Headaches are the worst! But hardcore migraines, those are just pure pain.
Everyone has had a headache at least once or twice in their life. For some though, it’s a chronic condition that affects their overall quality of life. Far too often, typical headache medicines don’t even get rid of migraine pain, leading sufferers to harsher narcotics or alcohol.
Can CBD help reduce pain from a migraine headache? Is CBD more effective than other over-the-counter pain relievers?
This brief article answers those questions. Read to discover the source of migraine pain and how CBD might help you with headaches.
Be sure to read until the end to get an exclusive offer on high-quality CBD in the U.K. and E.U.
What Is A Migraine Exactly?
A migraine sufferer experiences severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, typically afflicting one side of the head.
Migraines often come along with nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. They can go on for hours and even days, becoming so severe that it interrupts daily life.
The best remedy for acute and chronic migraines is a safe medicine that works for you along with practicing a healthy lifestyle and diet.
Source of Migraine Pain
Nearly 40 million people in the United States are affected by severe migraines, with many of them suffering from chronic migraines (15+ per month).
Migraine pain is a bit mysterious in that we know what’s happening and how, but we can’t always answer the why. So what’s going on in the brain that causes migraines?
Migraines begin with a trigger. This is typically some type of incoming sensory stimulation that wouldn’t bother the average person, such as:
- Sudden changes in light, sound, or pressure
- Strong smells
- Certain foods
- Drugs and medications
The most commonly experienced migraine triggers are stress, hormonal changes, barometric pressure changes, and bright lights
As a result of overstimulation, the brain responds with out-of-control electrical activity that alters the blood flow to the brain, which affects the brain’s nerves, causing pain. Although parallels are often drawn between neuropathic pain— pain that stems directly from the nervous system— migraines aren’t classified as neuropathic pain.
People experiencing more than fifteen migraines in one month are classified as chronic migraine sufferers. For them, changes to mood, appetite, and other body activities can signal that a migraine is coming.
This is the first phase of the chronic migraine experience, known as the pre-headache or “prodrome” phase.
The second phase of chronic migraines occurs before the headache and can last anywhere from minutes to hours.
It’s called the “aura” phase. In this phase, people may experience:
- Distorted shapes and patterns in the vision
- Flashing lights
- Blind spots
However, not all migraine sufferers experience all the phases of a chronic migraine headache. The third phase is where the pain comes and the headache begins. It can last from a few hours to around three days.
Chronic migraine headaches range from mild to debilitating and can cause related symptoms including nausea, vomiting, anxiety, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.
The final phase is called the postdrome phase and is often known as a migraine hangover. It comes with feelings of exhaustion, dizziness, and neck stiffness.
Does CBD Relieve Migraine Pain?
If you’re concerned about the side effects of pain medications for migraines, CBD may be something worth trying. It works in many ways to alleviate symptoms related to migraines.
Medical experts classify migraine headaches as the result of intense stimulation to sensory nerves, caused by the release of pro-inflammatory compounds released during a migraine.
This is why analgesic (pain relievers) and anti-inflammatory medicines are used to treat migraines.
Luckily, CBD is both a powerful analgesic and anti-inflammatory, so trying CBD for migraines makes sense. Furthermore, it has great antiemetic properties that calm nausea and vomiting related to migraines.
It works by stimulating tone and signaling in the endocannabinoid system, which is intimately related to regulating nearly every aspect of health and wellness including:
- Inflammatory response
- Pain perception
- Healthy sleep
- And more
While many experts advocate taking CBD for migraines, there isn’t adequate scientific evidence to say for sure that it will cure everyone’s migraines. But it could be worth a try!
CBD is non-toxic and non-intoxicating. That means that you don’t have to worry about harsh side effects or feeling drugged or stoned.
Taking CBD for Headaches
Unfortunately, clinical research on CBD and migraines is limited. However, some studies have used CBD with trace amounts of THC.
A 2016 study published in Pharmacotherapy found that the frequency of migraines was reduced from around ten per month to approximately four per month in a group of medical marijuana users.
Another research paper published in 2017 in the Congress of the European Academy of Neurology suggests that cannabinoids might help prevent migraines and ease headache pain.
Their Phase 1 reports found that an oral dose of 200mg of 9% CBD reduced acute pain from migraines by 55%. Further research suggests that combining THC and CBD may be helpful for those with severe pain.
Data from a clinically validated survey revealed that 86% of headache sufferers experienced a decrease in the impact of migraines after using CBD oil for 30 days.
The survey also showed that migraine sufferers found greater relief with cannabis compared to non-cannabis treatments like opioids, triptans, and NSAIDs.
Is CBD Safe for Migraines?
As with any substance, there are always risks and benefits to weigh. What are the risks of taking CBD?
Being non-toxic and non-intoxicating, CBD has an incredibly high safety profile. It is generally well-tolerated in children and adults, but it does have some risks.
In rare cases, taking too high of a dose may trigger the onset of headaches. That’s why it’s always best to start with a small dose and work your way up in increments over a week or two until you’ve reached the desired effect.
CBD may also lower blood pressure. If you’re prone to dizziness or lightheadedness, there could be a risk of feeling faint or falling.
What Are The Risks of Taking CBD Oil?
CBD increases GABA, a neurotransmitter that calms signaling in the nervous system. GABA helps to keep the body partially paralyzed while you sleep, preventing you from acting out your dreams and getting hurt.
In some cases, waking with too much GABA in your system can cause sleep paralysis, where you feel heavy and can’t move. This can be a difficult experience, especially for those with anxiety and trauma.
However, sleep paralysis is usually short-lived and self-mediated. But, it is still another reason to start with small doses, working your way up over time until you’ve reached the desired effect.
Everyone responds uniquely to CBD. In some cases, feeling changes to mood, somnolence, and fatigue may also occur.
Lastly, similarly to grapefruit, cannabidiol alters the way certain pharmaceuticals are processed by the liver, which could lead to a toxic build-up over time.
Always consult your doctor to treat serious medical conditions.
What’s the Best CBD for Migraine Headaches?
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