CBD for Migraines: Research, Benefits, and Risks

Cannabis has been used in alternative medicine for thousands of years, but due to legal constraints, its wide range of therapeutic benefits has only recently gained the attention of modern medical researchers. CBD for the relief of migraines has emerged as one of the many promising uses of cannabis in this new age of research. 

Of the 1 in 7 people who suffer from migraines, many have found little to no success using traditional treatments, such as caffeine and pain medications. Often, migraine medications only mask the symptoms of the migraine and allow it to persist and worsen over time, which is why many migraineurs have begun to look at alternative treatments. Public interest and reports of positive results from using CBD for migraines have opened the doors to a promising new treatment option for the third most prevalent disease in the world.

How does CBD for migraines work?

CBD works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system. CBD and other cannabinoids can bind to CB1 receptors, mainly located in the brain, and CB2 receptors, mainly located in the immune system. The endocannabinoid system is thought to play a vital role in the regulation of homeostasis in our bodies and making sure all of our body systems are working in harmony.

CBD’s ability to ease common symptoms, like pain and inflammation, makes it a promising treatment option for those suffering from a wide variety of conditions, including migraines and headaches. 

Benefits of using CBD for migraines

CBD for migraines can work by combating any combination of these symptoms: 

Pain

CBD is well known for its ability to ease pain, although we aren’t quite sure how it does this. It’s thought that CBD may prevent the body from metabolizing anandamide, a neurotransmitter associated with pain regulation. Higher levels of anandamides in the bloodstream may help to reduce the sensation of pain. 

Other studies have shown that cannabinoids interact with the biological pathway specifically associated with migraine and headache pain known as the triptan mechanism of action pathway.

Regardless of how it’s accomplished, CBD for migraines can be a powerful pain-fighting agent that might be able to help make migraines a little more bearable. 

Inflammation

Until recently, migraines weren’t thought to be related to inflammation. However, current research has revealed that neurogenic inflammation may play a role in the onset of migraine pain.

Overwhelming evidence supports the use of CBD to reduce inflammation all over the body. The possible link between migraines and inflammation makes CBD a promising treatment option due to its potential ability to fight the source of migraine pain. 

Nausea and Vomiting

Some migraine sufferers report feeling nauseous or vomiting after the onset of a migraine. Fortunately, CBD has been shown to have antiemetic properties and can help alleviate this symptom. 

Stress and Anxiety

Migraines can make it difficult to go to school or work, interact with people, and enjoy daily activities–– which can be stress-inducing in many of those who suffer from them. Furthermore, stress and anxiety can actually induce migraines or make existing migraines worse.

Its ability to reduce stress and anxiety is one more reason why CBD for migraines can be a great treatment option. CBD can not only ease these symptoms, but also help prevent the migraine from persisting and worsening. 

Research on CBD for migraines

Currently, there are no controlled studies specifically addressing isolated CBD for migraines. However, some studies have looked at the relationship between migraines and full-spectrum cannabis extracts (including those containing THC).   

This comprehensive review from 2018 was written with the aim of pooling together all of the existing evidence surrounding cannabinoids and their effects on migraines and headaches. 

Some key findings include:

  • Overwhelming evidence supports the use of CBD to treat pain, inflammation and nausea. These benefits may extend to headaches and migraines due to the overlapping biological mechanisms linking migraine pain and pain from other conditions. 
  • Cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, all compounds found within the cannabis plant, play significant roles in influencing each other and working synergistically. Extracts containing a broad spectrum of these constituents may be more effective than isolated cannabinoids alone. 

Most of the research so far has focused on the effects of cannabis as a whole rather than pure CBD for migraines. But even if you’re unable to use products containing THC or you prefer to avoid it for any reason, you may still benefit from a full-spectrum CBD oil containing various other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids in addition to CBD. 

Risks of using CBD for migraines

The biggest risk is the lack of controlled studies specifically looking at CBD for migraines. There is no way of knowing whether CBD will be an effective treatment for your migraines other than trying it for yourself. 

CBD has not been found to produce any serious, harmful or long-term side effects. 

Contrary to common belief, CBD carries no risk of overdose or addiction, and it may actually reduce or prevent addiction to other substances such as opioids and pain medications.

How to use CBD for migraines 

CBD for migraines can be ingested orally, vaped, or used topically on the temples, neck, or any other area of the body affected by the migraine. 

The proper dosage of CBD for migraines has not been researched or developed. All bodies are unique and respond differently, so it can be hard to provide dosage recommendations. 

Determining your ideal dose will take some trial and error. Fortunately, CBD is very forgiving and there is no risk of overdosing. 

It’s generally recommended that you start with a low dose (around 25mg CBD) and gradually increase the amount until symptoms improve. If you experience drowsiness or other mild side effects, lowering your dosage may help. As always, talk to your doctor before beginning CBD treatment for your migraines.  

Where to find the best CBD for migraines

Hemp-derived CBD products are legal in most states and available over-the-counter in stores and through online retailers.

As mentioned, research suggests that CBD oils containing a wider profile of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids may be more effective for treating migraines and headaches. Migraine sufferers may achieve better results by using full-spectrum CBD rather than a CBD isolate.

It’s also important to look for high-quality CBD oil from a reputable company. When searching for the best CBD for migraines, we recommend one that: 

  • Was produced in a GMP facility
  • Was extracted using a clean method, such as thermal extraction
  • Contains no traces of harsh solvents or chemicals
  • Has been tested by a third-party company to verify its contents
  • Contains only clean, organic ingredients

All full-spectrum CBD products from Altura Wellness have been manufactured using a clean, efficient extraction method that requires no additional processing of the oil. Our products contain a full profile of beneficial phytochemicals and no traces of harsh solvents, which we’ve confirmed through vigorous lab testing. You can shop for Altura CBD products here.