Disclaimer: We are limited by the FDA in what health benefits we can claim. All information in our blog articles are based on research which is widely available to the general public. We strongly encourage you to look at the research and claims of medical professionals and CBD believers alike. We are certain you will feel very encouraged about its potential.

CBD for Migraines

by Erin D. - April 22nd, 2020.

CBD for migraines

While the world has taken giant strides over time, different trends, treatments and management strategies have been introduced or discontinued from therapeutic science. Sometimes, few conditions cannot be answered by modern medical science but nature itself answers them. Here, we are going to discuss a problem which integrates pain in the daily lives of individuals and limit their daily routine and social life. Yes, we are talking about Migraines! 

It is a recurrent throbbing headache which occurs in a specific part of the head accompanied by a variety of other symptoms including nausea and sensory disturbances which makes people uncomfortable. Most of the treatments fail in curing migraines and even if a bunch of prescription works, it produces adverse effects in the long term.

 Many of us, suffering from this problem seek a cure and we might have heard that Cannabidiol (CBD) can help in overcoming migraines attacks. CBD for migraines is one of the hot topics in the therapeutic world, but first, you should know that CBD is among the 113 extracts which are obtained from the cannabis plant. However, historical literature shows that cannabis was the major treatment for migraines.

Even between the 1870s and 1940s cannabis was the drug of choice for treating various types of headaches and was frequently prescribed by physicians. However later on, because of its side effects and legal issues its use becomes obsolete. In the 1940s CBD was discovered and it was proposed that it is the ingredient present in cannabis plants that can cure migraines. So, here we will give a brief review of scientific studies and researches which focus on CBD for migraines.

Looking upon the pathology of migraines, researches suggested that, compounds having analgesic, anticonvulsive, anti-inflammatory and antiemetic properties can be used for the treatment of acute and chronic migraine attacks and also be used for prophylaxis. Surprisingly, a research conducted in 2017 demonstrated that marijuana-derived CBD has all these properties that can help in reduction and treatment of migraines as well as other pain conditions. So, it is obvious that CBD for migraines can be a great choice.

How CBD work in Migraines

CBD for migraines is a general question which arises in the mind of every care seeker, but you should know what is the baseline mechanism of CBD in the treatment of migraines.

According to modern research and scientific medical evidence, Endocannabinoid system (ECS) is an extensive flagging framework present in basically every cell and plays an essential role in normal physiologic functioning of the body. This ECS plays its role in the immune system, central nervous system, peripheral nervous system and various other systems.

In our body, there are two main G coupled receptors through which activity of ECS can be enhanced; these two receptors are Type 1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1) and Type 2 cannabinoid receptors (CB2). CB1 is mainly present in the Central nervous system and CB2 is found in the peripheral nervous system. So, when CBD is ingested or it is absorbed through the skin it eventually reaches to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, where it activates these receptors and effects are produced.

For Migraines, when ingested or absorbed CBD came across the CB1 receptors it activates them and eCBs (endocannabinoids) are released from the receptors which enhance the function of ECS which in turn produces effects like reduction in pain, inflammation and decreased neuro-degenerative effects.

These combined effects help the body to decrease the symptoms of migraines and even works great in prophylaxis. Another important function of CBD is that it reduces the metabolism of a compound “anandamide” present in our body which plays an important role in pain reduction.

Clinical efficacy of CBD in Migraines

We have now understood the scientific mechanism of CBD for migraines but what is the efficacy of CBD in migraines according to clinical studies?

According to a clinical trial conducted between 2010 and 2014 in Colorado, marijuana speciality clinics reported encouraging results. Their results showed that marijuana extracts in various forms decreased the frequency of migraine headaches from 10 episodes per month to only 4 episodes per month.

Similarly, 40% of patients who used the products daily for prophylaxis reported that they experienced positive results and recommended CBD for migraines. Another research published in 2019 suggested after analyzing 7441 sessions of treating migraines with cannabis extracts including inhalational and ingestible CBD products that migraines severity was decreased in 50% of patients. It was also reported that the positive results were common in Men.

