Migraines are severe and disabling recurring headaches. They can last for hours or days (between 4 and 72 hours) and often run in families, but also environmental factors, studies have proven, play an important role.
Almost one in four European or American households have someone suffering from migraines. Hemp for migraine has been used for thousands of years and recent studies have confirmed that CBD should be taken seriously as a migraine treatment.
According to The Migraine Trust close to 15% of adults (one in seven people) have migraines, most of which are between the ages of 25 and 55, and lowest income and Caucasian people are more likely to suffer from migraines.
Migraine is not just a severe headache, but a cocktail of incapacitating neurological symptoms, which amongst others includes an intense throbbing pulsating pain recurring constantly on one side of the head. About 30% of the migraine patients suffer from pain on both sides of the head.
The American Migraine Study reported that 91% of migraine sufferers miss work or can’t function during a migraine attack.
CBD or cannabidiol originates from cannabis. But because cannabis has a large percentage of THC -the component that gets you high- and a small quantity of CBD, industrial hemp was cultivated to have a large amount of cannabidiol and a very small amount of THC (less than 0,3%, which is the legal limit in most countries) which doesn’t get you high but has the synergetic health improvement effects.
Despite the variety of CBDs health benefits for us and our pets, pain relief is one of the most common and known reasons to take cannabidiol. For many thousands of years, our ancestors have known about the healing properties of cannabis and have used it mostly for mitigating pain and anti-inflammatory. But since a decade or two, scientific research has shed more light on the working of cannabis in our bodies.
If side effects do occur, the quality and source of CBD oil are most likely the reasons behind them
It is virtually impossible to overdose and CBD is not harmful to our health even at extreme doses
In thousands of years, not a single death from CBD or cannabis use has been recorded
Scientists in the early nineties revealed, because of cannabis, a system in our body that we were not aware of before, the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is responsible in our body for pain- and emotional balance (homeostasis) as well as the healing system. It interacts with all parts of our body through neuroreceptors and regulates pain, mood, immune system etc.
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Phytocannabinoids are the endocannabinoids organic twin. They are found in nature, in the cannabis plant and in large concentrations in the especially for that purpose cultivated industrial hemp plant. This explains why cannabidiol has such a broad positive impact on our health and has practically no overdoses limit and side effects.
“Migraine effects three times as many women as men” according to The Migraine Trust.
Dr. Bonni Goldstein writes in a 2017 article about migraine headaches that recent studies show that there is a reason to believe that migraine is caused by a deficiency of endocannabinoids and abnormal inflammatory response.
Dr. Bonni GoldStein - CannMed Conference Speech
When a migraine sufferer develops an imbalance in the brain, caused by a migraine trigger, the endocannabinoid system should produce enough endocannabinoids to restore the balance, to avoid development of a migraine. However, when there are not enough of them (endocannabinoid deficiency), CBD can supplement them, restoring the balance that otherwise would have persisted allowing the migraine to develop.
These are very good indications that cannabidiol (CBD) can stop a migraine from developing before even the first signs of it being noticed. The so-called migraine trigger (like hunger, bright light certain food or smells etc.) might initiate an inflammatory process. As research has already demonstrated the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol, there is a good chance that CBD can also halt this process at the development stage.
However, more lab studies on the working of cannabidiol on migraine are necessary but unfortunately, there are not many studies carried out so far. This, despite the fact that already in 1996 A. Lichtman carried out a study that confirmed that cannabinoids can bind the pain transmission area of the brain implicated in migraine generation.
In 2014 a lab test on rats was carried out that were injected with experimental migraines. The cannabis like medicine caused rats to have less pain, proving the potential of cannabis in migraine treatment: “Activation of CB2 receptors as a potential therapeutic target for migraine: evaluation in an animal model.”
For the treatment of neuropathic pain with cannabis clinical trials have been performed. But despite the fact that they showed promising results, very little research has been done on how to use it and which cannabinoids (cannabis components like CBD and THC etc.) have which kind of effects or contribute to the effects. When looking at the even more specific area of headache disorders, even less research has been done.
