How to use CBD for Migraine Headaches: Study finds 55% Less Pain
Migraines are an intense form of reoccurring headache often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines are very common, impacting more than 38 million people in the United States. The most common treatments for migraines are pharmaceutical drugs like triptans, ergots, opioids, beta-blockers, and antidepressants.
As you’re probably aware, these frequently prescribed medications can cause dependency and often result in moderate to severe side effects. It’s important to understand that pharmaceutical drugs are not your only option for dealing with migraines. In addition to self-care (lifestyle choices), you can incorporate CBD into your treatment regimen for plant-based, natural migraine headache relief.
Not convinced? We’ll show you the evidence from several medical studies conducted over the past ten years. These studies evaluated CBD’s medical efficacy in treating those who suffer from various types of headaches – including migraines. We will address the results below.
In 2017, the 3rd Congress of the European Academy of Neurology reported that the active compounds in cannabis (THC & CBD) are more effective at reducing the frequency of acute migraine headaches than prescription drugs, and cause fewer side effects. The study found that sufferers of chronic migraines given a 200mg dose of a THC/CBD blend each day for three months experienced 55% less pain.
The second part of the study looked at those suffering from chronic acute migraines and those suffering from cluster headaches. Participants were given either the THC/CBD blend or a pharmacetical – antidepressants for migraines and calcium channel blockers for cluster headaches. The study concluded that THC/CBD was better at reducing the frequency of migraine attacks relative to the pharmaceutical alternative. The study also found that the THC/CBD blend resulted in fewer side effects than the pharmaceutical alternative – less stomachaches and muscle pains.
A 2016 study evaluated the efficacy of medical marijuana in treating migraine headaches in 121 adults. The study concluded that, “migraine headache frequency decreased from 10.4 to 4.6 headaches per month with the use of medical marijuana. Most patients used more than one form of marijuana and used it daily for prevention of migraine headache. Positive effects were reported in 48 patients (39.7%), with the most common effects reported being prevention of migraine headache with decreased frequency of migraine headache and aborted migraine headache.”
Interestingly enough, from 1874 to 1942, cannabis was one of the most commonly used migraine remedies advised by physicians.
Recommended CBD Regimen for Headache Disorders
When formulating a CBD regimen for a headache disorders – like migraines and cluster headaches – it’s important to understand that CBD should be used regularly for maximum relief. Meaning it should be used as a preventative first – it can also be used to manage acute flare ups, but the preventative maintenance is most important! Think about it like any other dietary supplement, you want to establish a baseline concentration in your system.
In order to manage migraines, we recommend ingesting full spectrum CBD oil daily in the form of Tinctures or Gel Capsules. The ingredients in the two products are the same, the only difference between the two is the form factor and dosage – pills vs. sublingual tinctures. We suggest those suffering from headaches start with 5-10mg per day of CBD. If relief is not felt at this dosage, we suggest increasing by 5-10mg until the desired effects are achieved. You’ll notice that the Gel Capsules are pre-filled and contain 25mg of CBD per pill – there is no harm in starting at 25mg CBD daily as you cannot overdose on CBD nor are there any serious side effects. These ingestible products provide sustained relief for several hours – many people find they provide relief for the whole day! The one thing to keep in mind with ingestible CBD products is the delayed onset time – it can take up to 90 minutes for the full effects of the tinctures or capsules to be felt.
Managing Acute Flare Ups
In addition to the daily migraine maintenance program outlined above, many people find they still need a safe way to manage acute flare ups. Whether it’s caused by an poor lifestyle choices or another trigger – we recommend vaporizing CBD isolate to combat these acute migraine flare ups – you might even be able to stop it before it starts.
The benefit of vaporizing or dabbing CBD isolate is that the relief can be felt almost instantaneously. CBD isolate is 99% pure CBD and provides a wave of relief that can be felt throughout the whole body. You can also ingest more CBD in the form of tinctures or pills to combat these flare ups, just keep in mind that the onset time will be significantly longer than vaporizing.
A Quick Note About CBD & Drug Testing
If drug testing is a part of the conditions of your employment, you might be concerned about the potential of CBD to cause you to test positive for THC. This isn't an unfounded concern -- however, there isn't exactly a cut-and-dry way to answer it.
Much of the data we have about CBD is anecdotal, and its potential impact on drug testing is no exception. There are very few peer-reviewed studies on the subject, but there appears to be a small risk of a false positive for some users. Avoiding full-spectrum products containing traces of THC can reduce your risk of a false positive, but that may not eliminate the risk entirely.
If you are concerned about passing a drug test, you should consider this potential risk when deciding whether CBD is right for you. To learn more about the science of CBD and drug testing, check out our article for a more thorough discussion of how to minimize your risk of a false positive.