Another recent study published in the Journal of Pain led by Carrie Cuttler, an assistant professor of psychology at Washington State University gives evidence of the efficacy of CBD in the prevention and treatment of Migraines. This study revealed that 49.6% of patients reported that they experienced a significant decrease in the migraine episodes, as well as their symptoms, were reduced or relieved.

However, there is still a deficiency of scientific literature and clinical trials on the Topic CBD in migraine but right now this evidence is quite enough to give a chance to CBD products to fight against migraines. A clinical trial is also being conducted at the University of Calgary, (NCT03972124) which is aimed to identify the results of CBD and placebo given to patients suffering from migraine. This trial will provide a giant evidence on the topic CBD in migraine.

However, no official results are announced but sources report that in trial CBD is showing positive results in mimicking the migraine attacks. 

How CBD should be used

The known pharmacological hypothesis and clinical efficacy of Cannabidiol (CBD) in migraines are quite impressive as it demonstrates the positive effects in at least half of the patients.

Before starting it, you must know that Cannabidiol (CBD) is not marijuana, it is an extract which is obtained from cannabis and it does not produce any psychoactive effects like cannabis. CBD oil is a very safe and tolerable substance; it does not produce any specific side effects or psychological effects even when ingested.

There is no evidence that CBD can alter heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure or breathing patterns upon ingestion or topical use. However, there is no recommended dosage of CBD oil but you should follow the instructions written on product packaging, available data suggests that even increased use of CBD oil does not produce any adverse effects.

According to the latest legal status, medical marijuana and its products are tremendously becoming famous and thousands of people are benefiting from them. If you are suffering from migraine and want an efficient product with promising results, you must consider CBD oil because it is a great product with the strong scientific mechanism of action and have enough clinical evidence of its efficacy.

It would be worth mentioning that CBD oil does not produce any specific side effects except allergies which is reported by very few individuals. The CBD industry is growing like wildfire as more people are experiencing its magical effects (in migraines and in other conditions too). There are many scientific researches going on this topic that will make cannabis and its extracts especially CBD as a major game-changer in the remedial world.

1. Russo E. Cannabis for migraine treatment: The once and future prescription? An historical and scientific review. Pain 1998; 76: 3–8.
2. Rosenberg EC, Tsien RW, Whalley BJ, et al. Cannabinoids and Epilepsy. Neurotherapeutics 2015; 12: 747–768.
3. Oláh A, Szekanecz Z, Bíró T. Targeting cannabinoid signaling in the immune system: ‘High’-ly exciting questions, possibilities, and challenges. Frontiers in Immunology 2017; 8: 1487.
4. Aizpurua-Olaizola O, Elezgarai I, Rico-Barrio I, et al. Targeting the endocannabinoid system: future therapeutic strategies. Drug Discovery Today 2017; 22: 105–110.
5. Leimuranta P, Khiroug L, Giniatullin R. Emerging role of (endo)cannabinoids in migraine. Frontiers in Pharmacology; 9. Epub ahead of print 24 April 2018. DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00420.
6. Rhyne DN, Anderson SL, Gedde M, et al. Effects of Medical Marijuana on Migraine Headache Frequency in an Adult Population. Pharmacotherapy 2016; 36: 505–510.
7. Cuttler C, Spradlin A, Cleveland MJ, et al. Short- and Long-Term Effects of Cannabis on Headache and Migraine. J Pain. Epub ahead of print 9 November 2019. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpain.2019.11.001.
8. Cuttler C, Spradlin A, Cleveland MJ, et al. Short- and Long-Term Effects of Cannabis on Headache and Migraine. J Pain. Epub ahead of print November 2019. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpain.2019.11.001.
9. Cannabis for the Prophylactic Treatment of Migraine - No Study Results Posted - ClinicalTrials.gov, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/results/NCT03972124 (accessed 25 March 2020).

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