Nevertheless, some studies have recently been carried out:
A 2015 study suggests that medicinal use of cannabis may have a therapeutic role for a multitude of diseases, particularly chronic pain disorders including headaches: “Comprehensive Review of Medicinal Marijuana, Cannabinoids, and Therapeutic Implications in Medicine and Headache: What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been ….”
In a recent study (2016) of 121 migraine patients, 103 (85%) showed reduced frequency of migraines: “Effects of Medical Marijuana on Migraine Headache Frequency in an Adult Population”. Of these 103 participants, with 14 (11.6%) migraines were completely prevented and with other participants, the frequency was reduced from 10.4 to 4.6 times per month.
In 2017 a study was published on PubMed on “The Use of Cannabis for Headache Disorders”. The study concludes that cannabis has potential as a headache treatment. Although clinical trials still need to prove efficacy, anecdotal studies suggest that there is a great potential.
From 1839 to 1937 cannabis was regularly prescribed, by the established medical system, as a medication for migraines, headaches, and other pain. In 1937 it was banned with the introduction of the Marijuana Tax Act. The 2017 study includes a summary of historical treatment practices for migraines during the century it was legally used.
Can CBD cause headaches?
We have no experience ourselves with headaches being caused by CBD oil for migraines. On the contrary, cannabidiol has been proven to relieve headaches. No evidence can be found that CBD causes headaches.
However, be aware of poor quality or even fake products out there, claiming the benefits of CBD. It all comes down to the quality and the source of the cannabidiol oil. Pay attention to the quality when buying CBD. We have tested the best CBD oil for pain and the best CBD oil for anxiety for you.
CBD Oil Dosage for Migraines
Just to maintain your health and relief small pains and minor headaches 20 to 25 mg of cannabidiol per day should be enough. It is recommended to rather divide the daily dosage amount and take portions 3 times a day, than the whole daily amount at once.
People react differently to cannabidiol, meaning that for some even 60 mg per day might be enough to relief and prevent severe migraines, whilst others need to take more than 100 mg to get the same relief. Besides that, the intensity of migraines and the pain threshold of every individual is different. It is therefore difficult to come up with a standard cannabidiol migraine dosing.
But unlike the THC oil dosing for cannabis cancer treatment, which needs to be built up carefully, cannabidiol can be taken boldly. In order to accommodate the different conditions, we want to provide you a set of guidelines based on the average migraine cases reported to us. The following general guidelines are applicable:
Start with a regular daily dosage of 40 mg of CBD oil for migraines per day and slowly work up to the recommended daily dosage for migraines
Take incremental steps of 4 days and 10 mg
The average recommended CBD oil for migraines dosage, taken into account the above-mentioned differences in conditions, is 60 mg per day
As soon as your migraine relieves, stay on that dosage level for another two weeks (please report your daily dosage that worked in the comment section)
If at 60 mg per day your migraine still persists, continue adding 10 mg every 4 days (no harm has been reported even with extremely high dosages of 1500 mg per day)
After this treatment it is recommended to use a health maintenance dosage of 20 to 25 mg per day especially for people with regular migraines or headaches, to avoid reoccurrence.
Please share your thoughts in the comment section below this article on what dosage worked best for your migraines. This way other people will benefit from your experience. Thanks!
How to take CBD for migraines, cluster, and tension headaches
There are several ways of taking CBD oil as we described in detail in a separate article “How to Use CBD Oil?“. However, for migraines you want the quickest and strongest effect, so we recommend sublingual consumption.
The three main ways of taking CBD are in order of absorbance rate:
Vaping and smoking
Through your digestive system
Vaping and smoking have the quickest effect and with this method, the largest amount of cannabidiol is absorbed by your body. Therefore this is a very popular method for migraine relief. Often, one puff a day keeps the migraine away.
Sublingual consumption, putting the drops under your tongue until they are absorbed in about one to one and a half minute, has a high rate of CBD into your bodies systems (but slightly less than vaping) and is quicker than using any of the consumption methods that route the CBD through your digestive system.
Not only is the absorbance through your digestive system a little less, it also takes longer to take effect, because of the long way before it enters your bloodstream.
Success stories of migraine patients
Overview of Scientific Studies and Reports
Check out the studies below, if you are interested in the medical proof and not scared of reading through some professional medical jargon.