Terpenes in Medical Cannabis for Migraine Relief

What are Migraines?

Migraines are more than just severe headaches; they are debilitating neurological events that can significantly impact one's quality of life. 10% of people around the world are affected by Migraines, with women being three times more likely to be affected than men. Traditional treatments often fall short, leading many to seek alternative remedies. One promising option is medical cannabis. The THC cannabinoid found in medical cannabis binds to the CB1 receptor in the brain and has demonstrated the ability to alter the perception of pain experienced.

Understanding Symptoms of Migraines:

Unlike typical headaches, Migraines come with a variety of symptoms that can significantly impact daily life. Understanding these symptoms is crucial for effective diagnosis and treatment.

Severe Headache:

The hallmark symptom of a Migraine is a severe, throbbing headache, usually on one side of the head. However, it can occur on both sides in certain instances. 


About 25% of Migraine sufferers experience an aura, which is a series of sensory disturbances that can precede or accompany the headache.

- Types of Auras:

  - Visual Auras: Seeing flashing lights, zigzag lines, or blind spots.

  - Sensory Auras: Tingling or numbness in the face or hands.

  - Speech Auras: Difficulty speaking or finding words.

Nausea and Vomiting: 

Many Migraine sufferers experience nausea, with some progressing to vomiting.  This can significantly affect the ability to eat, drink, and take medications.

Sensitivity to Light (Photophobia):

Increased sensitivity to light is a common symptom, often making it necessary for sufferers to rest in a dark room.

Sensitivity to Sound (Phonophobia):

Similar to photophobia, many individuals with Migraines become highly sensitive to sounds, which can intensify their headaches.  This often requires avoiding noisy environments.

Visual Disturbances:  

Apart from auras, other visual disturbances can include blurred vision, seeing spots, or temporary loss of vision. These disturbances can be disorienting and dangerous, especially when performing tasks like driving.

Natural Alternative for Migraine Symptoms

While conventional treatments like hormonal therapy, pain medication, and surgery are commonly used to manage Endometriosis symptoms, they may not be effective for everyone and can come with side effects such as nausea, difficulty sleeping, depression, and even absence of periods. As a result, many women are utilizing alternative therapies to find relief.

Medical cannabis contains hundreds of chemical compounds, including cannabinoids and terpenes, which interact with the body's endocannabinoid system to produce various effects. While cannabinoids like THC and CBD have been extensively studied for their therapeutic properties, terpenes are also emerging as powerful contributors to cannabis' medicinal benefits.

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS):

At the heart of medical cannabis's therapeutic effects lies the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex network of receptors and neurotransmitters found throughout the body. The ECS plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes, including mood, appetite, pain sensation, and immune function. When we consume medical cannabis, its active compounds, known as cannabinoids, interact with the ECS, modulating its activity and producing a range of effects.

The Entourage Effect: Synergistic Healing

One of the most intriguing aspects of medical cannabis is the entourage effect, a phenomenon in which the various compounds in the plant work together synergistically to enhance therapeutic efficacy. Research suggests that cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytochemicals found in medical cannabis may amplify each other's effects, leading to greater symptom relief than isolated compounds alone. For example, certain terpenes found in medical cannabis, such as myrcene and limonene, have been shown to enhance the absorption of cannabinoids and modulate their effects.

As our understanding of medical cannabis continues to evolve, so too does its potential as a therapeutic agent. By harnessing the power of cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system, researchers are uncovering new ways to alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life for millions of people worldwide. Whether it's easing Chronic Pain, reducing anxiety, or enhancing sleep, medical cannabis offers a natural alternative for those seeking relief from a variety of ailments. As always, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating medical cannabis into your wellness routine to ensure safe and effective use.

Benefits of Terpenes in Medical Cannabis for Migraines:

Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in many plants, including cannabis. They are responsible for the plant's distinctive aroma and flavour and have been shown to have various therapeutic properties. In medical cannabis, terpenes work synergistically with cannabinoids to enhance their effects, a phenomenon known as the entourage effect.

 1. Myrcene

Myrcene’s benefits for Migraine relief stem from its ability to interact with the  endocannabinoid system and other bodily systems:

- Muscle Relaxant: Myrcene acts as a natural muscle relaxant, which could help alleviate the muscle tension often experienced during a Migraine.

