The endocannabinoid system in migraine: from bench to pharmacy and back

Curr Opin Neurol. 2019 Jun;32(3):405-412. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0000000000000688.


Purpose of review: Migraine is a common, highly disabling disorder. Its treatment involves acute and preventive therapy. Many of available preventive medications are not well tolerated, which results in poor compliance and limited effectiveness. Cannabinoids have been proposed for the treatment of migraine but their efficacy and tolerability are controversial.

Recent findings: Cannabinoids modulate functions and activity of signaling pathways that have a key role in pain control. Growing preclinical evidence and initial clinical findings suggest that modulation of the endocannabinoid system, via endogenous or exogenous cannabinoids may be relevant for migraine via multiple mechanisms.

Summary: The endocannabinoid system qualifies as an interesting area of research worth exploration in the quest for therapeutic targets for the treatment of migraine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cannabinoids / therapeutic use*
  • Endocannabinoids / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Cannabinoids
  • Endocannabinoids