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Only someone who has experienced a severe headache can testify to the suffering that it brings. In this article, we will look at the possibility of using CBD for migraines.

There are different types of headaches; tension, sinus, hypertension (caused by high blood pressure), diabetes-related headaches, and many other. And then there’s migraines.

Nothing compares to the pain of a migraine attack. A migraine headache is basically the mother of all severe headaches, which can cause a long range of symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, double vision, eye pain, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound. Migraines can present either with or without an aura, and for the ca. 20% that experience an aura, visual disturbances such as dots, wavy lines or blurriness can further worsen the migraine attack.


Is there a cure for migraines?

The biggest issue concerning the many uncomfortable side effects of migraines is that there is no real cure for the condition.

In the last decade, many prescription medicines on the market, such as Trazodone, Propranolol, 5-HTP, Flunarizine, Nimodipine, and Papaverine, have been prescribed to migraine patients, but the truth about these medicines is that they only ease the symptoms. They do not treat the root cause of the migraine attacks and moreover, they also come with a long line of adverse side effects.

But it seems that a better option for relief has been uncovered in the past few years. Researchers and scientists have found that cannabis can possibly be the permanent solution for migraine patients.

According to a pharmacological study, scientific researchers suggest that the frequency of migraine attacks is significantly reduced among cannabis users. 121 patients were observed and of those 103 reported fewer occurrences of migraines. 15 of the patients stated that they felt no difference to before starting their cannabis regimen, while only 3 had experienced an increase in migraine attack frequency.

Researchers say that inhaling cannabis, either as smoke or vapours, increases the effects of the cannabinoids, because they through such an administration method reach the bloodstream faster. According to Danielle Rhyne, doctor of pharmacy, some patients even find that inhaling cannabis can reduce the frequency of migraines from 15 per month to just 1 or 2.


CBD for migraine – no studies, but plenty of research

A study similar to the above-mentioned has unfortunately not been performed on CBD for migraine, which is a shame. However, SFGate has provided a study that suggests CBD could be effective for migraine patients.

The fact is that CBD was used to ease migraines since the time of the Roman Empire and even before that. This is no coincidence, as CBD has been proven to be a medically significant cannabinoid without any psychoactive side effects. CBD has been shown to have pain-relieving properties, which is useful for many patients with painful conditions, including headaches. As such, it is no surprise that CBD is effective for easing migraines, considering that migraines is a strong tension headache and CBD has calming and stress-relieving effects.

A survey is by no means as known a scientific method as clinical studies, but there is no denying the results gained from SFGate’s survey results on CBD: Over 100% of the subjects answered that CBD oil eased their migraines. Since migraines can have many different “triggers”, varying from patient to patient, the results were considered “amazing”.

A lot of people feel forced to use very strong pain medicines in order to manage their migraine headaches, simply because no other medicine has worked for them. It can almost be considered a crime not to allow migraine patients to give CBD oil a chance. And if CBD is ever scientifically confirmed to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks, it would be a huge leap forward in the area of pain management.


Why might CBD be an option for migraine patients?

According to Tech Times, preliminary research has shown a connection between the occurrence of migraines and a lack of endocannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids are similar to plant cannabinoids, only they are produced within the human body (“endo” meaning “inside”) and they take part in regulating a long line of internal processes, including pain perception.

As many as 25 studies by the National Institute for Drug Abuse could not find a single piece of evidence to suggest that CBD oil has any adverse or harmful effects on the human body. This safety of CBD was further confirmed in December 2017 by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

CBD has thus become a more and more appealing as a natural treatment option for migraines.

Research on the use of CBD oil for migraines is limited. This is due to the illegality of the cannabis plant and as such the tight regulations on its derivatives, among these CBD. Nevertheless, laboratory studies suggest that CBD oil can help all types of chronic and acute pain; among these migraines.

A 2017 research study into cannabis and cannabinoids reviewed the positive effects of oral cannabis consumption. Over the course of six months, 26 people with an overuse of medicines were either given Ibuprofen or Nabilone as an oral treatment for their symptoms. Ibuprofen is a common OTC pain reliever, while Nabilone is a prescription medicine with synthetic cannabinoids. Each medicine was used for eight weeks at a time, followed by an eight week pause.

The results of the study showed that the group who received the cannabis-mimicking medicine experienced more improvements to their health and quality of life than did the other group. It is important to note that researchers evaluated the combination of the medicines, and not just the effects of cannabinoids.

