Migraine Headaches

Migraine Headaches are severe, debilitating attacks of localize cranial pain often accompanied by distorted vision and gastrointestinal disturbance. Patients may be completely incapacitated for 12  hours or more in a severe attack.  Complete sedation is sometimes required to relieve the excruciating pain. 

Although the condition is little understood, migraines are thought to be cause by dilation of cranial arteries and may be associated with serotonin release from platelets in blood plasma.[1]Hotdogs and foods full of artificial preservatives are known to cause migraine attacks in some cases.[2]Physical and mental stress also contribute to the condition.  About 20% of the population have experienced migraines, and as many as 20% of migraine sufferers find no relief from conventional medications.

            Delta-9 THC (Marinol) is clinically shown to correct serotonin release in migraine sufferers.[3]Debilitating migraine headaches are also effectively controlled by marijuana in many reported cases.[4][5]Some migraine sufferers use cannabis at the onset of a migraine attack to relieve the severe pain. Others use cannabis as a preventative measure to control migraine attacks before they occur.

            Because of prohibition, only a few clinical studies of cannabis treatment for migraines have been done in recent years. However, there exists a wealth of reliable evidence in historical medical literature indicating that marijuana is effective in suppression of severe migraine headaches.[6[7][8]  Cannabis medications were the most common treatment for migraine headaches until 1937 when the age-old herbal remedy was prohibited in the United States.

            Related sections: Neuralgia, Replacement of Medications.


[1]Hannington, “Migraine, a blood disorder.” The Lancet, Vol. 1, No. 501, 1978

[2]Kaiser Permanente Public Information Release, KRCB Radio in San Francisco, July 7, 1998

[3]Volve, Dvilansky, and Nathan, “Cannabinoids Block Release of Serotonin from Platelets Induced by Plasma from Migraine Patients.” International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Vol. 4, pp. 243-46, 1985

[4]Grinspoon, “Marijuana and Migraine.” The Forbidden Medicine Website,

[5]Mikuriya, “Chronic Migraine Headache: five cases successfully treated with Marinol and/or illicit cannabis.” Berkeley, 1991, Source: Schaffer Library of Drug Policy,

[6]Mikuriya, Marijuana Medical Papers, 1839-1972, Oakland: Medi-Comp Press, 1973

[7] Grinspoon, op. cit.

[8Hodges, “Migraine.” The Forbidden Medicine Website,