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Caucasian woman with migraine

Overview

Migraines are much worse than stress, or any headache. To make matters worse, most activities, such as walking or excessive noise can make your elevate your migraine. It can truly make your life miserable and interfere with any plans you may have. Many with migraines will do anything for relief.

Although there are many things that can be done, such as taking pharmaceuticals, adjusting lighting, and relaxation, it’s likely that you’ve tried those techniques before and are seeking a new treatment. CBD oil may just be what you’re looking for.

But what really is CBD oil. Does it work? Is CBD even legal? And, can CBD really relieve migraine headaches?

Today, we’ll do our best to discuss how CBD works, it’s legality, and present studies that have been made related to migraines. So you can be better prepared when you decide to try CBD oil for migraines.

Is CBD Oil Even Legal?

Before we jump into how CBD works and studies related to CBD oil for migraines we want to quickly discuss the legality of CBD to avoid any confusion through out our in depth article.

In 2018 the U.S. farm bill passed that allowed industrial hemp to be grown and is managed like any other crop by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This means hemp and hemp derived products, including CBD oil, are legal.

Now that we have covered the legality of CBD let’s jump into what CBD is and how it can help migraines.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD (Cannabidiol) oil is not marijuana. Many confuse it with Marijuana but they are not the same. CBD is one of about 113 chemical compounds found naturally in Cannabis. Another well known compound in cannabis is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the compound that gets you high if you smoke marijuana.

In order for CBD to be produced legally it can only contain 0.3% of THC. In other words taking CBD will not get you high. We’ll discuss this in more detail later.

How Does CBD Actually Work?

The way it works is that CBD interacts with the body’s cannabinoid receptors (CB1 & CB2).

Although there are many studies on CBD, the way that it interacts with the body is still somewhat of a mystery.

Even though certain studies have supported that CBD can help reduce seizure frequency for patients with epilepsy, it’s still unclear how exactly it works with the body. (source)

Studies seem to support the idea that CBD can limit inflammation in the body which can lower pain.

More research is progressively being done on the topic.

CBD Oil Properties That Help Relieve Migraines

Even though CBD has only been legal for a few years, the medicinal applications of Cannabis are nothing new.

The NCCIH mentions how Cannabinoids (CBD and other related compounds) may be helpful in treating certain conditions such as:

  • Chronic Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of appetite
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • and other symptoms

A recent study [1] points out some of the promising properties of CBD that can potentially relieve migraines include:

  • Anticonsulsive
  • Analgesic
  • Antiemetic
  • Anti-inflammatory

The same study mentions how the abundance of CBD1 receptors in the brain can make them a target for treatment of migraine.[1]

On the other hand the same study brought light to the idea that CB2 receptors inside of immune cells can be targeted and reduce the inflammatory symptoms that sever inflammation can cause.[1]

Can CBD Oil Help With My Migraines

Your not the only one wondering if CBD oil for migraines will actually help. The answer to this questions is possibly. There are many studies that have been done showing the potential treatment of migraines with CBD, but everyone is different so you will only really know if you try it.

Although CBD is legal at a federal level and you can buy it with no prescription be sure you consult with a medical professional before use, especially if you have other conditions or are currently taking other medications.

How to Properly Use CBD

There are a few ways that CBD can be used. There are pros and cons to the different ways to take CBD.

Vaping: Vaping CBD is the fastest way to feel the effects of CBD. Although there are health concerns with vaping, it is the preferred method for many.

Tincture (Oil): taking CBD in it’s oil form (typically reduced with MCT oil which is a variation of coconut oil) is fast acting and the most popular method to intake CBD. You would take the dose orally and let it sit under the tongue for 60-90 seconds until it dissolves.

Edibles: edibles are another way to take CBD but take much longer to take effect since they have to be digested. It’s also harder to get the right dosage since it takes so long to kick in and you may not know if it’s working for  few hours.

Recent Research About CBD for Migraine Headaches

There are many scientists who advocate the use of CBD for migraines but there is still not enough evidence to support the idea that CBD oil will alleviate all migraine headaches. [1]

Researchers suggest that within time, as legalities for CBD and medical marijuana change more research will be available to show consistent treatment of migraines. But, for now we only have limited research.

Studies on CBD and THC

Some research suggests that many physical, phsycological and emotional benefits have been attributed to phytocannabinoids (CBD & THC). CBD and THC are the most studied extracts from cannabis sativa a species of marijuana and hemp.[4]

According to the same research phytocannabinoids (CBD & THC) are possible treatments for many disorders such as malignant brain tumors, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and many other problematic conditions. [4]

Medical Marijuana Studies

A 2016 clinical study found that migraine frequency was reduced from roughly 10 per month to approximately 4 per month in a test group of medical marijuana users.

In this study 121 adults with diagnosis of migraine headaches were recommended treatment with medical marijuana by a physician. Most patients used medical marijuana daily to prevent the migraine headaches. Of all uses, edible marijuana reported the most negative effects. [3]

Although CBD is different than medical marijuana, primarily because of the percentage of THC, medical marijuana and CBD have many commonalities. Both medical marijuana and CBD oil contain many cannabinoids.

Is CBD Oil Safe?

Research has shown that taking CBD oil does not lead to a euphoric high. THC is the compound in cannabis that gets you high. Hemp products are required by law to have less than 0.3% THC.

In certain studies, CBD has been shown to be an effective treatment for multiple disorders such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, arthiritis, and even migraines.[2]

Cannabinoids have been recently emerging as a possible treatment for migraine pain.[1] Many studies are being done and the research seems promising.

Does CBD Get You High?

As mentioned above CBD oil does not get you high. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that makes you feel high. CBD can only be sold if it contains less than 0.3% of THC.

At the same time it’s important to note that not all CBD manufacturing companies are reputable. Be sure you do your research and only consume CBD oil that has third party lab tests to support the doses indicated on the label.

How Much CBD Should I Take?

There is no exact dosage that is recommended. If you are trying CBD oil for migraines for the first time start low, if you don’t experience anything increase the dosage. CBD has been found to be safe even at high levels of consumption. [5]

Also consider the way you are consuming the CBD. If you are vaping you will feel the effects faster vs taking edibles since edibles have to be digested.

Everyone is different and unfortunately there is no hard and fast rule for dosing CBD oil. You simply have to try it out and adjust the dosage as you go.

Should You Use it?

If you’re considering CBD oil for migraines be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before taking it, especially if you are currently taking any medications.

Also, be sure to check if CBD oil is legal in your state. State laws are constantly changing and you want to be sure your state allows the consumption of CBD. There are some states that consider CBD to be illegal because of it’s connection to marijuana.

CBD may or may not be right for you. At the end of the day it is up to you and your loved ones to consider the pros and cons of CBD.

Sources

    1. Leimuranta P, Khiroug L, Giniatullin R. Emerging role of (endo)cannabinoids in migraine. Front Pharmacol. 2018;9:420. doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.00420
    2. Lochte BC, Beletsky A, Samuel NK, Grant I. The use of cannabis for headache disorders. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):61-71. doi:10.1089/can.2016.0033
    3. Rhyne DN, Anderson SL, Gedde M, Borgelt LM. Effects of medical marijuana on migraine headache frequency in an adult population. Pharmacotherapy. 2016;36(5):505-10. doi:10.1002/phar.1673
    4. Maroon J, Bost J. Review of the neurological benefits of phytocannabinoids. Surg Neurol Int. 2018;9:91. Published 2018 Apr 26. doi:10.4103/sni.sni_45_18

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