CBD for migraines: Latest research, benefits & how to use

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CBD for migraines
November 24, 2021
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Using cannabis-derived CBD for migraines isn’t a new practice.

Marijuana is an ancient natural remedy, used for thousands of years by many different cultures to treat various ailments, including headaches.

The world is currently waiting for medical researchers to provide us with documented proof of the specific effects of CBD oil for migraines.

However, many migraineurs (people who suffer from migraines) have taken it on themselves to try these products. These patients have provided us with numerous reports of how CBD oil for migraines works for them.

Yet, you may be wondering, “What is CBD?” 

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound commonly found in the cannabis plant.

It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic agent and believed to be a natural remedy for various medical conditions, including migraines.

Read on as we delve deeper into the latest research surrounding CBD oil for headaches, its benefits, and how to use it effectively.

Cannabis CBD oil
Cannabis CBD oil

Can CBD help with headaches?

Can CBD help for migraines?

Medical experts believe that the pain associated with migraines may be caused by inflammatory agents released when the attack occurs, resulting in intense stimulation to sensory nerves.

Due to it being an exceptionally powerful anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and neuroprotective agent, taking CBD oil for migraines may be helpful.

Various medical researchers believe that CBD may effectively reduce pain by supporting the endocannabinoid (ECS) system. 

In essence, the ECS regulates virtually every system within the human body, allowing it to control inflammation, appetite, mood, pain reception, and more.

Although it’s unclear how CBD and THC treatments interact with the ECS, these cannabinoids have the potential to ultimately restore its function.

So, CBD for migraines can alleviate the symptoms of these attacks.

What do recent studies say about cannabidiol for migraines?

While medical researchers conducted various studies on pure CBD for pain, they haven’t looked into its impact on migraines specifically.

Research into THC combined with CBD for migraines does, however, show great potential.

In a recent survey, with more than 2,000 medical marijuana (MMJ) patients as participants, more than a quarter confirmed their use of CBD for headaches.

According to a 2016 survey by Pharmacotherapy, MMJ patients using medical marijuana for migraines reported a reduction in the frequency of attacks from 10.4 to 4.6 per month.

Studies into generalized chronic pain found that, although CBD doesn’t significantly reduce discomfort, it does help patients by improving their quality of sleep and life.

A more recent survey conducted by AxonRelief found that 86% of the participants reported a reduction in the frequency of attacks while using CBD oil for migraines with an average of 3.2 fewer headache days.

There are many more research studies on the potential use of cannabis for pain; however, the findings all support the opinion that CBD does help for migraines.

Medical CBD for migraines
Medical CBD for migraines

How does CBD interact with the body to relieve headaches?

Cannabidiol for migraines interacts with the cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, within the human body.

While the mechanisms aren’t yet fully understood, we know that these receptors affect the immune system.

CBD oil for headaches may prevent our bodies from breaking down anandamide, a compound typically associated with pain regulation. 

As an anti-inflammatory, CBD oil also limits inflammation within the human body, which may help reduce immune-system responses such as pain.

While current evidence supports the potential use of CBD for migraines, more research is required to comprehend how CBD may affect the human anatomy.

CBD for migraines: does it really work?

Does CBD help with headaches? In short, the answer is a probable yes.

The best way to establish how CBD oil affects a person is by researching the matter.

Studies over the last few decades found that CBD oil shows promising results in treating inflammation, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis.

Chemical researchers haven’t yet launched a specific investigation into the effects of CBD for migraines.

Clinical studies, however, did prove that cannabis containing THC is effective in relieving migraines and various other types of pain.

There are also numerous reports from migraineurs who used CBD for headaches, stating that it helped shorten migraine attacks and ease the pain.

How to apply CBD oil for headaches?

CBD oil for migraines is available in various forms, each containing different concentrations of cannabidiol.

Even though pure drops of CBD oil, taken sublingually (under the tongue) is the quickest method of absorption, there are other ways to use it, including:

  • Softgel products taken orally
  • Edibles (cookies or candy)
  • Vaping
  • Sprays, drops, and tinctures taken orally
  • Cream or salve applied directly to the skin

How you use CBD for migraines is up to you, as long as you keep potency in mind.

Take note: It’s crucial to consult with your doctor before you start taking CBD for headaches, as interaction with other drugs or supplements may potentially cause severe adverse effects.

Cannabis CBD cream
Cannabis CBD cream

How long does CBD for headaches take to work?

The reaction time and efficiency of CBD for headaches depend on the type of product you’re using. 

Softgel products take considerably longer to show results than vaping or CBD oil.

There’s very little clinical data available, so providing consumers with an exact reaction time isn’t easy.

However, various migraineurs who used CBD oil for migraines have reported that it’s a fast-acting substance, typically providing effective relief within 10–15 minutes after use.

Are there any side effects associated with CBD oil for migraines?

Various studies concluded on the subject showed that side effects related to CBD products are minimal.

The most common unpleasantries caused by cannabidiol for migraines include:

  • Fatigue
  • Upset stomach
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in weight and appetite

How you consume CBD for migraines may also result in use-related side effects. For instance, vaping can cause lung irritation leading to:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Wheezing
  • Chronic cough

Speak to your physician or pharmacist for a detailed analysis of the side effects of CBD for migraines and how your system might handle them.

