Medical Research

Topicals for Migraine

Caleb Summeril
Written by Caleb Summeril

Everyone has had a headache at one point or another. Whether it be simple pain or a severe and debilitating migraine, headaches are a common affliction that have been occurring as long as humankind has been in existence. Every day treatments in the form of over the counter drugs or a hot wash cloth on the forehead are all over the place while new treatments and methods for relief have been popping up in recent years. Of these new styles of headache relief, the use of cannabis, has been used and studied as a new alternative treatment and within the realm of cannabis offerings, topical cannabis products may be able to offer quick relief for a common problem.

There is a long history of the use of cannabis for headaches going back thousands of years into ancient cultures, including Mesopotamia and Greece. One ancient record even states that cannabis should be used to ‘bind the temples’ as a treatment for headache. [1] This dated account may in fact, describe a topical cannabis treatment being used and prescribed thousands of years ago.

The underlying cause of headaches are still not always fully understood and so there is also a lack of proven research to show what treatments are effective for specific headaches. Cannabis topicals show potential for relief in headache sufferers due to the ability of topical products to offer direct and localized treatment of an affected area. While this might not prove effect on all patients or all types of headaches, a simple rub of a lotion, balm, or salve on the temples, forehead, or neck has been claimed to provide relief for some common headaches.

Although the science behind how cannabis and topical cannabis products may be able to help with headaches needs further study, some headaches are caused by inflammation which cannabis has a direct and proven ability to assist with. If you are one of the millions of people who experience a headache, frequently or every once in a while, it might be worth trying out a topical product the next time your head is throbbing. It just might provide the relief you’ve been looking for.



  1. Russo E. Hemp for headache: an in-depth historical and scientific review of cannabis in migraine treatment. J Cannabis Ther. 2001;1:21-92

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Caleb Summeril

Caleb Summeril

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