Cannabis for Headache

Written by Dr Cailtin Holtby, March 2018
University of Calgary Headache Program

Key Points

  • The cannabis plant contains over a hundred different cannabinoids
  • Laboratory studies have shown that the body’s natural cannabinoid system is active in parts of the brain involved in the generation of migraine
  • Cannabis should not be used by children and adolescents given risks to brain development
  • discussion on Obtaining a Cannabis Prescription
  • The decision to try cannabis is yours to make

What is Cannabis?

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in the human body and in the plant cannabis, also known as marijuana. In the human body there are natural cannabinoids acting on receptors in the brain. The cannabinoid system does modulate pain and mood. It also plays a role in vascular tone, temperature regulation, and appetite.

The cannabis plant contains more than a hundred different cannabinoids. The ones that we know the most about are called Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).

THC is thought to have potential anti-inflammatory effects and a role in pain reduction, though it may also lead to the psychiatric symptoms associated with cannabis. CBD may reduce pain and inflammation, as well as prevent nausea and reduce anxiety.

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The book Chronic Daily Headache features
an article reviewed by a Headache Neurologist
entitled "Why Some Headache Patients do
not Improve"!