Which Cannabis Strains Treat Headaches Best?

Whether you suffer from frequent migraines or just the occasional garden-variety headache, we’ve all wished we had a way to get rid of them. Tylenol and ibuprofen can help a bit, but oftentimes they just aren’t enough, and more hardcore medications like opioids could be overkill (or just dangerous). So how about cannabis for headaches? 

Pain Relief


Cannabis is known to treat pain, so it makes sense that it would be helpful in reducing a headache’s severity. According to a recent study by Carrie Cuttler, users who inhaled cannabis smoke reported that cannabis reduced the severity of headaches and migraines but approximately 50%. The study also showed that regular cannabis use halved the number of migraines sufferers experienced over the course of a month. 

Cannabis Works, But How?

Science behind cannabis

Cannabis can clearly help with migraines and headaches, but how? Scientists have tested patients with several different cannabis strains, and have found that pain reduction seems to be unaffected by varying levels of THC and CBD. This means that the pain management effects – at least as far as headaches go – are likely the result of other cannabinoids and terpenes. And, cannabis may be doing more than just providing pain relief.

In the previously cited study, scientists found that not only did cannabis reduce the severity of migraines, but it also reduced the frequency. This means that cannabis must be doing something to affect the causes of migraines, not just the symptoms. Common triggers for migraines include stress, tension, and a lack of sleep. All of those are things that cannabis can help with – the drug reduces stress and anxiety, and is frequently used as a sleep aid. 

Which Strain Is Best?

cannabis strain

Unfortunately, we still don’t know which of the compounds found in cannabis are most responsible for the plant’s ability to soften and reduce migraines. However, we do know that it isn’t solely CBD or THC. This means that you’ll have a lot of freedom in selecting a strain. We don’t know everything about cannabis as it relates to headaches, so we can’t tell you what the “best” strain is. However, we do have enough information to set out some guidelines:

  • Aim for a mix of THC and CBD. THC and CBD both have their own pain-relieving properties, so you’ll want a strain that has both. To avoid the strong, fuzzy “high” that accompanies cannabis use, aim for a strain with lots of CBD and not a lot of THC. Although, if you don’t mind mixing pain relief and pleasure, you may prefer some with plenty of THC. Just make sure you…
  • Avoid THC overdose. I know what you’re saying: “You can’t overdose on THC!” You can’t have a fatal overdose, that’s for sure. Cannabis is one of the safest drugs in the world, but you can still take too much. THC reduces pain up to a point, but when the dose is too high, THC actually increases pain. Don’t overdo it!
  • Get plenty of beta-caryophyllene. We still have a lot to learn about all of cannabis’ terpenes, but we know that this terpene is responsible for a lot of the plant’s anti-inflammatory properties, which means it could be helpful in treating headaches.

Cannabis is effective in treating headaches and migraines, even though we don’t know why yet. Follow these tips to pick an effective strain, and hopefully, it’ll help you too!

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