Take note: Taking CBD for headaches in conjunction with other drugs may cause unwanted reactions, resulting in severe adverse effects. These medications typically include:

  • Blood thinners
  • Antidepressants
  • Antibiotics

Best CBD oil for migraines: how to choose the right product for you?

With the promising medical benefits and huge rise of cannabis use over the last few decades, many companies worldwide jumped on the CBD bandwagon.

The unfortunate result is that there’s currently a multitude of inferior CBD for migraines and other cannabinoid products available on the market.

Many are produced using questionable manufacturing standards, some having added ingredients and others containing chemicals and dosages that vary from what’s written on the label.

It’s crucial to ask yourself the following questions to ensure you buy high-quality CBD oil for migraines:

  • Is it clean? Common additives (preservatives, flavors, etc.) can cause unwanted side effects, such as headaches, in some people.
  • How strong is it? Even though higher doses of CBD for migraines are safe and better, many CBD brands include as little as 3 mg of real CBD in their products.
  • Is it pure? When it comes to cannabidiol for migraines, purity matters. Full-spectrum products contain many different parts of the marijuana plant, including trace amounts of THC, and it typically changes from batch to batch. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure you only buy pure, isolated CBD extract.
  • Did it undergo third-party testing? Manufacturers of high-quality CBD oil for migraines typically offer proof in the form of third-party testing that their brand’s product is pure and the ingredients listed on the label are correct.
CBD edibles
CBD edibles

What is the average CBD dosage for migraines?

Due to a lack of clinical research into the effects of CBD oil for migraines, there’s no standardized method of use or dosage for these extracts.

In legal states, however, physicians should be able to recommend a safe, low starting dosage. 

Overall, starting with a lower CBD dosage for headaches and gradually increasing it as necessary is the best way to begin using these extracts.

What are the best strains of CBD for migraines?

CBD for migraines comes in various forms, including medical marijuana.

If you’re a migraineur and have access to medicinal cannabis, it may help alleviate your symptoms.

Knowing which weed to use is essential, though, as marijuana cultivars aren’t the same, and some may not help for these kinds of attacks.

Fortunately, we’ve done the groundwork, helping you avoid the trial and error stage.

Here are some of the best THC and high CBD strains for fast-acting migraine relief:

OG Kush strain

The OG Kush strain is an extremely popular medicinal marijuana, commonly found at most dispensaries, or if you prefer, you can grow your own from seed.

With THC levels as high as 20% and extraordinary sedative properties, this cultivar provides fast relief, taking the edge off while combating the symptoms of migraines.

OG Kush strain
OG Kush strain

CBD ACDC strain

The CBD ACDC strain is ideal for migraineurs who prefer an effective solution without the psychoactive effects.

With CBD levels as high as 18% and 1% THC, it’s a strange but pleasant weed strain that’s well-known for reducing inflammation, making it the ideal treatment for migraines.

CBD ACDC strain
CBD ACDC strain

Harlequin strain

The Harlequin strain is a more balanced, sativa-dominant cannabis cultivar, containing THC levels ranging between 7 and 14% and an average CBD content of 10%.

The unique balance between CBD and THC makes it a relaxing, non-sedating cultivar. 

Using Harlequin before your migraine becomes full-blown maximizes the impact of the combined CBD and THC.

While the THC creates a mild buzz, the CBD works effectively, alleviating the pain associated with migraines.

Harlequin strain
Harlequin strain

CBD for migraines: Frequently asked questions

It’s wise to find out as much as possible about a new supplement before you start using it. 

To aid you in your search for knowledge, here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding CBD and headaches.

What strain is best for migraines?

There’s a multitude of cannabis strains that can help with migraines.

Finding the best strain to use for headaches depends on your preferences and needs and typically requires quite a bit of trial and error.

According to consumer reports and in our opinion, three of the best cultivars to use for migraines are OG Kush, CBD ACDC, and Harlequin.

How many milligrams of CBD should I take for a migraine? 

Due to a lack of clinical research into CBD oil for migraines, there’s no industry-standard dosage.

These products usually come with dosage instructions printed on their labels, though.

While CBD is safe even when consumed in large amounts, it’s wise to start with a smaller dosage to see how your body reacts and establish where relief begins, upping it as necessary.

Is CBD good for cluster headaches?

As with CBD for migraines, research into this compound’s effect on cluster headaches is limited.

However, research shows that CBD has a positive impact on inflammation and pain, giving it the potential to treat cluster headaches effectively.

Does CBD help sinus headaches?

Yes. Sinusitis leads to viral infections inflaming the pathways in the sinuses, making CBD an ideal treatment option as it interacts with the ECS, boosting immune system functioning.

CBD’s antibacterial properties can also reduce the presence of thick mucus that typically clogs an individual’s sinus passages, making it difficult to breathe.

Can CBD oil cause a headache?

While it’s a rare side-effect of CBD for migraines, using a low-quality product that hasn’t undergone third-party testing or excessive dosage of CBD oil may cause headaches.

CBD oil is, however, more likely to relieve migraines than cause them.

CBD oil
CBD oil

Final Points about CBD and headaches

While more research is required for CBD oil for migraines to be considered a conventional treatment option, it’s worth consulting your physician if you’re interested in using it.

Many MMJ patients report that CBD for migraines is an effective solution for migraineurs to alleviate their pain and lessen their reliance on pharmaceutical drugs.

Being safe and non-addictive and with fewer side-effects than conventional drugs, CBD for headaches may just be the answer many migraineurs are looking for.