According to the Migraine Trust, a “Migraine is an inherited tendency to have headaches with sensory disturbance.” They go on to say, “It’s an instability in the way the brain deals with incoming sensory information, and that instability can become influenced by physiological changes like sleep, exercise, and hunger.”
Headaches can be bad enough, but migraines take it to an entirely new level. Headache symptoms include pain, throbbing, and tension. A migraine only adds to this list, with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, sensitivity to noises or smells, and blurred vision.
There is no cure for migraines. If you are one of the 1 billion global sufferers of migraines and headaches, you’ll try just about anything to make this trauma disappear. You may have heard recent rumors that cannabidiol (CBD) could provide effective relief. Is CBD for migraines a legitimate treatment? You are not the only one who has questions about CBD for migraines and headaches.
How CBD May Help Relieve Migraines
Most of what we know about CBD for migraines comes from research into CBD for other health issues, like inflammation and pain. We also can glean some insight from the hundreds (or thousands) of people reporting their effective use of CBD oil for migraine pain. Their stories are perfect case studies on the possible benefits.
At the very least, we know that cannabis has a long history of use for natural headache relief. There is evidence from clinical notes pre-prohibition in the 1800s when cannabis was a widely used medicine.
According to these notes, as reported by the article “The Use of Cannabis for Headache Disorders,” most doctors prescribed cannabis in an alcohol-based tincture. They typically delivered a small, non-intoxicating dose two to three times daily. Doctors may have given larger treatments for more severe migraines. Of course, we have no idea the potency of these preparations, nor the cannabinoid content.
But what about CBD (specifically) for migraines? The evidence is still very preliminary. There is strong support for CBD as an anti-inflammatory compound, and as a possible pain reliever for certain types of pain.
Furthermore, scientists have identified a specific receptor as a possible target for migraine treatment. It’s the TRPV1 receptor, which in easy-to-understand-terms is essentially a pain receptor.
What does the TRPV1 have to do with CBD? CBD is a pain receptor agonist, which means it can turn off over-activation. Again, very preliminary results, but this connection between TRPV1, migraines, and cannabis is exciting.
How To Use CBD To Reduce the Severity of Migraines and Headaches
As you may already know, there are many different types of CBD products available today. The most common is CBD oil or CBD tincture. These are liquids, which you usually dose under the tongue and allow to dissolve sublingually.
How much CBD for migraines or headache relief should you take? If you are new to using CBD oil therapeutically, there are a few fundamental rules to follow. Always start with a low daily dose and increase slowly. A small dosage for most people is 10 mg a day. Likely 10 mg isn’t going to do much for your headache, but it’s crucial to get acquainted with CBD before increasing the dosage.
Increase slowly over a few days. Slow and steady is important, again to allow your body to acclimatize. Typically for headaches and migraines, you’ll need a substantial dose of CBD to achieve any benefit – at least according to what people report. To date, there are no clinical trials on CBD for migraines, so we must rely on shared experiences to determine doses.
Although many people use CBD oil daily to treat chronic medical conditions like arthritis, migraines are an acute situation. You’ll only dose CBD oil for migraines when you have one.
According to some folks using CBD for migraines, a big dose of 100 to 200 mg seems to do the trick, but keep in mind everyone is different. You may want to split that large dose up into 2-3 chunks to allow your body to adjust to such a large dose.
The good news is that CBD is generally well tolerated, even in high doses – but there is a low risk of side effects. These side effects, if they occur, are mild – starting low and slowly increasing helps your body adjust.
Other methods you might want to look for are topical preparations, like creams, salves, and balms. You might even find products specially created using CBD for migraines, like roll-on sticks or massage oils. These may contain other helpful natural ingredients like essential oils for added benefit. Rub these into the temples, forehead, between the eyes, or the neck.
There is a lot more to find out about CBD for migraines, and the medical community is only now exploring the possibilities. Right now, we can rely on early research on CBD for inflammation and pain. We can also take solace knowing so many people are already relying on the cannabinoid in their fight against migraines and headaches.