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The Benefits Of CBD For Migraines & Headaches [NEW STATS]

The Benefits Of CBD For Migraines & Headaches [NEW STATS]

Headaches are an extremely common and persistent neurological illness. Pretty much everyone, at some point in time or another, has suffered from a headache. Their severity may range from a mild annoyance to totally debilitating. There is a specific type of headache, however, that is particularly vicious: It is called a migraine.  Often recurrent and chronic, while extremely common;

Migranes are the third most prevalent health disorder in the world. About 1 in 4 households in the United States have someone who suffers from migraines.

They can be extremely difficult to treat. Furthermore, they include a range of symptoms beyond just the pain of the headache. Some of the treatments for migraines are risky and have seriously negative side effects. There is a safe, viable, and natural option for treating migraines: cannabidiol (CBD). It is a cannabis extract that is non-addictive, non-psychoactive, and has virtually no side effects.


Migraines & Headaches: Symptoms

A typical headache generally has one symptom: PainMigraines, on the other hand, have a range of symptoms that can cause considerable distress for the patient. It is the 6th most debilitating illness in the world.


The Symptoms Of A Migraine May Include One Or More Of The Following:

  1. Pain. The pain is throbbing, piercing and usually happens just behind the eyes. In severe cases, patients have described it as the sensation of someone taking razor blades to the back of the eyeballs.
  2. Visual disturbances. This may include blurry vision, tunnel vision, and streaks of light (commonly known as “tracers”).
  3. Nausea. The nausea that accompanies a migraine can be severe and is sometimes the primary symptom, even more so than the pain.
  4. Vomiting. If the nausea becomes acute enough, then the patient may also vomit. This occurs continuously throughout the entire episode, or “attack”.
  5. Dizziness. This symptom frequently accompanies the visual disturbances.
  6. Tingling/ numbness. This usually occurs in the face, but may also include the lower extremities like arms and legs.
  7. Extreme sensitivity to external stimuli. The patient’s senses will become highly susceptible to touch, smell, sound, and particularly light.
  8. Aura. This is a specific term that refers to the fact that about 25% of the time, a migraine sufferer will report feeling generally unwell and weird before any symptoms set in.


Because of the fact that it is accompanied with all these other symptoms, migraines are particularly debilitating. About 15-20% of the time, the other neurological symptoms will strike the patient before the pain even sets in. A migraine attack will last anywhere between 4 and 72 hours.


The Two Basic Types Of The Migraine Condition Are:

  1. Episodic (when the patient occasionally gets them).
  2. Chronic (when the patient regularly gets them).  Chronic migranes are more debilitating than episodic ones.


Furthermore, the pain usually occurs on only one side of the head. In about 1/3 of cases, however, the pain may become bilateral, or spread to both sides of the head. Because of the severity of the condition, the prevalence of migraines usually results in depressionanxiety, and/or insomnia.


It is easy to see why some patients who suffer from this chronic condition seek something that can provide them relief from the pain and distress. Not only does it have a long list of debilitating symptoms, but some of the attacks can last up to three days! However, due to the development of cannabidiol (CBD), these patients need not suffer anymore.


What Is CBD?

CBD is a cannabis extract that has proven to be a viable substitute to traditional therapies for migraines. It is important to note that the physiological mechanisms of what causes migraines are very poorly understood. Furthermore, there are several traditional therapies that have varying degrees of effectiveness. These include:

  1. Antipsychotics
  2. Analgesics (narcotic opiates)
  3. Stimulants (amphetamines)
  4. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
  5. Triptans


These various traditional therapies have side effects that sometimes outweigh the relief they provide patients. Antipsychotics, for example, can have profound effects on a person’s ability to function normally. Narcotic options, like opiates and amphetamines, may result in addiction, psychosis, and/or even death in the event of an overdose. They are also highly psychoactive and impair everyday function in nearly every patient. NSAID’s have limited efficacy and may cause gastrointestinal distress. Triptans help with chronic migraines, but are not useful in treating the symptoms in real-time.


CBD, on the other hand, has the potential to treat migraines for both chronic and episodic symptoms. It is an extract of the cannabis plant that belongs to a class of chemicals known as cannabinoids. Since it comes from a plant (cannabis), it is referred to as a phyto-cannabinoid. These chemicals interact and activate what are known as cannabinoid receptors that are part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). There are two primary types of cannabinoid receptors in the ECS: CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD indirectly activates both of these.


