Updated on January 25, 2024

CBD for migraines

Fact Checked

Key takeaways

  • Migraine is a common neurological problem affecting people of all ages.
  • Migraine affects about 1 billion people globally with over 39 million people in the United States.
  • Researchers believe migraines is linked to endocannabinoid deficiency.
  • Migraine patients who used CBD experienced over 40% improvement in their symptoms.
  • Pure CBD is safe for people dealing with migraines.

Migraine is one of the world's most common health conditions and the most prevalent neurological disease. A neurological disease affects the brain or nerves. Statistics show that roughly 39 million people in the United States and 1 billion people worldwide have migraines.

Individuals suffering with migraines may experience recurrent and often debilitating headaches, characterized by severe, throbbing pain, typically on one side of the head. Migraines can last hours to days and may be accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light (photophobia), and sensitivity to sound (phonophobia).

The condition significantly impacts daily life, leading to disability during an attack. Despite its widespread prevalence, the exact cause of migraines remains not fully understood, and treatment options focus on managing symptoms and preventing attacks.

Symptoms of migraines

Migraines are characterized by a range of symptoms that can vary in intensity and duration. The most common symptoms include:

  1. Headache Pain
  2. Auras
  3. Nausea and Vomiting
  4. Sensitivity to Light (Photophobia)
  5. Sensitivity to Sound (Phonophobia)
  6. Pain on One Side
  7. Pulsating Sensation
  8. Dizziness or Vertigo
  9. Fatigue
  10. Changes in Mood
  11. Stiff Neck or Shoulders

What does research say about CBD and Migraines?

Some researchers believe low levels of cannabinoids or cannabinoid deficiency may lead to migraine and other disease conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This situation is known as clinical endocannabinoid deficiency.

Another study published in 2023, shows that CBD and the ECS are linked to migraine pain and they may also play critical roles in modulating migraine-related pain. The research findings suggest that when CBD is taken in a way that affects the whole body (systemic administration), it reaches specific areas in the brain related to migraine pain. Additionally, the study reveals, for the first time, that CBD influences the transmission of pain signals associated with migraines. This effect is likely achieved through a complex signaling mechanism involving different pathways. Essentially, it implies that CBD might have a role in modulating the way the brain processes and perceives pain related to migraines, operating through a network of signaling pathways.

There is also a great connection between full-spectrum CBD products and improving migraine-related symptoms. This was reported in a 2021 study where researchers administered either 25 mg of amitriptyline or a combination of THC and CBD totaling 200 mg per day for three months to migraine patients. They also used THC and CBD (200 mg) during acute migraine attacks. The results showed that the combination of THC and CBD had a 40.4% improvement in migraine symptoms compared to amitriptyline, which had a 40.1% improvement. This suggests that the THC and CBD combination was slightly more effective in reducing migraine symptoms than amitriptyline in this particular study.

How may CBD assist people with migraines?

  1. Pain Relief: CBD has anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. Migraines often involve severe headaches, and the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD may contribute to pain relief.
  2. Neuroprotective Effects: Some studies indicate that CBD has neuroprotective properties, which means it may help protect nerve cells from damage. This could be relevant for preventing or mitigating the effects of migraines.
  3. Anti-Nausea Effects: CBD has shown promise in reducing nausea and vomiting, which are common symptoms associated with migraines.
  4. Anxiolytic Effects: Migraines can be triggered or exacerbated by stress and anxiety. CBD's anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects might help alleviate these triggers.
  5. Vasodilation: CBD may influence blood flow by promoting vasodilation (widening of blood vessels). Since changes in blood flow are associated with migraines, this effect could be relevant.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best CBD Strains for Migraines?

Indica-dominant strains with higher CBD content are often recommended for migraines. Strains like ACDC or Harlequin, known for their anti-inflammatory properties, may be beneficial.

What is the best CBD Dose for Migraines?

Dosing varies, but starting with 10-20 mg per day and adjusting based on individual response is common.

CBN or CBD for Migraines which is better?

Although there is limited research on CBN and CBD for migraines, there are more scientific evidences supporting the therapeutic role of CBD for migraines than CBN. CBN also possess therapeutic benefits which may be useful for people with migraines.

Are there CBD Side Effects?

While pure CBD products may be linked to few side effects, some people have confirmed experiencing side effects like dry mouth, fatigue, changes in appetite, and diarrhea after using CBD.

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Lo Castro F, Baraldi C, Pellesi L, Guerzoni S. Clinical Evidence of Cannabinoids in Migraine: A Narrative Review. J Clin Med. 2022 Mar 8;11(6):1479. doi: 10.3390/jcm11061479. PMID: 35329806; PMCID: PMC8949974.

Greco, R., Francavilla, M., Demartini, C. et al. Characterization of the biochemical and behavioral effects of cannabidiol: implications for migraine. J Headache Pain 24, 48 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1186/s10194-023-01589-y

Okusanya BO, Lott BE, Ehiri J, McClelland J, Rosales C. Medical Cannabis for the Treatment of Migraine in Adults: A Review of the Evidence. Front Neurol. 2022 May 30;13:871187. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2022.871187. PMID: 35711271; PMCID: PMC9197380.

Gibson, L. P., Hitchcock, L. N., Bryan, A. D., & Bidwell, L. C. (2020). Experience of migraine, its severity, and perceived efficacy of treatments among cannabis users. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 56, 102619. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2020.102619

The content on Nesa's Hemp blog is for educational purposes only. We meticulously research and cite our sources, but advise consulting a professional before making decisions based on our information. We derive our content from reputable studies and publications, but individual circumstances may vary. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of our content to every situation. Nesa's Hemp blog and its authors are not liable for any loss or inconvenience resulting from reliance on our information. By using our blog, you waive any claims against us regarding the accuracy or completeness of our content.

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