A migraine is a moderate to severe form of headache which is felt as throbbing pain on the side of the head. Some people also feel sick or may be sensitive to light or sound during an attack.
They can be very debilitating, particularly for people who experience them regularly.
In this guide we’ll be covering:
- Why CBD can help relieve pain
- How to use CBD oil for migraines
- How to choose the best CBD oil
But why CBD?
We’ll get more into that further in this article, but research has shown that CBD has promising effects on pain and inflammation relief, among the other benefits of CBD oil.
Many people are put off of regularly taking pain relief medication because it can become harder to treat headaches over time as the body is less affected by the pain medication, and the side effects could get in the way of things like work and driving.
But for people commonly afflicted with migraines, not taking pain relief isn’t an option. This is where some may choose CBD oil to manage their migraine symptoms over time, sometimes in addition to pain medication.
It is similar to taking vitamins each day to maintain and improve your general health and wellbeing.
What's in this Guide?
Can CBD Oil help with Migraines?
If you’re new to CBD, or already use it for insomnia or anxiety, you might be wondering whether you can use CBD oil for migraines, and whether it works.
Research into cannabidiol, despite more and more scientists carrying out studies in recent years, is still in the early stages.
However, all of the studies so far show that cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD), have promising results for pain relief, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, and antiemetic effects (antiemetic is just a fancy way of saying it is effective against vomiting and nausea).
- Read more: CBD oil for pain
How Does CBD Oil work for Migraines?
CBD oil works for migraines by interacting with the endocannabinoid system – made up of endocannabinoids found all over the body.
A healthy body lives in a state of homeostasis, which is where all of the body’s internal systems control things such as temperature, water content and carbon dioxide levels.
Our bodies are always trying to exist in a state of homeostasis.
Internal processes such as the immune system, endocrine system, central nervous system and the endocannabinoid system all play a part in homeostasis.
This means that when something is wrong with your body, including a migraine, the endocannabinoid system is playing a vital role in trying to sort it out.
The best way to think of the endocannabinoid system is a series of locks and keys. The locks are our cannabinoid receptors – CB1 and CB2 – and the keys are endocannabinoids.
These keys are either produced naturally by your body or taken as a supplement such as CBD oil.
You should think of CBD in the same way you may take vitamin C tablets to support your immune system – you can take CBD oil to support your endocannabinoid system.
Right now, scientists are unsure how a lot of cannabinoids, including CBD, interact with the endocannabinoid system – but they know it is not the same way as THC – CBD’s psychoactive sister.
- Read more: The differences between CBD vs THC
The main theories for how CBD works in the body include:
CBD may block natural endocannabinoids from being broken down, so they can work more effectively and bind with CB1 and CB2 receptors in order to continue to do their job
Alternatively, some scientists believe there may be an undiscovered CB3 receptor which cannabinoids may be binding to.
Despite not knowing how exactly CBD oil works with the endocannabinoid system, plenty of anecdotal research as well as a number of scientific studies suggest that CBD can help with pain, inflammation, and nausea.
How do you use CBD Oil for Migraines?
How you choose to take CBD oil is a personal choice.
However, there are some benefits and drawbacks of each option, so it’s best to be informed of the different methods.
Some of the most common options include:
Sublingual administration of CBD is just a technical way of saying to put the oil under your tongue for a minute or two to absorb the CBD through the sublingual gland under the tongue.
Taking CBD sublingually means it gets into the bloodstream to take effect faster which some users prefer – especially if you’re in the middle of a migraine attack.
Another way to take CBD is by using an e-cigarette or vape pen and using cannabidiol e-liquids.
Vaping isn’t without risks, but it may be the best way for you to take CBD if you already use e-cigarettes, are looking to stop smoking, or aren’t keen on taking CBD sublingually.
Vaping CBD products works fast because the cannabidiol can get into the bloodstream quickly, similar to taking it under the tongue, so it may be helpful if you’re looking to use CBD oil for migraines after the migraine has started.
Capsules, Gummies, or Tea
A highly popular way of taking CBD is in capsule, gummy, tea or candy form.
This is especially common for people who take CBD every day as part of their morning or evening routines to supplement their health, similar to taking vitamins each day.
