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Some people claim that migraine headaches can be treated and prevented with Marinol. So far, there is only anecdotal evidence to support these claims, as no formal studies have been conducted on using Marinol for migraines. In the meantime, plenty of other options exist to treat migraine headaches, ranging from traditional to alternative.

Can Migraines Be Treated With Marinol?

Marinol® (dronabinol) is a prescription medication approved for treating loss of appetite due to AIDS or nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy. Marinol is sometimes claimed to be an effective medication for preventing or treating migraine headaches.
 
A migraine is a type of chronic headache characterized by severe pain that can last for hours or even days. In addition to significant pain, people who suffer from migraine headaches may experience nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sounds. Although there is no cure for migraine headaches, medications are used to treat them and to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
 

Using Marinol for Migraines

Marinol is not licensed to treat or prevent migraines, and no studies have been done to see if the drug works to treat or prevent a migraine. Marinol is a synthetic version of delta-9-THC, a naturally occurring cannabinoid. Delta-9-THC is the main active component in Cannabis sativa L. (marijuana).
 
Marijuana is sometimes used by people who suffer from migraines to treat or prevent their headaches. However, claims that the substance works to treat or prevent migraines is largely based on informal, or anecdotal, evidence -- not rigorous scientific trials.
 
An older study suggested that cannabinoids prevent platelets from releasing serotonin during a migraine attack. The release of serotonin during a migraine is thought to affect blood flow to the brain, one possible cause of a migraine (see Migraine Causes for more information). However, this study did not look at whether cannabinoids reduced the symptoms of migraine headaches, such as pain, or prevented migraines from starting.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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