Cases

Migraine management is a personalized journey, and certain strains may work better for some patients than others. Factors like individual needs and preferences should be considered when choosing strains.

Success Stories and Potential Pitfalls to Be Aware Of

Success stories underscore the potential of cannabis for migraine relief, but it’s crucial to be aware of potential challenges and adverse reactions reported by some individuals. Consulting medical professionals is essential for personalized guidance.

Potential Risks and Precautions

Possible side effects of using cannabis for migraines

Common side effects associated with THC and CBD consumption should be taken into account. Certain individuals may be more susceptible to these side effects.

Interactions with Medications

Cannabis may interact with certain prescription medications used to treat migraines, necessitating consultation with healthcare providers before use.

Safe Consumption Practices and Responsible Use

General guidelines for responsible cannabis use for migraine management

Safe and responsible cannabis use should always be practiced. Legal compliance and avoiding illegal products are essential for ensuring safety.

Other Lifestyle Changes for Migraine Management

Complementary therapies and lifestyle adjustments

Complementary therapies like acupuncture, yoga, and biofeedback may enhance the effects of cannabis-based migraine management.