Should I use CBD for Severe Headaches?
The short answer is, yes, potentially. Too much CBD oil may also cause a headache for some users, however. Below, we will discuss how CBD oil affects the body and how it may be a treatment option for your headache troubles from mild pain to severe migraines and tension headache.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know regarding CBD oil’s effect on tension headache causes and symptoms, so please keep reading to learn more.
While trying CBD oil for yourself is the best way to determine how CBD oil affects you, research has shown promising results for assessing the effects of cannabis on chronic pain and inflammation, known causes of head pain.
CBD has been all over the media, reviewed as a natural alternative to many addictive prescription options, like opiates. It is safe to use for most people aside from some drug interactions. You can even give CBD oils to your child.
Why Should I take CBD for my Headache?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than 120 cannabinoids found in cannabis. It is most commonly extracted from hemp, a cannabis plant which contains only traces of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a compound that produces the “high” feeling like with medical marijuana.
CBD products does not alter your mind or inhibit your daily function, but comes with a host of benefits!
- Studies have shown CBD oil to rival medical marijuana when it comes to treating chronic pain.
- It has anti-inflammatory benefits.
- It appears to be an effective treatment of migraine without worrisome side effects.
While analgesics can temporarily relieve migraine symptoms, their side effects are troubling with extended use. This is where CBD oil (cannabidiol) comes in.
Beyond the specific relief CBD oil can offer you for your headache, it has a lot of holistic properties for your body as a health supplement and helps to regulate your body’s overall function which may relieve the root causes of your pain, simultaneously relieving your head pain.
What is a Tension Headache?
According to WebMD , a Tension Headache consists of dull pain with tightness and pressure around the skull with pressure around your forehead or back of your head and neck. They are the most common form of headache and are also often called “Stress Headaches.”
A headache generally goes further than typical body aches associated with stress or allergies. This pain can last from 4 to 72 hours, even the most common activities may worsen your symptoms.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that almost half of all adults worldwide will have a headache in a given year.
A headache can be a sign of stress or emotional anxiety, or it may be a result of a medical condition such as a migraine headache from high blood pressure, anxiety, or depression. This can lead to other problems. People with chronic migraines, for example, may have difficulty with regular work or school.
What Causes Migraines & Tension Headache?
Everyone, at some point in their life, has experienced a tension headache because it is one of the most common ailments. But what causes this type of headache? Several reasons are responsible for this condition. For example, a simple throat irritation can be a starting point of a migraine.
Stress: Stress often creates a sense of “struggle or escape” and is accompanied by other symptoms such as:
- Shallow breathing
- Increased heart rate
Nutrition: Your diet and sensitivity to foods are some of the leading causes of head pain, especially migraines.
- Variations in blood glucose.
- Caffeine withdrawal, or too much caffeine.
- Food additives
Dental Abscess: A dental abscess may cause a severe headache, especially in the event of an infection.
Hormones: Hormones allow you to feel pain. In this case, sex hormones may be associated with head pain, especially in women. Whether before or after menstruation, if the levels of hormones are low, as a woman, you may have severe migraines.
Vision: People with vision problems are probably well acquainted with head pain because it is a prevalent symptom. A headache may be triggered when eye muscles become tense.
- Glaucoma is another disease associated with the eye that may result in a headache.
- Other causes may be due to disorders in the ear, nose, and throat.
In some cases, even adrenaline can be the cause of headaches, but the most common causes are:
- Sinus Congestion
- Body infections
- Physical trauma
There are many causes for your symptoms; CBD oil may be effective treatment for your migraine headache.
How Does CBD Oil Treat Tension Headache Symptoms?
The 2017 study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoids research investigated the benefits of oral cannabis.
In the six-month study period, 26 people were treated with either ibuprofen or nabilone (a FDA approved CBD synthetic) with oral cannabis to treat their symptoms. Each combination was used for a while (eight weeks at a time).
They also took eight weeks between two rounds.
At the end of the study, participants reported pain relief and improved quality of life when using the cannabis-nabilone formula. It is vital to keep in mind that a combination of substances, not just cannabis, was used for this study.
In 2016, Pharmacotherapy published a study on the use of CBD for medicinal purposes for treatment of migraine headache.
Researchers found that out of 40 respondents, about 40% reported less migraine pain in general. Drowsiness was the main objection, while others had difficulty in determining the correct dose.
Current Treatment Options For Tension Headache
If you are currently suffering from migraine headache pains, but have not yet received treatment, it is vital to identify what may be causing your symptoms.
Some headaches are minor and easily solved with a glass of water, while some more serious head pains require a doctor’s visit.
While CBD is not a cure for any disease, it has been shown to help with symptoms you may be experiencing. If you want relief and think CBD may be a solution for you, be sure to check out Mana Artisan Botanics™
Pharmacological treatment is considered to be one of the most popular methods of treating chronic headaches. There are two categories of medication for chronic headache. There are abortive and preventive drugs on the market, which you may find helpful for your specific condition.
