CBD and Migraines

If you’ve ever experienced a migraine or regularly suffer from them you are both interested and skeptical of any new medicine or treatment. Seemingly nothing provides consistent relief or more likely it just takes the edge off and you still deal with pain. With CBD becoming a much more mainstream product and research starting to really take shape studies are being done to show the relationship between CBD relief and those that suffer from chronic migraines.

Around the world over 10% of the population is affected by migraines, that’s over 700 million people with documented cases of severe headaches. Migraines are in the top 10 of disabilities and has been the subject of thousands of studies to understand the causes and look for treatments. 

What are Migraines?

Classic migraine is a headache that is preceded by a scotoma, a visual disturbance often appearing flashing blind spot with luminous edges, this can last around 20 to 25 minutes and goes away when the headache starts. 

A typical migraine is when the headache is not limited to one side have neurological disturbances like hypersensitivity to light, sound and can cause nausea as well as vomiting. These symptoms do not precede the headache but are concurrent with the headache. Less common migraines include ocular, abdominal, and chronic migraines. These also include “cluster” and “thunderclap” headaches which are much more severe in intensity, but are not considered specifically migraines.

Tension headaches are much more common and affect nearly 80% of the world. This type of headache can occur from the following reasons:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Poor posture
  • Emotional stress

Common Migraine Medications

There are numerous medications for migraines and plenty are available over the counter, while others are prescribed by a physician. Some of these medications include:

  • Tylenol
  • Ibuprofen
  • Aspirin
  • Naproxen
  • Amerge
  • Axert
  • Frova

While these medications range in effectiveness unique to each user, they have side effects and they can be significant when taken daily or overdosed. 

  • Dizziness
  • Blurred Vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Liver Damage
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Rash
  • Vomiting

As these are not always the symptoms every person will have nor are they limited to just these, but these are some of the more common side effects of over the counter and prescribed migraine medication.

Treating Migraines with CBD

With the introduction of CBD into more prominent and mainstream research it’s no wonder that experiments into the consumption of CBD products and their efficacy towards this chronic and widespread ailments has found treatment successes.  

Two areas that research shows us that CBD has the potential to help with headaches are that CBD has been found to reduce inflammation and as a pain suppressant. These two features of CBD are primary reasons that researchers believe and users find relief using this cannabinoid.

In a June 2019 study by Cannabinoids in the Management of Migraine: Clinical Effects and Tolerability, “Rhyne et al. did a retrospective chart review of 121 adults with migraine headache referred for treatment with medical marijuana and had at least one follow-up visit. Migraine headache frequency decreased from 10.4 to 4.6 headaches per month (P < 0.0001) and self-reported positive effects were recorded in 48 patients (39.7%). The scientific validity of this study is however limited by multiple issues: high rate of drop-outs, inconsistent chart documentation, so on.

What we can see here is that while CBD is not a cure all, it has been shown to reduce the frequency of migraines. This might be enough for those who are looking to reduce their dependence on pharmaceutical medicines who are notoriously hard on the liver as well as other side effects. 

Works Cited

Benarroch, Eduardo E. “Synaptic Effects of Cannabinoids.” Neurology, Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on Behalf of the American Academy of Neurology, 18 Nov. 2014, n.neurology.org/content/83/21/1958.

Burman, Petrina. “Treating Migraines & Tension Headaches with Cannabis.” Crowned Hemp, 25 Nov. 2019, crownedhemp.com/treating-migraines-tension-headaches-with-cannabis/.

Steiner1, Timothy J., et al. “Headache Disorders Are Third Cause of Disability Worldwide.” The Journal of Headache and Pain, BioMed Central, 25 June 2015, thejournalofheadacheandpain.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s10194-015-0544-2.

“The Endocannabinoid System in Migraine: from Bench to… : Current Opinion in Neurology.” LWW, journals.lww.com/co-neurology/Fulltext/2019/06000/The_endocannabinoid_system_in_migraine__from_bench.13.aspx.

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