In 2016, the journal of pharmacology published a study on the use of medical marijuana for migraines (i.e. cannabis containing psychoactive compounds, but is used for medical purposes). Researchers found that of the 48 participants in the study, 40% reported of fewer migraine attacks. Drowsiness was the primary complaint, while other participants struggled to find the right dose for their individual needs.

Both of these studies evaluated the effects of cannabis on pain, and not pure CBD oil. This indicates a need for further research into the effects of CBD oil for migraines.

Human clinical trials is also needed to fully understand the effects of CBD oil and its potential for migraine relief.


CBD oil for migraines ‒ does it actually work?

Migraines surpass the usual stress- or allergy-induced type of headache. Migraines generally last between 4 to 72 hours, during which even the most common activities can worsen symptoms such as the sensitivity to any noises, smells, lights or movements.

While pain medicines can help ease the migraine symptoms temporarily, the side effects of these drugs can be worrying. This is when CBD (cannabidiol) oil comes in:

CBD is one of the many active compounds found within the cannabis plant. Its reputation has grown over the past years and is now well-known for its natural and therapeutic properties.

How does CBD work?

CBD interacts with cells in both the brain and the central nervous system through molecules called cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2 receptors).

Even though the relationship between the cells and these receptors are not yet fully understood, it is presumed that their interaction affects the immune system.

In the body, CBD can for example metabolise into Anandamide, which is an endocannabinoid that plays a role in pain management. When the body is unable to produce adamant amounts of Anandamide, an imbalance occurs which can lead to an internal lack of pain regulation. As such, high levels of Anandamide in the blood can reduce feelings of pain.

CBD is through to limit inflammatory states in the body, which can also contribute to the reduction of pain and other immune system overreactions.

More research is need to fully understand how CBD interacts with the body and its systems.


How to use CBD for migraines

Even though international lawmakers are arguing for and against the use of cannabis and related products, the medical use of the cannabis plant is hardly a new discovery.

According to the National Cancer institute (NCI), cannabis has been used as a medicine for more than 3,000 years. These uses include the management of pain, neurological symptoms and inflammations.

CBD oil is often consumed orally in the form of drops or vapours. This administration method delivers a fast-acting dose with few side effects, which makes it ideal for beginners seeking their personal dose. Taking CBD oil as drops under the tongue, as capsules or even infused into sweet edibles is also popular ways of getting a daily dose of CBD.

Vaping CBD oil can also be beneficial is you are experiencing a severe migraine attack, because the inhalation process delivers the cannabinoids to the bloodstream quickly. This can ensure a fast reaction of the receptors that help regulate pain.

Currently, there are no official guidelines to a correct dose of CBD for migraines. The CBD Oil Review recommend a dose between 2,5 and 20mg of CBD per day for chronic pains.

If you are new to CBD oil, we recommend that you start with as low a dose as possible. From there, you can gradually increase the dose until you feel a desired effect. This gentle upregulation of your CBD dose over the course of a few weeks will let your body get used to the effects of the oil and thereby reduce any uncomfortable side effects.



The side effects of CBD oil are minor. This is one of the main reason why many people choose CBD oil over addictive prescription medicines for pain management. However, drowsiness and looseness of the bowels may occur.

The risk of side effects often depend on how you ingest the CBD oil. For example, vaping can cause lung irritation and possibly lead to chronic cough, wheezing or trouble breathing. If you suffer from asthma or other lung conditions, vaping CBD oil may not be for you.

The limited amount of studies done on the benefits of CBD oil also reflects the limited knowledge of the potential side effects of CBD oil. If you are uncertain of the possible side effects and how your body might react to CBD oil, we recommend addressing these concerns to your GP.

Will CBD oil make me “high”?

CBD oil is made from hemp, which contains only trace amounts of the psychoactive compounds of cannabis, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This compound can give you a “high” or “stoned” feeling.

CBD is non-psychoactive and has anti-psychoactive properties. This means that even if you use a combination product, containing both THC and CBD, then the CBD will counteract the effects of the THC, according to Project CBD. This is one of the many reasons why you can safely choose to use CBD oil.


Talk to your general practitioner

More research is needed in order to fully understand the effects and side effects of CBD oil, before it can be generally accepted as a conventional treatment option for migraine sufferers. However, it is worth talking to your GP about the use of CBD oil for migraines, if you feel this may be a possible solution for you. They can help guide you in regards to dosing, as well as navigating the possible legal requirements.

If you decide to give CBD oil a try, then treat it as you would any other treatment for migraines. It may take some time before you feel an effect and you may have to adjust your dose during the course of your treatment. The important thing is to listen to your body and give it time to rediscover its natural balance.

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