However, ingesting CBD might not be ideal for people who want to see the results quickly – for example if you feel a migraine attack coming on, as it could take an hour or more for the body to digest the cannabinoids.
But it can be a great solution for daily use to supplement your wellbeing, and doesn’t have the CBD oil taste that many users find unpleasant when taking oil under the tongue.
Another way of using CBD, especially if you’re experiencing pain, is using a topical balm or salve to rub directly into the area where it hurts. The CBD gets absorbed into the skin and then into the bloodstream, where it can get to work.
This could be beneficial if you’re suffering from migraine pain, by rubbing it into your temples.
How Long Does It Take For CBD Oil To Work For Migraines?
For most people, taking CBD oil isn’t just about a one-off use.
Some people find that the effects are immediate, and others may find it takes a week or more to notice changes in their health – depending on what they’re trying to treat.
Ultimately, how long it takes CBD oil to work depends on the person.
For migraines, you may notice you see effects after about 15 minutes if you’ve taken CBD oil sublingually or using a vape pen.
However, you might instead not notice any changes until after a couple of weeks when you’re not experiencing migraines regularly, or they’re not as debilitating.
Two healthy people could have the same height, weight, and metabolic rate and experience the effects of CBD oil differently.
Again, consider CBD as a similar thing to vitamin C – you wouldn’t just take CBD one time and believe your immune system is boosted for the whole winter. Instead, you’d take it each day and notice at the end of the cold and flu season that you haven’t been sick!
If you don’t seem to notice any difference, our guide on How to Take CBD Oil explains to monitor your symptoms for two weeks while taking CBD oil, then take a week or two off and continue monitoring your symptoms – you’re more likely to notice the difference.
At the end of the day, CBD oil is not a medication, it is a supplement similar to vitamins. You might not notice any changes immediately, but with repeated use you’re more likely to notice some changes.
What’s The Best CBD Oil For Migraines?
If you’re looking to buy CBD oil for the first time, you may be nervous about what to look for and what to avoid in a CBD product. Luckily, we’ve summed up the most important things to look for when buying CBD oil for your migraines.
One of the most important things to look for is a Certificate of Analysis, or lab test results.
These lab tests can tell you how much CBD is in your product, whether the THC levels are at the legal levels, and details the other cannabinoids found within the product.
Make sure you’re buying CBD oil from a brand that openly shares their lab test results, otherwise you don’t know whether they’re selling something that doesn’t work or, even worse, something that is dangerous.
Broad or Full Spectrum
When looking to buy CBD products, you should look out for a broad or full spectrum CBD product. The other alternative is CBD isolate, which is not a bad choice, but if you’re looking for more of the benefits then broad spectrum or full spectrum CBD oil for migraines is best.
A CBD isolate contains only cannabidiol, whereas a broad spectrum product contains other cannabinoids as well.
But why do you want the other cannabinoids?
Simply put, all of the cannabinoids in a broad-spectrum CBD oil work together to provide greater benefits over all – this is called the entourage effect.
This isn’t to say that a CBD isolate isn’t beneficial, and many people like it they know exactly what they’re consuming, but the entourage effect from a broad or full spectrum CBD product will likely give you better results for migraines.
Organic, non-GMO, pesticide free
Next up, ensure that your CBD is organic, non-GMO and pesticide free.
When farmers grow hemp in soil contaminated with chemicals, these chemicals find their way into the hemp as well, and then into your CBD oil. Instead, choosing an organic CBD means you know that your product is free from potentially dangerous chemicals.
Non-organic crops are often sprayed with pesticides to keep bugs at bay, but this often kills all the goodness in the soil as well, so chemical fertilisers are also used to allow the hemp to continue growing.
As well as the potential for these chemicals to damage our health, it can also damage the environment as well.
Instead, an organic CBD oil is grown in clean soil, and a lot of care is taken to make sure the hemp is of a high quality and isn’t contaminated with heavy metals, toxins, and chemicals.
Whatever CBD oil or method you choose, it is most important that you’re informed about your choices, and that you know what to expect when taking CBD oil for migraines.
Alternatively, if you’re wanting more information about CBD oil and the wellness industry, check out our blog for all the latest news, research, and handy guides.