is cbd oil good for migranes

Can CBD Oil Help Migraines?

If you have ever had a migraine, you know just how painful these common headaches can be; not only is a migraine excruciating and unpleasant, but a migraine lasting for up to 72 hours isn’t uncommon . Many people find the accompanying pain to be so severe that they can’t face even the smallest household chore.

A common yet temporary fix to migraines is taking painkillers, although the common brands purchased over the counter have potentially harmful side effects that many people aren’t happy about.

You may be surprised to learn that a cannabis plant may be the best solution to treating those awful migraine headaches.

What Is CBD Oil?

A marijuana plant contains several active compounds, of which CBD oil is just one . Migraines, as well as various other medical conditions, have been successfully treated with CBD products over the last couple of years, making many people pay attention to the properties of CBD oil.

CBD Oil and Research

Because of the legal issues surrounding the use of cannabis plants in different countries and each state, there hasn’t yet been a lot of research into using CBD oil For migraines. However, what research that has been done strongly suggests that chronic pain, acute pain and migraines can all be effectively treated by using CBD products.

How To Best Take CBD Oil For Migraines

The National Cancer Institute points out that the cannabis plant has been used as a valid form of alternative medicine for almost 3,000 years. That hasn’t stopped the debate over the use of cannabis to treat various conditions from continuing in many states. Those suffering from migraines can take comfort from the fact that cannabis use as a treatment has primarily focused on managing neurological symptoms and lowering inflammation.

Ingesting cannabis oil by mouth or vaping it are the two most common methods of taking it. If you are new to the idea of CBD and would like to make sure you’re reducing the potential side effects as much as possible, try placing a few drops of the oil under your tongue, or eating a piece of candy infused with the oil.

Vaping the oil is a faster way to take it, and this is recommended if you don’t need to go out, and your migraine is especially severe. You can enjoy faster migraine relief when you vape, as the active ingredient goes through your lungs and straight into your bloodstream.

Make sure to buy your CBD Oil from a legitimate vendor by using review sites like They recently reviewed a company called PureKana that showed not all vendors are perfect.

How Much CBD Oil To Take?

Between 10 and 20 mg each day is the amount recommended by most experts for anyone experiencing chronic migraine pain, although no formal guidelines are indicating the required amount to take.

Start with a tiny dose and gradually increase the amount if you are taking CBD oil for the first time. This lessens the chances of you having any adverse reaction and allows your body time to adjust to the oil.

Are There Side Effects When Taking CBD Oil For Migraines?

You may feel a little tired or experience a slight upset stomach if you are generally sensitive. And the strain of cannabis taken, along with several other factors can also determine any side effects. But the good news for migraine sufferers is that the side effects and risks of CBD are virtually non-existent. It’s one of the reasons why many migraine sufferers are giving up their addictive medication and switching to CBD oil.

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The method of ingestion can influence the side effects. You may experience irritated lungs if you vape it, and you don’t usually smoke cigarettes. Vaping may not be the best way to take the CBD oil if you have asthma or suffer from other lung diseases.

Will I Get High?

You may feel gently euphoric when you ingest CBD oils; it all depends on the strain of CBD oil, as all cannabis plants are not the same. It’s the quantity of THC, the component that makes you high if you smoke cannabis, that affects how you feel.

There are two types of CBD strains that are widely available to buy at the moment, and understanding the difference can help you make a more informed decision.

CBD Dominant: No THC present, or very little.

CBD Rich: Equal amounts of both THC and CBD are present.

CBD oil for migraines may be the solution you have been looking for if you want to safely and effectively treat those headaches, but don’t want to get high. The CBD component present counteracts the effects of the THC, even if you consume a product that has just as much THC in it.

Is CBD Oil Legal?

Many areas in the United States still regard CBD oil as being an illegal substance, because psychoactive components are found in traditional cannabis. However, several states have decided to legalize cannabis as long as it is used only for medicinal or therapeutic purposes. And of course, in some states cannabis is entirely legal, regardless of the reasons that you are taking it for. You will be easily able to find and purchase CBD oil if you happen to live in one of those states that have decided that marijuana is legal, whether used for recreation or medicinal purposes.

Weed Helped Me Win My Lifelong Battle with Migraines

I was at a friend's house when I felt an all-too-familiar twinge in my temple. A migraine was coming. Resigned, I told her I needed to go home to take some shitty medicine I knew from experience wouldn't work. History as a guide, I figured I'd spend the next 48 hours alone in a dark room. Instead, she threw me a syringe. "Try this," she said. "If it doesn't work, you can go home. But it's gonna work."

The syringe was filled with a THC-CBD hybrid concentrated RSO, or "Rick Simpson Oil," named for the adorable Canadian man who claims it cured his cancer. I was skeptical, but I didn't have much to lose. I squeezed out a tiny dollop onto my finger and rubbed it on my gums. Half an hour later, my migraine disappeared. I had no nausea, no sensitivity to light or sound, no dizziness, no anxiety. My migraine wasn't muted; it was just gone.

I couldn't believe it.

