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Can Medical Marijuana Help with Migraines?

  • Migraines are a pervasive condition that can incapacitate you for days at a time, causing intense pain, nausea, sensory issues, and more.
  • Marijuana targets migraine symptoms on multiple fronts because of the various ways its chemical compounds (cannabinoids) interact with your internal stabilizing system (the endocannabinoid system).
  • Luckily, many states either explicitly or implicitly allow patients to access medical marijuana for migraines.

You’ve learned to recognize the signs, and you’ve tried all the home remedies and over-the-counter pain medications you can find, but you still can’t get migraines out of your head.

Left unchecked, chronic migraines can isolate you and disrupt important life events. If you’re spending more time in a quiet, dark room fending off head pain than you are out and enjoying the world, it may be time to seek treatment.

Unlike other migraine medications, marijuana can provide a holistic solution to multiple migraine symptoms, including pain, nausea, and sleeplessness. TeleLeaf is here to tell you how it works and how to get started.

Migraines: A Painful and Pervasive Condition

Migraines are incredibly common; they affect 12% of people in the US alone. However, migraines are a multifaceted condition. Your experience may be quite different from someone else’s, and your own experience may vary between each episode.

While migraines are most commonly associated with intense head pain, they can also involve:

  • Nausea
  • Sensory sensitivities (to noise, light, and smells)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Vision and hearing impairments
  • Mood and concentration issues
  • Problems with sleeping

Typically, migraines last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours. If you factor in the prodrome and postdrome times (the symptoms you experience before and after the headache phase of a migraine), that adds up to a lot of your valuable time lost.

Whether you experience migraines once a year or once a week, there’s no denying how painful and disruptive they can be. So, what can you do to avoid the literal and metaphorical headache that migraines cause?

How Cannabis Naturally Relieves Migraine Pain

Right now, in your body, you have signaling compounds called endocannabinoids influencing important internal functions such as:

  • Pain
  • Mood
  • Appetite
  • Sleep
  • Inflammation
  • Immune responses

This internal signaling and balancing act is known as your endocannabinoid system (ECS). It jumps into action when endocannabinoids bind to receptors found in your central and peripheral nervous systems.

There’s another living thing that also contains cannabinoids: the cannabis plant.

These cannabinoids aren’t made in your body, but they interact with your ECS in the same way endocannabinoids do. The two main cannabinoids found in cannabis are:

  1. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – THC binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which relieves pain, stimulates appetite (which eliminates nausea), elevates mood, and produces a psychoactive high, which cannabis users often describe as a euphoric feeling.
  2. Cannabidiol (CBD) – CBD doesn’t bind to either endocannabinoid receptor. Instead, it’s thought to halt the breakdown of endocannabinoids, which allows them to continue positively affecting the body. CBD also relieves pain and nausea and elevates mood without the high of THC.

While the exact cause of migraines is still unknown, researchers believe that it might have something to do with endocannabinoid deficiency, or low levels of endocannabinoids in the body.

Many people with chronic migraines have reported that marijuana significantly reduces both migraine pain and frequency. For a condition that’s notoriously hard to treat and prevent, marijuana and its impact on the ECS may be the missing piece to the puzzle.

Other Migraine Symptoms Cannabis Can Treat

When you use cannabis for migraines, you’re not only treating headache pain. The cannabinoids and other chemical compounds present in cannabis can also:

  • Reduce nausea – If you’ve ever felt nauseous during a migraine, you know that it can take your experience from bad to worse. Luckily, cannabis is known to help: one of the most successful applications of medical marijuana is to reduce nausea and promote appetite for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.
  • Lower inflammation – Headaches and migraines are thought to be triggered by nerves sending pain signals to your brain. When your brain senses pain, it jumpstarts its inflammatory response, which causes all those nasty migraine symptoms. But an anti-inflammatory like cannabis will subdue this response.
  • Elevate your mood – Migraines are often triggered by stress and hormonal fluctuations. During the prodrome (pre-migraine) period, you may also experience mood changes. Certain strains of cannabis produce a euphoric sensation which can counterbalance negative emotions and responses to stress.
  • Help you fall asleep – Sleep troubles most commonly occur both before and during a migraine. Cannabis helps by soothing physical and emotional stress, allowing many users to drift off and sleep soundly despite migraine symptoms.

