Busting Migraines With CBD

Meg Kramer, Managing Editor, CBD Hacker

From 1874 until 1942, cannabis was one of the most highly preferred treatments for the pulsing, debilitating headaches known as migraines. But decades of prohibition drove the plant underground. As a result, most migraine sufferers are unaware of the potential benefits of cannabinoid medicine.

Today, the increasing mainstream acceptance of cannabis means that more and more people are picking up where physicians in the early 20th century left off. New research and technologies mean that there are increasingly effective products at our fingertips, which are tailored to our different needs.

So, what’s new since 1942? For one thing, scientists have a much more refined understanding of the medically relevant compounds that cannabis produces. And one of those compounds, CBD, is drawing more and more attention as a treatment for migraines.

Read on to learn what you need to know about using CBD to kick your migraines to the curb.

Why Use CBD Instead of Medical Cannabis for Migraines?

Like THC, CBD has analgesic, or pain-killing, properties. But unlike THC, CBD is non-intoxicating. In other words, it doesn’t give you the giggles or the munchies, or cause any of the other stereotypical effects of cannabis.

So, for people who want to use cannabis as a preventative measure against migraines, high-CBD, low-THC products can provide relief at times when they don’t want to feel altered.

For example, many people don’t want to feel “high” when they’re at work, when they’re meeting with their child’s teacher, or when they’re driving.

And legal issues are another common consideration. For example, people who are subject to drug testing may want to avoid ingesting products that contain THC. And even in many places where medical cannabis is legal, migraines aren’t always on the list of approved conditions. Hemp-derived CBD is a more widely available choice, with many companies shipping products throughout the United States.

How Does CBD Bust Migraines?

There’s still a lot that we don’t know about what’s going on in the brain during a migraine. And that makes them a headache to treat.

Even experts admit that the most commonly prescribed medications only work about half of the time, and patients often stop taking them due to unwanted side effects.

It’s no wonder that a safe, plant-based medication with few side effects sounds like a dream come true for many migraine sufferers.

So, how does it work? Well, CBD oils’ anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-anxiety effects may be key to its effectiveness against migraines.

CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties could help prevent some of the vascular phenomena that play a role in migraines. And CBD’s ability to increase levels of the neurotransmitters glutamate and serotonin may help to explain its ability to regulate pain.

Have There Been Any Studies on CBD for Migraines?

The research on using CBD for migraines is still in the very early stages. There simply haven’t been many studies on CBD alone. Rather, most of the existing literature deals with medical cannabis products in general.

 But one survey of medical marijuana users with migraines found some interesting differences in whether they preferred high-THC or high-CBD strains.

The researchers found that the people who used capsules or oils tended to prefer high-CBD strains. On the other hand, patients who smoked or vaped their cannabis preferred high-THC strains.

It’s important to keep in mind that the study just looked at use patterns. They didn’t break down differences in efficacy between the different strains, and they didn’t look for other factors that might influence a patient’s choice of products.

Is It Safe to Use CBD for Migraines?

Generally speaking, CBD has a very good safety profile. But there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re thinking of using CBD for migraines.

Many people report experiencing relief from migraines when they use CBD. But there are also anecdotal reports that CBD actually triggers migraines for some people. And when you’re selecting a product, you should review the ingredients carefully. Some CBD manufacturers add flavorings or essential oils that could play a role in triggering your migraines.

Does CBD Interact with Migraine Medications?

If you’re already using medication for your migraines, you should exercise some caution when you add CBD into the mix. We always advise consulting your physician before using CBD to treat any medical condition.

That’s because CBD does have the potential to interact with some other drugs. The group of liver enzymes responsible for metabolizing CBD is also in charge of breaking down many common pharmaceuticals. So, basically, there’s a chance that your medication’s effects could feel more or less intense than usual if you add CBD to your regimen. 

Future clinical trials are needed to investigate the use of CBD for migraines, so that we can better understand the mechanisms by which it works. More research will also help patients and doctors to make more educated decisions about dosage and treatment protocols when using CBD.