Does Cannabis Help Migraines? THC or CBD for Headaches

Medically reviewed by Dr. Brian Kessler, MD

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Migraines are a neurological disease that results in extreme pain. It’s a common misconception that migraines are just headaches. Instead, migraines are consistent headaches that qualify as a disorder.

It’s estimated that about 12% of Americans experience migraines. This neurological disease can manifest itself in different ways. Some people experience warning signs before a migraine begins, like excessive yawning or pain or stiffness in the neck, while others aren’t able to tell a migraine is coming until the pain begins.

Migraines are classified as a Type 1 headache, meaning that they don’t result from a separate medical condition. While it is possible for children to experience migraines, it’s much rarer, and the symptoms can vary.

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What Causes Migraines?

Genetics aren’t the only factor that can cause migraines, but they can play a key role in specific triggers, sensitivities, and pain duration.

There are a wide variety of potential causes for migraines, including:

  • Stress
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Certain foods or drinks (trigger foods are individual to each person)
  • Sleep changes
  • Anxiety
  • Jet lag
  • Dehydration

Migraine Signs & Symptoms

Migraines are fairly common and typically have very noticeable symptoms. If you are experiencing migraines, you may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Extreme head pain (it may be on only one side)
  • Constipation
  • Vision loss
  • Numbness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Light and/or sound sensitivity
  • Difficulty concentrating

How Cannabis Can Help Alleviate Migraines or Migraine Symptoms

cannabis for relief

Cannabis is more widely used than ever before, and its potential is continually being investigated. Consumers have long turned to cannabis to relieve a variety of different types of pain, which begs the question: does weed help with headaches?

Researchers have found that headache severity can be reduced by about 50% with the use of cannabis. Cannabis can even be helpful for those that experience chronic migraines.(1)

But there are lots of other treatment options available to migraine sufferers. This leaves many consumers wondering if cannabis is really a better option.

There are a few different things that set cannabis apart from other headache relief methods. Other migraine treatments, such as opioids, can be extremely addictive. Cannabis does not have the same extreme risk for addiction.

Additionally, cannabis has been shown to provide quick relief. In one study, 94% of participants reported symptom reduction within two hours.(2) Migraines can be debilitating, and getting fast relief is essential. Cannabis allows individuals to reduce their symptoms quickly, without the negative effects that many other treatment options present.

Many people have successfully reduced or eliminated their migraine symptoms through the use of THC and CBD. However, it is important to think about the effects of extended cannabis use for migraine help before beginning a cannabis regime. It is possible that repeated use could increase tolerance, making a routine dose less effective for pain relief. Thankfully, a qualified medical marijuana doctor can offer patients guidance to help them find the right product and dose for their needs.

Legality and Doctor’s Recommendation

To determine if your state considers migraines to be a qualifying condition for medical marijuana, check out our Laws & Regulations section for the medical cannabis rules for your state.

If you find that your state recognizes migraine or its symptoms as a qualifying medical condition, you can seek a doctor’s recommendation to get your medical cannabis card in your state.

How Nugg Can Help

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NuggMD is the nation's leading medical marijuana technology platform, serving patients in 21 states and growing. We’ve connected over 1,000,000 patients with their new medical marijuana doctors face-to-face via our state-of-the-art telemedicine platform. 

We believe that every human being has the right to explore the benefits of medical cannabis and are fully committed to helping each patient explore all of their options in their journey to wellness. For further information on whether you qualify for medical cannabis, select your state.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Cannabis & Migraines

Dealing with migraines can be overwhelming and it can be hard to find solutions. Many people turn to cannabis for help with pain. Here are some frequently asked questions about cannabis and migraines.

How can I know if cannabis will provide me with migraine help? 

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to guarantee that cannabis will be an effective solution for your migraines. Different bodies react to cannabis in various ways, making it difficult to predict the outcomes of cannabis use with certainty. However, many migraine sufferers have found relief with the use of medical cannabis, and it may be worth discussing with your doctor. If you’re not ready to explore the benefits of THC, non-psychoactive CBD for migraines can also be effective.

Is there a specific product I should use if I want to try CBD for migraine relief? 

Every CBD product is different. When purchasing products, it’s important to make sure that you’re buying from a trusted brand that is transparent about their ingredients and testing. Likewise, many consumers believe that cannabis-derived CBD offers greater benefits than hemp-derived cannabidiol due to what’s known as the entourage effect. If you aren’t sure where to start, ask your doctor about whether cannabis-derived CBD oil can help in your migraine treatment.

Is there a recommended dose when taking cannabis for migraines? 

There isn’t one standard dose that’s recommended for individuals struggling with migraines. Regardless of your reason for consuming cannabis, a good rule of thumb is to start with a very low dose and increase it if needed. Because it can take some time to feel the effects of cannabis, you should always wait the full recommended amount of time (up to 2 hours for edibles) before taking a second dose.

Will cannabis help my headaches the first time I take it? 

It is possible to get relief from cannabis the first time you use it, and some consumers experience relief in as little as 15 minutes. However, some people may not have the strongest effects the first time they use cannabis. Additionally, consuming too much too quickly – or consuming lower quality or dried-out cannabis flower – can irritate the throat, resulting in a coughing fit that might exacerbate your headache. For this reason, it’s recommended that you start with a low dose and increase only if you don’t get the relief you need.

Should I speak with my doctor about trying cannabis for my migraines? 

Yes! It’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor when trying a new treatment option, especially if you’re taking any other medications. Getting expert advice is a great way to find relief faster than you might be able to on your own. 


1. Cuttler, Carrie, Alexander Spradlin, Michael J. Cleveland, and Rebecca M. Craft. 2019. “Short- and Long-Term Effects of Cannabis on Headache and Migraine.” The Journal of Pain, November.

2. Stith, Sarah S., Jegason P. Diviant, Franco Brockelman, Keenan Keeling, Branden Hall, Storri Lucern, and Jacob M. Vigil. 2020. “Alleviative Effects of Cannabis Flower on Migraine and Headache.” Journal of Integrative Medicine, July.

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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