Abortive medications stop headache progression, while preventive drugs prevent them before they happen. Examples of abortive are NSAIDs and acetaminophen.
Preventive drugs would be antihypertensive, antihistamines, sedatives and anticonvulsants, etc. Headache medications are prevalent because, apart from the fact that doctors recommend it, many studies have proven them as effective treatment options.
Biofeedback is an alternative method that can help you with your headache. It uses some instruments to make your body more conscious of its condition, and through this, you can knowingly overcome it.
A simple example would be to take your temperature when you have a fever. Since you now know that your body temperature is high, you also know that you have to correct it, which leads to taking actions known to lower your body temperature.
If stress is a leading cause of your pain, simply removing yourself from the stressful situation can provide immediate relief.
Medical Marijuana is another alternative which is available in some states as a legal option for your migraines. Be sure to review the laws in your state before you search for medical marijuana. As of right now, even CBD oil derived from a marijuana plant is illegal according to the FDA.
The marijuana plant (THC-heavy cannabis) contains many of the same cannabinoids as hemp (CBD-heavy cannabis), and offers many similar effects of CBD.
It does, however interact with the body’s endocannabinoid receptors in a different way, which inhibits the firing of specific neurotransmitters. Click to learn more about the endocannabinoid system.
How to take CBD Oil for Headaches and Pain
CBD oil can be used to relieve your symptoms:
- as an ingredient in food or drink
- in the form of a capsule
- inhalation or vaping, but there are specific lung risks and toxicity risks
- In a topical application for your skin.
- In caps or sprays used in your mouth.
Studies on the effects of CBD oil for Headache treatment are limited, and like many new treatments, there is no standard dose or recommended treatment method for everyone.
There may be mild to moderate general pain that may feel like a rope tightening around your head. This type of headache can be mild to severe and last for long durations.
It is often severe pain in one part of the head, often in front or on the side. You may experience nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or noise.
Which CBD is best for Migraines?
Fortunately, the way CBD works, you can consume it in many different ways. Some users find that vaping CBD causes head pain due how quickly they feel the effects.
They can cause severe pain, often around your eye. Symptoms may extend over 1 to 2 months.
How Can CBD Treat The Causes Of Tension Headaches?
CBD has been shown to interact with cells in the brain and the nervous system. These molecules are called cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2).
Although the relationship between these cells and receptors is not fully understood, their interaction is believed to affect the immune system.
For example, CBD can prevent the source of a trusted body in the metabolism of anandamide. This is a compound associated with the body’s regulation of headaches. Maintaining high levels of anandamide in the blood can reduce the pain associated with your headache.
Studies show that CBD oil limits inflammation within the body, which can reduce pain and keep other immune system reactions in check.
Since CBD may also decrease anxiety and stress in patients, mild to moderate headaches caused by stress may be treated before they appear. The effects of CBD for you may differ.
Can too much CBD Oil cause headaches?
Yes. CBD may cause head pain in some individuals. Although it is used to treat headache and migraine symptoms, as anecdotal evidence from thousands of users confirms, your headache may be a side effect of taking CBD.
Why do I get a Headache After Taking CBD Oil?
CBD Oil headaches can be avoided by seeking high quality CBD products. Before you make a CBD purchase, ensure you are dealing with a reputable company with a high standard. A couple reasons why you may experience a CBD headache are:
- You purchased a lower quality CBD oil product – If the product contains solvents like ethanol or isopropanol, a by-product of alcohol extraction methods. CO2 is a much better extraction method and is a crucial characteristic of higher quality CBD.
- You took too much too quickly – Our bodies are not infallible. When we shock the system, our bodies may react in unexpected ways. Most providers recommend starting with small doses and slowly increasing them until you reach your desired result.
What’s the CBD Dosage for Tension Headaches?
Based on widespread anecdotal evidence only, the standard CBD dosage recommendation may depend on your body weight. Start with 1 to 6 mg for every 10 pounds of body weight.
We’ve built a calculator for you so that you can find the lowest starting dose for your body weight below:
The above dosage recommendation is general and merely a suggestion. Your case may differ in that you may need a lot more, while others may need a lot less. Please consult with your physician before supplementing your treatment with CBD.
More published studies are is needed before CBD oil is considered a widely distributed option for treating your headache, but it is worth discussing with your doctor if you are interested as it may provide better relief for your symptoms and overall health.
If you want to know more about CBD and how it can be used to treat other conditions, study the other resources on our website.
If you decide to try CBD oil, treat it as you would with any other headache option treatment. It may take some time to work, and you may need to adjust the dose to best suit your needs.
Remember that the FDA still has not completely legalized CBD in all forms. Before you take any CBD product, be sure you review all the information you can about its contents to make sure you stay right with the law.
