New Discoveries about the Cause and Treatment of Migraine Headaches

A recent article published in August 2017 in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences reports new findings about how the kynurenine system and the endocannabinoid system interact. Future studies regarding these two systems might offer new insight into migraine headaches and possible new therapies used to treat them.

The dysfunction of the endocannabinoid system in the body has been proven through research to have a role in neurological disorders, inflammatory disorders and disorders that cause involuntary movement such as Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, and multiple sclerosis. Migraine headaches are the most common type of neurological disorder.

Studies have shown that these disorders can be treated with cannabinoids such as CBD which may decrease pain, nausea and tremors. CBD is one of nearly 100 cannabinoids or compounds from the cannabis plant which has multiple medical uses as documented by clinical studies. It can be beneficial in relieving pain, nausea and inflammation that occur with migraines. Cannabinoids bind with the receptors in the brain CB1 and CB2 which is thought to regulate the endocannabinoid system, resulting in a lessening of symptoms. Cannabis has been used as a pain reliever, particularly for migraine headaches, for years. This has been documented with both clinical and anecdotal evidence.

The kynurenine system (or pathway) is also thought to be involved in neurological symptoms, including migraines. Dysfunctional or blocked parts of the kynurenine pathway in the body are associated with genetic diseases like those listed above such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, multiple sclerosis, and possibly migraines as well. The endocannabinoid system and the kynurenine pathway may be linked in the way they work with certain receptors in the body, and with enzymes produced in both systems.

Currently, there are no studies that explain exactly how the kynurenine system and the endocannabinoid system work or communicate with each other in the body. But evidence shows that the two systems do overlap on several levels, and that is the area of interest for future studies aimed at treating migraine headaches. Studies targeting these systems and how they interact with regard to neurological symptoms may shed light on both the cause and treatment of migraines.


CBD oil for Migraines

According to the Migraine Research Foundation and, not only do 37 million Americans suffer from migraines but it’s the 6th most disabling illness in the world. With symptoms known to cause depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances and many others. Can CBD oil for migraines become the new “natural” alternative for our current prescriptions we currently have available?


It was a Friday night. Like every other college student, I was getting ready for a night on the town with the friends. As I waited for my pants to finish drying I noticed a blind spot develop in my peripheral vision. Immediately I assumed the worst. Was it a brain tumor? Cancer? A blood clot? I laid on my bed pondering my next move on the brinks of my first panic attack. With sweaty hands and a tight chest, I decided to call a doctor but could no longer see my screen. After what seemed an eternity my vision returned but what came next was something I had once suffered with on a weekly basis. Vomiting and excruciating pain behind my eyes which would last for well over a few hours. Growing up I’ve witnessed far too many friends fall victim in becoming dependent on prescription pills so that was never going to be an option for me. After nearly a decade of suffering, I was finally introduced to CBD oil for migraines. The effectiveness of the product has reduced the severity and frequency of the migraines drastically. What was once a weekly debilitating trial has now dropped to roughly a once a month episode if not less and not to mention, the pain and nausea have dropped dramatically.


What is a migraine?

According to

“A migraine headache is caused by abnormal brain activity. This activity can be triggered by many things. But the exact chain of events remains unclear. Most medical experts believe the attack begins in the brain and involves nerve pathways and chemicals. The changes affect blood flow in the brain and surrounding tissues”.


According to a recent study presented on, Over 127 participants who suffered from chronic migraines were given a mix of both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). There were two phases to the study. In the first, they were given 200mg of a various dose of both CBD and THC. After just 3 months the majority of participants noticed a 55% decrease in pain. Migraine sufferers were given either the THC-CBD drug or 25 milligrams of amitriptyline, an antidepressant medication often used to treat migraines. The cluster headache sufferers were given either the THC-CBD drug or 80 milligrams of verapamil, a calcium channel blocker med often prescribed for cluster headaches.

The results showed that THC-CBD was slightly better at reducing the frequency of migraine attacks than the commonly prescribed med (40.4 % versus 40.1%, respectively). And the THC-CBD drug was very effective at reducing migraine pain, cutting it by 43.5%.


What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of at least 113 active cannabinoids identified in cannabis. It is a major phytocannabinoid, accounting for up to 40% of the plant’s extract. When people hear the word “marijuana” they generally think of a plant that gets you high. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that produces effects such as feeling “high” or feeling anxious or paranoid. CBD is non-psychoactive so won’t get you high and studies have suggested that CBD actually counteracts the anxiety or paranoia that can be caused by THC. Since CBD hemp oil products have no or only a trace amount of THC, a person using them is highly unlikely to test positive for THC in a standard drug test.


How does CBD prevent pain?

In our brain and in other parts of our bodies we have cannabinoid receptors which are tiny loops of protein that affect how we feel pain. Marijuana contains natural compounds called cannabinoids. When ingested these cannabinoids search out the receptors in our bodies changing how they work as well reducing the pain signals.


Due to political and legal reasons, there hasn’t been as many tests ran as we’d like to see but there have been quite a few surveys done all telling us that CBD has a greater effect on reducing pain and preventing migraines than your standard prescription given to you by your local doctor.


According to, Here are a few basic facts we know about CBD


Fact #1: CBD is one of 113 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids that are all found in the cannabis plant.

Fact #2: CBD products will not get you high. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that produces effects such as feeling “high” or feeling anxious or paranoid.

Fact #3: CBD products come in several different forms, including drops (tinctures), capsules, vape oils and dabs.

Fact #4: The effectiveness of CBD as a treatment option for diseases and medical conditions has not been scientifically proven by U.S. FDA standards. CBD products are also not currently regulated by the FDA.

If you’re familiar with migraines than you know the pain can be utterly excruciating. It can leave you bedridden for days. To some, the pain is unbearable. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for some people to become dependent on their prescription pills. The downside to this is not only the addiction factor it creates but it’s short term and long term side effects. Fortunately, we are moving into a new direction. Finding healthier options dealing with life’s painful medical issues we all face as human beings.

Sources:, Migraine Research Foundation,


Writer’s Bio:

Aaron Murphy

Aaron Murphy is not only a well known writer in the community of his parents house, but an avid Cannabis user in the basement.