Most importantly, CBD does not share the side effects that traditional therapies have. It is not habit-forming; even if it is taken everyday and the patient will not become addicted. It is also not psychoactive. This means it will not intoxicate the patient and impair their ability to lead a normal, everyday life.




Can CBD Help With Migraines? 

CBD is unique in its treatment profile because it can treat a very wide variety of symptoms. It has shown to be effective in treating:


  1. Pain
  2. Vomiting and/or nausea
  3. Inflammation
  4. Dizziness
  5. Anxiety and/or depression
  6. Insomnia and/or sleeping disorders


Every one of these is in one way or another a symptom of a migraine attack. Some of them are primary symptoms, like pain and nausea. Some of them are secondary symptoms, like anxietyand insomnia. CBD can treat both the primary and secondary symptoms. It can do so with virtually no side effects whatsoever.


The way that it is able to achieve this is through its interaction with the ECS. Recent studies have shown that the ECS is composed of both the CB-type receptors as well as the proteins and endocannabinoids that transport biochemical messages throughout the body. It is essentially a messaging and sensory system that controls various processes in the human body. This includes the processing of pain signals.


CBD for migraines and Headaches


CBD Helps Control The Processing Of Pain Signals

CBD indirectly activates CB1 receptors that are located throughout the body, including in the skin, sensory areas, and dorsal root ganglia. It modulates these CB1 receptors and thereby decreases the overall sensation of pain all over the body.

CBD also increases anandamide levels throughout the ECS. Anandamide is a specific type of neurotransmitter that binds to cannabinoid receptors. It is commonly referred to as “the bliss molecule” as it is crucial to feelings of happiness and well-being.

By helping to control overall pain processing in the body, CBD helps decrease the specific type of pain that accompanies a migraine.


How To Use CBD Oil For Headaches

CBD is a unique type of medicine because it works best when taken regularly. It is basically a supplement that has a wide range of therapeutic benefits. One of the primary goals of the ECS is to create what is known as homeostasis in the body. Homeostasis is when the entire human body is at a stable and healthy balance. This promotes overall health and happiness.


The underlying reasons for migraines are not entirely understood. Most clinicians and researchers agree that it frequently occurs when there is some imbalance or disorder in the body. Research indicates that medication overuse and abuse is one of the primary reasons why episodic migraines turn in to chronic migraines. In women, who are more affected, it is also commonly linked to hormonal imbalances (particularly fluctuations in estrogen levels). Finally, migraines are also linked to other conditions like anxiety, depression, and stress. This means that migranes both cause and can be caused by these conditions.


By promoting general homeostasis in the body, regular CBD use can reset a patient’s internal systems. This allows them to reach a state of balance and health that is a preventative measure in the treatment of migraines.


How Much CBD Should I Take For Migraines?

CBD is very safe to use. There is no amount that can cause an overdose. If a patient takes a high dose, they will merely get drowsy and sleep it off. A standard dose for an adult is anywhere between 15 to 30 milligrams. The patient may then increase the dose every hour until they subdue any acute symptoms.


CBD is most effective, however, if it is taken daily. A morning dose of 15 to 30 milligrams and an evening dose of 15 to 30 milligrams will act as a preventative measure from even getting migraines in the first place. Furthermore, if a patient feels an aura of a migraine coming on, they can take a larger dose of approximately 50 milligrams or so to stop the symptoms before they even start.


If migraines are accompanied by serious nausea, it is best to use CBD in its oil form (as a tincture). The patient can drop it under their tongue to be absorbed by their mucous membranes. The CBD will enter the bloodstream in about 15 minutes. They may also drop it in their mouth and directly swallow it, though this will take longer to metabolize (approximately 30 to 60 minutes).


It is important to buy CBD products that have clearly marked milligram amounts and to always inform your doctor that you are taking CBD. CBD is a safe, viable, and natural treatment for all the various symptoms that accompany a migraine.

If you are an episodic or chronic migraine sufferer, you can beat back those headaches today!

Marcin Ossowski

Marcin Ossowski is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from UCLA in 2007 with a major in linguistics and a minor in biology. During his time there, he undertook original research in neurolinguistics and cognitive science, specifically focusing on language disorders and dementia. Over the past decade, he has worked as a writer and researcher for several political consulting firms, taught English abroad in Poland, and ghostwritten two books. In his downtime Marcin spends a lot of time outdoors and actively pursuing his passion for writing fiction, creative nonfiction, and satire.

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