Can CBD Help Tension Headaches?
If you suffer from tension headaches, you’ll know how debilitating they can be. While they might not stop you from going to work or carrying out certain activities, they can cloud your thinking and make you feel uncomfortable and you’ve probably explored many ways to prevent your tension headaches or lessen their symptoms.
When doing your research, you may have come across cannabis products and discovered links to help relieve the pain of headaches. Indeed, this is something that should be explored as it may be beneficial for you.
What is a Tension Headache?
First of all, it is important to recognise that there are many different types of headaches. When you understand the headache you have, you can figure out the best way you can prevent your symptoms.
A tension headache or a stress headache is when you experience a dull pain or pressure on the back of your head or forehead. It is very common for adults with busy lifestyles and difficult careers to suffer from tension headaches. They are often described as a squeezing pain or like something is tightening around your head. They do not normally stop you from your daily activities but they can be irritating and an inconvenience. Tension headaches should not affect your balance or vision. Other symptoms can include tiredness but trouble sleeping, problems with concentration and irritability.
In particular, there are two types of tension headaches to be aware of. The episodic tension headache is one that you experience fewer than 15 days every month. They often build throughout the day and are worse at night. Chronic tension headaches are headaches that you experience more than 15 times in a month. You may find that the pain is more intense and that it is there constantly throughout the day.
People who experience tension headaches can often identify their triggers. This could include not getting enough sleep, being hungry, dehydration, anxiety and mental stress, caffeine, poor posture and eye strain.
Can CBD Help Tension Headaches?
If you are someone that suffers from a lot of tension headaches, you may be looking for a quick way to prevent the symptoms. For instance, some people try meditation or take painkillers that you can get from the local store. Unfortunately, these methods do not work for everyone and you may be growing tired of the constant headaches.
However, you may be interested to learn if cannabis or medical marijuana can help with your tension headaches. Indeed, there has been research and trials to suggest that it can be beneficial to take cannabis for tension headaches . This can be from stopping them from occurring in the first place to helping to reduce the discomfort from which you suffer as a result of the headache pain.
It is important to remember that cannabis is a plant. It contains a variety of compounds that are linked to decreasing the effects of tension headaches. Namely, this includes tetrahydrocannabinol or THC and cannabidiol or CBD. Both of these compounds will work with the CB1 And CB2 receptors that are present within the body.
For instance, the CBD present in cannabis products may help you feel calmer and more relaxed. If stress and anxiety are triggers for your tension headaches, CBD products might stop them from occurring. Alternatively, if you have a headache already, there is a suggestion that CBD and THC can allow some pain relief. This can help you get on with your day and stay productive.
Consider how you want to take cannabis products. Tinctures will produce a fast response when they enter the bloodstream. While topicals can be relaxing and soothing, they might take longer to kick in. The same can be said about edibles and capsules. But their effects can be enjoyed for longer.
For example, one study found that patients who inhaled cannabis reduced the severity of their headache by 47.3 percent. This is encouraging data and this suggests that it could work for you. But you should also be aware of possible side effects. While they are reported to be minimal, CBD can cause dizziness, a dry mouth, and low blood pressure. If you experience any of these side effects, it may be best to avoid cannabis products.
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How cannabis can help with migraines
For those who regularly experience migraines, life carries unique challenges. Seemingly harmless sensory stimuli , like bright lights, strong aromas, or loud noises, can trigger unbearable pain. Stress, neck tension, and even jet lag can set a crippling migraine in motion too. This intense pain can be accompanied by a loss of sensation, nausea, or alarming visual changes. The disruption associated with chronic migraines can be so constant it can even erode one’s sense of self.
Although drugs commonly prescribed for the prevention and treatment of migraines help some individuals, they don’t offer relief for all migraineurs . Similar to many heavy-hitting medications, a host of unwanted side effects may ensue with use. However, evidence is accumulating that cannabis may be an effective treatment for migraines and chronic headaches.
A November 2019 study published in the Journal of Pain reported that cannabis could reduce migraine and headache severity by 50%, and although tolerance can increase, cannabis use does not exacerbate headaches or migraines over time. Concentrates appeared to offer more significant relief than flower.
Additionally, a 2019 retrospective study published in Neurology found that 88.3% of a sample of 279 patients reported an improvement in their headaches after using cannabis. More than half of the patients noted a reduction in headache frequency, and 38.3% found that their sleep improved. Fifty percent of those using opioid medications were able to reduce their use.
So now we know cannabis can ease migraine symptoms, what are the most effective ways to harness its benefits?
The role of the endocannabinoid system in migraine
According to Dr. Jim Polston, who holds a PhD in neuroscience and is the Chief Science Officer at Helius Therapeutics , cannabis works on migraines via the endocannabinoid system.
