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Migraines and CBD, What You Need To Know

Apr 12, 2020
Migraines and CBD, What You Need To Know

There’s the official line:

“There is no scientific evidence or research on CBD as an effective treatment for migraine—in large part because it has not been formally studied. However, it may still be a viable topical option for some patients with joint and muscle pain associated with migraine. “If you have a lot of neck pain or soreness, it is perfectly reasonable to use CBD oil. It may even prevent nausea and vomiting,” Dr. (Stephen) Silberstein says.

Then there’s less official line:

“Cannabidiol oil may relieve pain and reduce inflammation, and it shows some promise as a treatment for migraines. There is a lack of scientific evidence about its safety and effectiveness for this purpose, but researchers have suggested that one or more substances present in cannabis may have therapeutic benefit for headaches, including migraines.”

There is significant anecdotal evidence that CBD (Cannabidiol) is great for migraines.

Topical Application 

Most people familiar with CBD think in terms of ingesting it, but there’s a long history of using it as a topical solution. There is some background to this idea. Because the body is designed to use cannabidiols, the 120+ substances found in hemp, to heal itself, it can absorb the CBD through the skin and bring relief. Even the action of rubbing the temples or forehead with soothing, natural oil can have a significant effect.

Why the lack of studies?

While Dr. Silberstein points out that there’s a lack of studies, it’s not mentioned that that’s because the federal government made it completely illegal for nearly 100 years. The implications of those laws were profound.

A bit about cannabis

Before World War I, nearly every tincture, headache medicine, and pain cream in the drugstore had cannabis in it. People grew it in their gardens for medicine. It was simply a part of life.

For thousands of years prior to that, cannabis was constantly with humans. We ate it as food. It was in our medicines or was the entirety of our medicines. Our food animals ate it. It was everywhere.

Cannabis can be looked at as two plants. Although they’re the same plant, marijuana and industrial hemp have one major difference: THC. Industrial hemp has little to none. Marijuana has THC in large enough quantities to “get you high”.

Because there was no way to test it (short of smoking it) for most of the 20th century, outlawing “marihuana” meant outlawing hemp. Of course, during World War II, farmers were told to grow hemp for rope, so we knew it had value, but the law enforcement continued.

This is why there were no studies done for that entire time, because the police couldn’t tell the difference. 

CBD and Migraines

Because CBD has been shown to be effective for pain and inflammation, it appears to have a positive effect on migraines.

Although a number of studies have come out showing that marijuana is effective against migraines, there are few for CBD. It’s important to remember that marijuana has CBD in it, so separating THC from CBD for study will be important.

One test on epilepsy did involve a marijuna formulation that had no CBD and one that did. The one that did was significantly more effective. This might show that CBD has its own set of effects.

A European Study

“We were able to demonstrate that cannabinoids are an alternative to established

treatments in migraine prevention. That said, they are only suited for use in the acute

treatment of cluster headaches in patients with a history of migraine from childhood on,” Dr

Maria Nicolodi summarised. 

While this study seems to indicate that only those who suffered migraines as a child will get relief, it seems that, at least anecdotally so far, there is ample evidence that CBD is great for migraines. 

Note on Taking CBD for Migraines

All the studies and the information that’s coming out makes it clear that taking CBD every day is the way to avoid migraines. Start with the lowest dose and increase it as needed until you find the dose that has the best effect on your migraines.


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