October 12, 2021 5 min read

Delta-8-THC is finally being recognized for its therapeutic potential, much of which lines up with the benefits of traditional THC. We know that it may be useful for managing pain and sleep disorders, but is there any benefit to using Delta-8 for migraines?

It turns out that traditional cannabis products, especially THC concentrates, have a pretty good reputation for soothing severe headaches, and we have reason to believe that Delta-8 may be equally beneficial. Here's why:

Table of Contents
Delta-8 is Similar to Delta-9
The Science Behind Cannabis for Migraines
What are the Best Delta-8 Products for Migraines?
How to Use Delta-8 for Migraines
Conclusion: Does Delta-8 Work for Migraines?

Key Takeaways

  • Delta-8-THC, like Delta-9, may have a wide range of therapeutic benefits.
  • Some evidence suggests that THC may help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.
  • The best type of product and Delta-8-THC dosage varies for every person, but a high quality formula is most important.
  • Talk to your doctor before using Delta-8 for chronic migraines, especially if you already take medications

Delta-8 is Very Similar to Delta-9

The Delta-8 and Delta-9 molecules have only one difference between them—the position of their double bond. Because the molecules are incredibly similar, they interact with the body in similar ways.

Delta-8 vs Delta-9 molecular structureFor instance, Delta-8 can bind to CB1 receptors, the primary receptors where traditional THC binds. These are the receptors responsible for psychoactive effects of cannabis, which is why Delta-8 also induces a high of its own. Because Delta-8-THC is able to interact with the body in a similar manner to Delta-9, many of their therapeutic benefits are similar, which means Delta-8 may be a useful solution for any condition that responds to Delta-9-THC.

In some cases, research even suggests that Delta-8 is the better solution. For instance, one study concerning the use of THC to prevent nausea and vomiting in pediatric cancer patients found Delta-8 to be 100% effective, even more so than traditional THC therapies. The study suggests that Delta-8 was less likely to result in any adverse effects commonly observed with traditional THC, like anxiety and paranoia, even in large doses.

Because of the similarities between the two cannabinoids, it's fair to look at Delta-9-THC research to try to better understand the therapeutic potential of Delta-8. Even though there is currently no research to evaluate the impact of Delta-8 for migraines, we do have some evidence that suggest that THC may be a viable solution for many people.

The Science Behind Cannabis for Migraines

While there’s plenty of work to be done, there is some research to help us understand whether or not cannabis and THC are useful for migraine treatment or prevention. Keep in mind that everyone’s body is different, and everyone responds differently to THC. As you’ll see in the evidence below, many people, but not all people, experience significant benefits when using THC for migraines:

A woman holding her head while waiting for her migraine remedy to kick in

Fewer Migraine Attacks

One study looked at the effects of different forms and amounts of high-THC cannabis products. Although the results varied, patients reported about six fewer migraines per month on average. The study ultimately called for more research to explain the relationship between cannabis and migraine treatment.

THC Could Relieve and Prevent

Many people need something to stop a migraine in its tracks, but migraine prevention is always a great first step. Luckily, cannabis may be useful for both relief and prevention of migraines.

One clinical trial found that a 200 mg oral dose of THC and CBD was equally effective at preventing migraines as a 25 mg dose of amitriptyline, which is a prescription migraine medication. The study also found that the same CBD and THC combination reduced the intensity of migraine pain by almost 44% when given as an acute treatment.

Concentrates May Be More Effective

A 2019 study found that headache and migraine ratings dropped by 50% after using cannabis. Men were more responsive than women, and THC concentrates were significantly more effective than cannabis flower.

What are the Best Delta-8 Products for Migraines?

When shopping for Delta-8 for migraines, you may wonder if one product is better than others. Although one study did conclude that concentrates are the better option, they aren’t suitable for all people, especially those who are sensitive to higher doses of THC.

The truth is, the type of Delta-8 product you choose is mostly based on preference, and many people prefer either sublingual or inhaled doses because of their fast acting effects. Here are some good options:

Delta-8 Tinctures

Delta-8-THC Tinctures, like our Elev8 Tincture, offer the benefits of precisely measured doses and sublingual absorption. In most cases, an oral oil takes effect in around 30 minutes and the effects can last 4-8 hours.

Delta-8 Sublingual Edibles

Sublingual edibles are a new, innovative dosing style that are unique to our store. These edibles, like our Elev8 Chews or Elev8 Caramels, offer a melt-in-your-mouth dose that can be absorbed sublingually just like a tincture. They also offer the pre-portioned convenience of traditional edibles, which makes them a very suitable choice for those who need regular prevention or management doses.

Delta-8 Vapes or Flower

Inhaled doses are a popular choice because the effects are almost instant, which is a great relief when a severe migraine hits. Delta-8-THC vaporizers are a fast and easy dosing method that requires no prep.

Delta-8 flower can provide stronger doses of Delta-8, but also provides a full cannabinoid profile, like CBD and other minor cannabinoids and terpenes. Some evidence supports the use of this multi-cannabinoid combination, which is often referred to as a “full spectrum” dose, because it could offer increased benefits (otherwise known as the entourage effect).

Quality Matters Most

Although the best product type may vary by person, one thing is constant: quality matters.

Regulation is not consistent across the hemp industry, so you may need to do a little research of your own before choosing a Delta-8-THC brand.

Look for a company that uses U.S. grown hemp that's free of pesticides. The brand should also use a thorough testing process to ensure quality, and you should be able to view the third-party test results before you buy. Compare the results to the product label, and check the Delta-8 content to ensure that the product is made with real Delta-8-THC and not a synthetic alternative, which could potentially be dangerous.

How to Use Delta-8 for Migraines

Again, everyone responds to Delta-8 and other hemp products differently, which means you’ll need to put some thought into your dosing routine. You may want to experiment with different dosages and dosing methods to see what works best for you.

Some people claim that taking Delta-8 daily works to prevent migraines, but this may not be a convenient option for most people because of its psychoactive effects. Some people also use daily Delta-8 microdoses to manage migraine symptoms. Others use Delta-8 as a one-off acute treatment to stop a migraine.

Read our Delta-8 dosing guide to learn about how much Delta-8 to take. If you want a daily preventative dose that doesn’t cause psychoactive effects, you may consider CBD.

Conclusion: Does Delta-8 Work for Migraines?

There’s currently no research that evaluates the use of Delta-8-THC for migraines, but it’s suspected to offer many of the same benefits as Delta-9-THC. Some research suggests that THC (and sometimes a combination of THC and CBD) may help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines, but more research is needed to understand how it may work.

In short, THC won’t work for everyone, but many people report positive results using Delta-8 for headaches and migraines. We recommend that you play around with different dosing methods and dosage sizes to find a prevention and treatment routine that works for you.

  1.  “Effects of Medical Marijuana on Migraine Headache Frequency in an Adult Population” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26749285/
  2. “Cannabinoids suitable for migraine prevention” https://www.europeanpharmaceuticalreview.com/news/62784/cannabinoids-suitable-migraine-prevention/
  3. “Short- and Long-Term Effects of Cannabis on Headache and Migraine” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S152659001930848X

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