I got my first migraine nearly 20 years ago, when I was nine years old. I don't remember the details of that day, only the searing pain in my left temple. My vision blurred and every noise felt like an ice pick being plunged directly into my brain. I cried and cried, clutching my head in my hands.

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It lasted two days. After that first time, I started getting them regularly, once or twice a month. I was a generally happy, carefree kid. But every time I felt that telltale twinge in my left temple, I wanted to die.

In what feels like a tiny miracle, the oil put an end to all that.

A Million Ways I Tried to Cure My Chronic Migraine

Dr. Michele Ross says she hears stories like mine all the time. A neuroscientist and founder of IMPACT Network, a nonprofit devoted to helping drive clinical research on cannabis and women's health, Ross is a migraine sufferer herself. She uses CBD to treat the pain.

"CBD is really good for inflammation and pain," said Ross. "It's crazy how many things it does."

According to Ross, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are just two of more than 100 different cannabinoids that exist within the cannabis plant. These cannabinoids bind to one of two receptors in our brains: the CB1 receptor and the CB2 receptor. When bound to the CB1 receptor, THC is responsible for that feeling of euphoria you get when you're high. When it binds to the CB2 receptor, it helps with inflammation and pain relief. CBD binds to both of these receptors as well, but it has a weaker signal and won't get you high. CBD is responsible for much of the pain and anxiety relief that comes with marijuana ingestion, because it binds to about 30 different receptors to help regulate your brain's neurotransmitter system.

Ross says cannabis-derived medications work so well for migraines because they're tackling them from multiple angles. Unlike traditional prescription migraine medicines, which typically work to lessen the blood vessel expansion that causes pain but don't really hit at the underlying causes, CBD and THC treatments help to solve several different migraine-related problems in your body at once.

This is significant. Migraines affect the lives of 39 million Americans, or around 12 percent of the population. The vast majority of migraine sufferers are women, and despite decades of research, their cause is still largely a mystery. Some people have triggers, like eating certain foods, drinking alcohol, or engaging in physical activity. And most people who suffer from migraines have a family history of them.

For years, migraines were thought to be a kind of blood vessel disorder, as many migraine patients, like me, experience throbbing pain in their temples. Conventional wisdom thought the pain caused by migraines originated from the constricting and expanding of blood vessels, a major cause of hangover headaches. But recent research suggests, while blood vessel disorders certainly contribute to migraine pain, they are not the root cause. Current theories on migraine pain have moved toward hormonal causes, like an influx of estrogen or serotonin.

According to researchers at Johns Hopkins, one working theory of migraine pain is "excitable" brain cells misfiring and triggering serotonin release, which causes those pesky blood vessels to expand and contract and send waves of pain through the temple. Most traditional migraine medications work to combat blood vessel expansion and block pain signals from the brain, but they don't do this very well. Even the most effective drugs only work less than half the time.

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When It Comes To Migraines, the Drugs Are Almost As Bad As the Pain

I know this all too well. Since I began getting migraines, I've been prescribed a litany of medications. Imitrex left me dizzy, breathless, and nauseous. Rizatriptan gave me severe anxiety and a burning, metallic sensation in the back of my throat. Some medications made me pass out for hours, and some gave me the spins, or a tight feeling in my chest that made me feel like I was having a heart attack. None of them took away the pain entirely. Countless over-the-counter solutions like Aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, Excedrin, and Aleve were similarly ineffective.

"A lot of migraine medications actually end up making migraine symptoms worse," said Ross. "For example, a lot of people experience nausea and vomiting with their migraines, and medications that work to regulate serotonin can exacerbate that. But cannabis is antiemetic, which means it suppresses nausea. Also, a lot of migraines can be triggered or worsened by anxiety, which isn't really addressed by traditional medicine. CBD can help relieve anxiety."

By the time that syringe of THC-CBD landed in my lap a year ago, I'd basically stopped trying to find real relief. I'd accepted the fact that I had a chronic illness that would stay with me for the rest of my life, randomly showing up to ruin vacations or end a night out early.

RSO has worked wonders for me, but it still gets me high, which means I can't take it at work. And because I live in Chicago, I can't legally get a prescription for it. Most states that allow medical marijuana allow it to be prescribed for migraines, but here in Illinois, you have to be pretty much at death's door to get a 'scrip.

As a result, I've begun taking a tincture containing only CBD—legal in all 50 states as long as it's derived from industrial hemp—and have been really encouraged by its capacity to stop both anxiety and pain. Unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive effects. It doesn't get me high, but I can't say I feel completely sober after four or five drops. It has more of a euphoric feeling. I don't feel impaired, just slightly more emotional and relaxed.

That emotion has been the only noticeable side effect so far. The first day I tried it on its own, a portion of the Chicago Marathon was being run right in front of my apartment. I found myself crying hysterically while watching the colorful mass of humanity trot by. (This was more than a little out of character for me.) For that reason, I've been hesitant to take it regularly.

But given the options—unbearable migraine pain or the occasional sports-related crying jag—the choice is obvious. It's a choice I didn't know I had until recently. But it's one I'm both thankful for and also angry about. What were all those wasted decades of pain for? All along, the solution for me was as easy as CBD.

Follow Caroline Thompson on Twitter.


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