“There is mounting evidence that the endocannabinoid system can directly reduce migraine pain when activated by naturally produced cannabinoids or medical cannabis taken by patients,” said Polston. Cannabis can help to reduce inflammation in the protective dura mater tissue covering the brain and minimize the release of pro-inflammatory substances, both of which contribute to the onset of a migraine.
Polston also points out that one cause of chronic migraines is anandamide deficiency. “Anandamide is one of two cannabinoids naturally produced in the brain and is associated with reduced inflammation and activation of pain centers in the brain,” he explained.
You feel the onset of a migraine—when should you dose?
While the science supporting the use of cannabis for the treatment of migraines is piling up, practical knowledge regarding how, how much, and when to dose is still lagging. That being said, those who are already acquainted with cannabis for migraines have valuable tips to impart.
“I use cannabis both as a prophylactic, to prevent migraines by reducing stress and relaxing muscles, and as a rescue remedy once migraine hits, to reduce intense pain and nausea,” explained Boston Marathon survivor Lynn Crisci.
Dr. Debra Kimless, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Pure Green , observes that cannabis may be most effective when the signs of an impending migraine first become apparent. “The patients I have treated using cannabis enjoy tremendous success in reducing and eliminating the acute onset of their migraine symptoms, especially if they can dose when they first experience symptoms,” she said.
Cannabis can work as both a preventative and a treatment for migraines, because the triggers and symptoms of migraines are so varied.
“Migraines have a complex set of underlying causes, triggers, and various symptoms, noted Polston. “Cannabis may be an ideal migraine medication with its diverse compounds and widespread roles in many of the issues associated with migraines. It’s a potent anti-inflammatory agent, analgesic, and anti-emetic. Furthermore, CBD is a known anxiolytic [anxiety-reducer], thus its presence could be useful in the treatment of stress-induced migraines.”
Delivery methods: Which are most effective?
Most studies investigating cannabis as a treatment for migraine are based on oral administration and inhalation delivery methods.
“Though more research comparing methods is needed, we can theorize from the current research that oral cannabis use may be sufficient and should be attempted first to avoid smoking in certain patients,” advised Polston. “However, some patients may find inhalation useful for more rapid pain reduction as the onset of effects is faster.”
That’s not to say that inhalation and oral delivery are the only effective methods though. “The complexity of migraines means that patient variability may lead to various methods being successful, but in a patient or symptom-dependent manner,” added Polston.
For Kimless, tinctures administered under the tongue also work successfully. “Most of my patients prefer to use a sublingual delivery method; it is fast, effective, and discreet,” she explained.
Crisci has experimented with many ingestion methods to determine what offers the greatest relief for her personally and has settled on vaping. “I prefer vaporizing cannabis oil, preferably in a vape pen, she said. “Vape pens allow me to microdose and control exactly how much medicine I am ingesting, while avoiding inhaling smoke into my lungs.”
To THC, or not THC: The cannabinoids that work best for migraines
The 2019 Journal of Pain study argues that different concentrations of THC and CBD do not impact efficacy. However, other recent research has found that migraineurs prefer hybrid strains with high-THC and low-CBD concentrations. This preference may be due to the potent analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antiemetic properties of THC.
For Crisci, though, experience has led her to favor low-THC strains. “I prefer a sativa hybrid with a high CBD level as a prophylactic or preventative medicine, as a pure sativa can make some, myself included, feel anxious. I’ll microdose immediately, once I feel a migraine coming on.”
For full-blown migraines, Crisci prefers indica dominant high-CBD strains. “Indica strains lower pain levels more effectively for me, and CBD lowers the THC high. Personally, I do not want to feel high while suffering the effects of an intense migraine, she reflected.
Kimless notes that individual responses to cannabinoids vary—what works well for one may offer less relief for others. That said, some level of THC appears to offer greater alleviation. “Most of my patients require a small amount of THC and not just CBD alone to experience relief,” said Kimless.
Polston added that the therapeutic terpenes, flavonoids, and phytocannabinoids also present in cannabis may play a role in easing migraine. “More in-depth research is needed to determine what, if any, role these compounds may play,” he said.
The frequent use of prescription medication for migraines is often aligned with medication dependency and medication overuse headaches . Several studies, including a 2018 review , suggest that cannabis can reduce or even replace addictive opiate medications, something Crisci has experienced firsthand. “When I started to use cannabis to treat my migraines, I found I was able to stop using many of my prescription medications: no more opioid painkillers, muscle relaxants, or anti-anxiety meds,” she said.
If you’re already taking prescription medicines for migraines but contemplating cannabis as an alternative, it’s best to talk to a physician experienced in cannabis medicine. Kimless endorses the “start low, go slow” adage.
“A little bit goes a long way with cannabis medicine. The sublingual or inhalational method allows for incremental dosing, which will help patients learn how much is needed to be effective,” she advised.