Does Cannabis Really Work for Migraine Headaches?


As a migraine sufferer, I have lost hundreds of hours because of bad headaches that completely put me out of commission. I have been having them for as long as I can remember. Though when I was young, I didn’t get them nearly as often.

I have seen multiple doctors over the years for my headaches, but up until recently, I had never seen a specialist. But last year, the frequency of headaches became so bad that I had to see if there was a treatment that went beyond drugs to treat my symptoms.

I went to a neurologist who was referred to me by a family friend. The visit (like most doctor visits) only lasted about 10 minutes, but the treatment sounded promising. I was given the regular list of foods to avoid, but instead of treatment that focused on drugs like Imitrex and Fioricet treat headaches as needed, I was prescribed a daily dose of nortriptyline.

Nortriptyline was used as an anti-depressant at one time, and was later found to relieve migraines. It did indeed greatly reduce the frequency of my migraines. Unfortunately, one of the side effects is weight gain from eating.

I gained about 20 pounds on nortriptyline with no stop in sight. I was always hungry! I always craved sweets, and not in a normal way. The cravings were insatiable, and I would only stop after I started to feel sick.

Because of this, I decided to stop taking nortriptyline.

And to my surprise, the headaches didn’t return. The only explanation I have for this is that the cannabis I have been using daily (High CBD / Low THC flower) is helping to reduce headache frequency.

It has been almost 2 months now since I stopped taking nortriptyline, and I’ve only had one headache. Normally, I could have 8 to 10 bad headaches in that timespan.

But is it the Cannabis? I’m not a doctor, so I can’t say with any certainty whether or not something will help you. This is just my experience.

Out of curiosity, I decided to search for anecdotes on Reddit about using Marijuana to treat headaches.

Here are a few of the more helpful comments:

Honestly MMJ is the only thing that offers me true relief. I get Migraines and have fibromyalgia and smoking is the only thing that helps. The feeling of being high goes away the longer you smoke, and you’ll learn to function better. It’s proven that CBD in marijuana has 20x the anti inflammatory power of ibuprofen – Ssuburbanthrills

I find high cbd strains work really well, but others actually make it worse. Sativa strains that do not have a high cbd level make my migraine worse pain wise and usually dizzier. High cbd strains like charlotte’s web and harlequin can greatly diminish both the nausea and pain as well as helping me nap. I typically use high cbd pills, patches, and edibles as I find vaping flower material when I already have a migraine causes additional sinus issues which makes the headache worse. – Kitten12

For those not familiar, CBD is a non-psychoactive part of marijuana, and has been used to treat seizures. If you have heard news stories of Charolette’s Web, this is the type of marijuana I am talking about. Playing off a hunch, and the knowledge that some seizure meds are used to treat migraines, I have been regularly using a high CBD tincture, and have cut my topamax in half, while also cutting the number of migraines in half and when they do come they are less severe. The last one I was able to treat with ONE dose of excedrine (I was out of Immitrex) and it stayed away. – Gufyduck

I used to get migraines every month (hormonal related). I take literally 2-3 drops of CBD+THC oil (it’s a 1:1 ratio, I buy Dixie Elixirs “Synergy” tincture) and have had no migraines in 2 years. It’s not enough that I feel high or even a little buzz- but I’d very likely not pass a pee test. I’m not sure how it is with pain, since it completely stopped my migraines. – Socialpronk

Most of the commenters who had success using cannabis to treat headaches seem to use high CBD strains. And they certainly seem to agree with what I found.

Again, I can’t and won’t tell anyone what works and doesn’t work, but I think there is some pretty good anecdotal evidence here that supports taking a closer look.

Have you had success treating migraines with cannabis? Share your story or questions in the comments.

– Bud

Chardonnay CBD flower from CBD Hemp Direct