With the all-encompassing benefits of cannabis, it’s no wonder why many patients are turning away from Western medicine and looking to medical marijuana for total migraine relief and prevention.

Medical Marijuana as an Effective Alternative to Migraine Medications

There are two types of prescription migraine medications:

  1. Ones that treat migraine symptoms as they’re happening
  2. Ones that prevent migraines from occurring

As you now know, marijuana is equipped to do both.

If you’ve suffered from migraines for a long time, you may not even be able to count the number of medications and remedies you’ve tried. Over-the-counter options aren’t always potent enough to satisfyingly relieve pain, and prescription drugs often come with undesirable side effects like nausea, dizziness, fatigue, weight changes, and more.

Don’t think that you’ve exhausted all your options: you can use marijuana for migraines in a safe, non-addictive, holistic way. Plus, the wide variety of products and strains means you and your doctor can tailor a treatment plan that does everything you want—and nothing you don’t.

Best Cannabis Strains for Migraines

The cannabis plant has a wide variety of subtypes, with hundreds of chemical compound combinations that all produce different healing effects. So when it comes to migraine relief, you have plenty of choices.

The main cannabis strains include:

  • Sativa strains – Sativa is generally high in THC and low in CBD. It can be helpful for migraine sufferers who want powerful pain relief and an energizing mood boost.
  • Indica strains – Indica has higher CBD content, which can help reduce head inflammation and pain, and give you a great night’s sleep, too.
  • Hybrid strains – Hybrids combine the effects of sativa and indica strains, which creates an even more unique healing experience depending on the THC and CBD levels.

The strain you use ultimately hinges on your personal preferences. It may also depend on:

  • How your symptoms are currently presenting
  • The time of day you’re using

Like with other medications, your experience with certain forms of medical marijuana may be different from others. To find out if this treatment is the best option for you, speak to your primary care provider or one of TeleLeaf’s experienced medical marijuana clinicians.

Can You Get a Medical Card for Migraines?

With all the soothing potential marijuana has to offer to those with chronic migraines, it only makes sense that you’d be able to obtain a medical recommendation for it.

There are several states that include migraines explicitly as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. They are:

  • California
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey

If you don’t live in one of these states, you may still be able to access medical marijuana. Many state programs also cover conditions that can cause migraines, like traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), cancer, chronic pain, mental health issues, and more.

Additionally, in some states, like Louisiana, you can receive a medical recommendation for any condition that a doctor believes marijuana could treat effectively.

Ready to find out if your migraines qualify you for medical marijuana use? TeleLeaf is here to help.

Obtain Your Medical Marijuana Recommendation Today with TeleLeaf

When you’re dealing with chronic migraines, it’s never too soon to begin your healing journey. And with TeleLeaf, that journey has never been easier.

TeleLeaf connects you with the best medical marijuana physicians in your state who can quickly assess your condition and approve you for a medical card on the same day of your appointment. Better yet, you don’t even have to leave your home: everything is done virtually and conveniently on your schedule.

Make your appointment today and learn why so many patients turn to TeleLeaf for expert, efficient, and compassionate service.


Cleveland Clinic. Migraine Headaches.

Healthline. A Simple Guide to the Endocannabinoid System.

The University of Arizona Health Sciences. Uncovering a Connection Between Cannabinoids and Migraine.

RxList. Migraine Medications.

Mary & Main. Weed Strains to End Migraines. State-by-State Medical Marijuana Laws.

Louisiana State Legislature. PART X-E. THERAPEUTIC USE OF MARIJUANA.

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