Unless you have been living under a rock you know that marijuana is now legal for medical and recreational use in four states. One of those four being our very own Colorado. A staggering 23 states and Washington, DC have legalized medical marijuana. Clearly there is something about marijuana that makes it useful as medication, but what is it, and could this be a potentially viable treatment for TMJ related migraines?

Medical Marijuana


A recent study released by Care By Design has shed a little light on two chemical compounds in cannabis that are at the core of it medicinal properties: CBD and THC. CBD is short for cannabidiol and is the primary compound in marijuana that makes it effective in the treatment of pain. THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol and is the compound that results in the mind-altering effects that recreational users seek out.

Care By Design sent out surveys asking medical marijuana patients how CBD rich marijuana is helping in key areas such as pain management, energy, mood, and overall wellbeing. They found that CBD rich cannabis was very helpful in the management of pain for a number of conditions with 72.6% reporting a decrease in pain, and all patients (yes, that’s 100%) with migraines had a clear reduction in pain. Chronic pain has typically been treated with harmful and potentially addictive painkillers. This is definitely not ideal. Many people have reported being dissatisfied with their migraine treatments, maybe cannabis treatment is the way to go?

The surveys also indicated that a majority of all patients (64.2%) had an improvement in their mood. Migraines are not only painful, but can lead to social withdrawal and isolation. It is possible that cannabis treatment can not only help migraine sufferers manage pain, but can also help reduce the tendency for them to withdraw from friends and family when in the throes of a migraine.

Keep an Open Mind

It is clear that medical marijuana has the potential to be a powerful tool in the treatment of pain, including migraines. Unfortunately, marijuana has some strongly negative connotations tied to it. With that being said, I think it is important to keep an open mind. It’s also important to recognize the limitations of this survey. It sounds really positive, but you have to realize that there were only about 20 people with migraines responding to the survey, which is a very small number. The nature of the survey also doesn’t allow for control of conditions to get an accurate assessment of just how much of the effect was actually due to marijuana and how much might be due to other causes such as the placebo effect.

Medical marijuana in combination with other TMJ treatments may become something that is entirely routine in the future. Only time will tell. In the meantime, if you have any questions about TMJ or would like to schedule an appointment with a TMJ dentist, please call the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado here in Denver at (303) 691-0267.