- Sedative Effects: This terpene is known for its sedative properties, which may make it easier for people with Migraines to rest and recover.

- Enhanced Cannabinoid Absorption: Myrcene can increase the permeability of cell membranes, enhancing the absorption of cannabinoids like THC and CBD, which can lead to more effective pain relief.

Myrcene is one of the most prevalent terpenes in cannabis, characterised by its earthy, musky scent. Myrcene is also present in other plants, such as hops, thyme, and lemongrass.

2. Limonene

Limonene has demonstrated instances of interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which plays a crucial role in regulating mood, pain, and inflammation.

Limonene has strong anti-inflammatory effects, which may help reduce the inflammation often associated with Migraine attacks. Migraines are often triggered or exacerbated by stress and anxiety. Limonene’s anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) properties may help alleviate these triggers.

Research suggests that limonene demonstrates the ability to increase serotonin levels in the brain, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in mood regulation and can influence Migraine onset and severity.

Limonene is a citrus-scented terpene commonly found in cannabis. It’s also abundant in citrus fruits like lemons and oranges.

3. Linalool

Linalool’s therapeutic effects are multifaceted, making it a valuable terpene for Migraine relief:

It has strong anxiolytic properties, helping to reduce stress and anxiety, which are common Migraine triggers. This terpene has been shown to promote relaxation and may improve sleep quality, which is crucial for recovery during and after a Migraine attack.

 By working synergistically with other cannabinoids and terpenes, linalool has demonstrated the ability to amplify the overall therapeutic effects of medical cannabis, leading to more comprehensive Migraine relief.

Linalool is a floral-scented terpene found in cannabis and abundant in lavender and other aromatic herbs.

4. Beta-Caryophyllene

Beta-caryophyllene is unique among terpenes because it directly interacts with the ECS, specifically the CB2 receptor. In binding to CB2 receptors, beta-caryophyllene can exert potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, reducing both the frequency and severity of Migraine attacks. Beta-caryophyllene has also been shown to protect nerve cells from damage, which could be particularly beneficial for chronic Migraine sufferers who experience long-term neurological effects.

Beta-caryophyllene is a spicy, peppery terpene found in cannabis. It is also present in black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon.

Medical Cannabis for Migraines

While medical cannabis cannot cure Migraines, it can offer significant relief from its symptoms, thanks to the therapeutic properties of its cannabinoids and terpenes. By choosing the right cannabis strain with the appropriate terpene and cannabinoid profile, individuals with Migraines can effectively manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. However, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating medical cannabis into your Migraines treatment regimen.

At Cantourage Clinic, we understand the challenges faced by individuals living with Migraines. Our expert Pain Specialist is dedicated to providing personalised treatment plans tailored to your specific needs, including the use of medical cannabis for symptom management. Contact Cantourage Clinic today to learn more about how cannabis and its terpenes can help you live a fuller, more comfortable life with Migraines. Considering medical cannabis but unsure if you would be eligible? Take our FREE eligibility checker for a personalised assessment.


Migraines statistic:  10.1001/jama.2021.21857

Cannabis effect on pain: 10.2174/157015906778019527

Migraine symptoms: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20360201#:~:text=The%20most%20common%20symptom%20of,from%20one%20person%20to%20another.

Benefits of Limonene: 10.1016/j.cbi.2018.02.007

Benefits of Myrcene:  10.7759/cureus.17407 

Benefits of Beta-Caryophyllene: https://realmofcaring.org/cannabis-for-migraines-and-headaches/#:~:text=A%202021%20published%20study%20looked,in%20headache%20and%20migraine%20groups.

Benefits of Linalool:  10.3389/fpsyt.2021.583211

About Cantourage Clinic Ltd

Cantourage Clinic is a CQC registered clinic, combining a team of qualified specialist physicians, nurses and educators with cannabis industry professionals; joining forces with the sole focus of providing care and excellence for patients wishing to explore cannabinoid therapies.

For more information on how Cantourage clinic could help, click here for more information.

Cantourage Clinic offer specialist consultations for the following conditions.

- Pain

- Psychiatry

- Neurology

- Gastroenterological

- Oncology

- Palliative Care


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