CBD has been making headlines everywhere around the U.S. As more states legalize hemp, more research gets funded and helps us understand cannabidiol. Slowly but surely, we’re discovering all the excellent health benefits this cannabinoid has for us.
However, there are still many doubts about its potential. So, “with 39 million people in the U.S. and about one billion globally” suffering from migraines, one question remains. Does CBD work for migraines?
Join us to see what the experts have to say on the matter. Throughout this article, we’ll explore this topic and see whether CBD is a reliable treatment for migraines or not. Moreover, we’ll look at how migraines work and the possible benefits and side effects CBD has. So, keep on reading.
What Are Migraines?
Migraines are intense headaches that affect patients for an extended period. They usually last between 4 to 72 hours, so the duration varies greatly. The feeling usually resembles a throbbing sensation that affects one side of the head. The pain is so extreme that those who suffer migraines describe it as someone banging your head with a sledgehammer.
Apart from a severe headache, migraines also have other symptoms. Some of them are nausea and vomiting and ultra-sensitivity to light and sound. Around 15% of people in the world suffer from migraines. Moreover, “in the U.S., head pain is the fifth-leading cause of emergency room visits.”
Moreover, women are three times more likely to suffer from migraines than men. Unfortunately,
Does CBD Help With Migraines?
Scientists are still looking for the exact cause of migraines. Nonetheless, they think it might be related to altering chemicals and blood vessels in the brain. It is this hypothesis that has led people to wonder, “can CBD oil help with migraine?” That is because pain relief is one of the main benefits of CBD oil.
In addition, “unlike THC, CBD oil does not have psychoactive properties” So, it’s no surprise that migraine patients think about using CBD as a painkiller. Moreover, Stephen Silberstein, from the Jefferson University Hospital, has claimed that CBD “might even prevent nausea and vomiting.”
What Does The Research Say?
Even though research regarding how does CBD oil for migraines work needs more funding, there’ve been some studies. For instance, in 2016, researchers published a study on migraine treatment with CBD in Pharmacotherapy. The study was conducted on a group of medical marijuana users. In it, scientists “found that the frequency of migraines was reduced from nearly 10 per month to only approximately four per month.”
Moreover, a 2020 review found that CBD can help relieve chronic pain, improve sleep, and reduce inflammation in some circumstances”. What’s more, the National Centers for Complementary and Integrative Health claims there’s evidence that CBD can have benefits for chronic pain.
Why Would CBD Work For Migraines?
As we’ve seen above, more research on whether CBD oil works for migraines needs to occur. It is mainly because “medical marijuana remains a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act”. As a result of this classification, labs and drug companies are resilient to fund research for cannabis and its components.
However, does CBD oil work for migraines? From what we know so far, there are some indications that CBD can aid migraine attacks.
Migraines & the Endocannabinoid System
We have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) in our bodies that are key to managing mood and pain. And yes, this includes intense headaches such as migraines too. This system counts with cannabinoid receptors on which cannabis acts. For this reason, cannabidiol is a promising tool regarding temporary and chronic pain treatment. Some experts believe CBD might alleviate the psychological and inflammatory symptoms of migraines.
CBD, Anandamide, and Migraines
If these experts’ hypothesis proves accurate, it would be a game-changer. It would reaffirm the idea that an insufficient number of endocannabinoids in the ECS contributes to migraines. “This condition, which is officially described as clinical endocannabinoid deficiency, could be the cause of migraine headaches in many people.”
Anandamide (AEA) is one endocannabinoid the human body produces. This endocannabinoid can increase and decrease the functioning of serotonin receptors. According to a Neurology Letters paper, this feature may have therapeutic applications regarding migraines. Researchers have also found that AEA is tonically active within the gray matter, responsible for generating migraines.
Moreover, the Journal of Headache and Pain has published some research conducted on animals administered with AEA. This study showed that compromising the endocannabinoid system can lead to migraines. The paper’s authors indicate that administering cannabinoid receptors in the ECS with CBD can be beneficial.
How To Use CBD For Migraines?
As the CBD market has soared in recent years and is ever-expanding, there are plenty of brands. It means that there is a wide range of products and ways available to consume your CBD.
Therefore, here are the most common ways in which you can take your CBD:
There are various methods to inhale CBD. The most common one is by lightning hemp buds in a joint. However, the smoke you’ll be inhaling can have some side effects, especially if you suffer from lung diseases. On the other hand, you can use vaporization to inhale CBD.
That is one of the healthiest and easiest ways to consume CBD. It consists of simply putting some CBD vape oil in a vaporizer and heating it. As there is no combustion, there won’t be any harmful substance entering your lungs.
In addition, vaporization has the highest bioavailability among all the consumption methods. It means that vaping CBD delivers more active substances than other methods such as drops. Research also shows that it can administer CBD more than ten times the amount CBD edibles do.
This method is superb for those who need CBD but are fearful of digesting it. They are designed to fight localized pain which includes your head too. They soothe your head nerves to reduce the release of Calcitonin gene-related peptides. In turn, as this peptide triggers migraines, severe headaches will decrease.
However, taking CBD this way has its downside. As dermal absorption takes time, it’ll take much longer to take effect than other methods. Moreover, CBD topicals have the lowest bioavailability of all the methods. That means that less CBD will enter your system.
CBD isolates are easier to obtain through hemp extraction. CBD oil drops are the most common product in the CBD market. To consume CBD with this method, you simply need to use the dropper the bottle has. After measuring the exact amount, you require, you simply squeeze it under your tongue. A special membrane in your mouth will absorb the CBD.
You should consider a few factors to choose the correct CBD oil among all the options available. First, check the potency to make sure it isn’t too strong or weak. Then, it is essential to choose an adequate cannabinoid profile for migraines. Finally, make “sure the ingredients are as pure as possible.”
Are There Risks?
CBD oil is one of the most secured extracts you can get in the market. Nonetheless, there might be some minimal side effects. “Fatigue, drowsiness, and an upset stomach are possible, as well as changes in appetite and weight.” Moreover, mice who were force-fed extreme amounts of CBD-rich hemp extract experienced liver toxicity.
Depending on how you consume your CBD, other side effects might appear. “Smoking it regularly could harm your heart and lung health over time.” This risk comes from inhaling hemp’s smoke, which is harmful over time like any other smoke. In the short term, the smoke can produce coughing and breathing difficulties. Finally, it can cause dry mouth and eyes, though this can be solved with plenty of liquid and some eye drops.
For all the risks listed above, your doctor can discourage you from smoking or vaping CBD. That is especially true if you have asthma or any other type of lung disease. However, they can authorize hemp oil administration in other ways. Lastly, you should always ask if you’re taking any other medication as CBD can interact and reduce its effects.
The Bottom Line
Even though pharmacies count on various medicines to treat migraines, sometimes the most conventional ones don’t work. Moreover, some patients find that their bodies can get used to treatment in particular and become less effective. As a result, many turn to medical weed in the hopes of finding relief.
Fortunately, as we’ve seen throughout this article, CBD oil for migraines can have positive effects. With non-existent life-threatening side effects, many doctors think CBD is worth giving a shot. That is because the potential benefits are unbelievable. Therefore, if you’re suffering from migraines and nothing else has worked, maybe you could try cannabidiol. Remember to always ask your doctor before taking it.