Migraines are not just another lingering headache triggered by too much work, not enough water, and chronic stress. Migraines are a complicated, poorly understood, and sometimes incurable condition affecting 2.7 million Canadians, according to a 2014 article by the CBC. The severity of the condition and the impact on daily life has left many Canadians turning to cannabidiol (CBD) for migraines. Could CBD oil help relieve migraines and their many frustrating symptoms?
Nearly ten percent of Canadians have a migraine diagnosis, and experts expect many more have gone undiagnosed. Almost a quarter of Canadians in a recent survey said that migraines prevented them from living their lives to the fullest. Nearly half reported they couldn’t drive at times because of the pain, and a full 75 percent said they couldn’t sleep.
If CBD holds the answer for migraine pain, it’s worth a deeper investigation.
A Lack of Formal Research, But Patients Already Using CBD for Migraines
Recent patient surveys about CBD oil tell us that people are already using this gentle cannabinoid to treat migraines, tension, and cluster headaches. While the formal research into CBD for the treatment of migraines is still in the very early stages, it hasn’t stopped patients from getting on board with this increasingly popular cannabinoid.
In 2018, the Journal of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research looked at who was self-treating with CBD and what they were using it for. Not only did they discover that a majority of men and women took CBD for the treatment of a specific condition (instead of just for wellbeing), they also found migraines were right up there as one of the most commonly treated illnesses.
Chronic pain was the primary condition patients reported treating with CBD, then several mood disorders and insomnia. In the sixth position, patients revealed they used CBD to treat migraines, cluster, and tension headaches.
Another survey, this time from 2015 by Project CBD, also supported the popular use of CBD for headaches and migraines. There has to be something to it if so many patients keep relying on CBD oil for the treatment of migraines.
The Science Behind a Migraine
To understand if (and why) CBD oil works for migraines, we must understand the mechanism of action behind this painful condition. What triggers the onset of an utterly debilitating experience?
According to theMayo Clinic, migraines are still poorly understood— despite significant scientific attention. They explain, “Changes in the brainstem and its interactions with the trigeminal nerve, a major pain pathway, might be involved. So might imbalances in brain chemicals — including serotonin, which helps regulate pain in your nervous system.”
What is most understood are the triggers. Certain experiences can lead to the onset of a massive migraine attack. These include alcohol, stress, hormonal imbalance, changes in weather, and even specific foods and food additives.
The authors of “Emerging Role of (Endo)Cannabinoids in Migraine” strongly suggest that an endocannabinoid imbalance may be the root cause, no matter the trigger. Endocannabinoids are the compounds our bodies naturally produce to work within our endocannabinoid system. Together the endocannabinoids, with the endocannabinoid receptors, manage pain, mood, memory, appetite, and more.
According to this idea, patients who suffer from migraines may have a novel new condition called Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency. Essentially, people with migraines do not produce enough endocannabinoids to achieve homeostasis or balance.
Cannabinoids, including both THC and CBD, interact with the endocannabinoid system to help return it to balance. If this cannabinoid deficiency theory is true, maybe that’s why so many patients find relief from CBD oil. As with many areas of CBD research, it needs a lot more study before it’s confirmed.
How to Dose CBD Oil for Migraines
Dosing CBD for migraines is much like dosing CBD for everything else. It requires a bit of patience and a slow and steady approach. If you learn how to dose CBD for migraines, you’ve got the knowledge to dose it for anything.
It is worth noting that CBD isn’t a quick fix for any condition. That means if you feel a migraine coming on or already in the midst of one, one drop of CBD isn’t a miracle cure. CBD seems to work best once you’ve built it up within your system. Maybe this is because it’s rebalancing the production of endocannabinoids, although again, this theory needs more study.
Step by Step Guide to Dosing CBD Oil for Headaches and Migraines
- Read the CBD oil or CBD tincture label carefully. Every oil is different and will have a different concentration of CBD. Determine how many milligrams of CBD are in a full dose dropper. If there are 30 drops in a standard dose dropper, how many milligrams of CBD are per drop?
- Most adults will want to start with roughly 10 mg of CBD per day. If you’ve never tried CBD oil before, divide this dose into an AM and a PM dose.
- Maintain this dose for at least three days. Monitor how you feel, both mentally and physically. The most common side effects are sleepiness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite.
- If no side effects appear, maintain this dose until a migraine hits or expect a migraine to hit. Monitor the differences, if any.
- If migraine is just as painful and long, increase the dose by 50 percent.
- Repeat the process until you notice therapeutic results or experience a reaction.
- f a severe adverse reaction happens, cease CBD oil treatment. Speak to a doctor.
CBD for Migraines: Safe and Well Tolerated
Importantly CBD oil has a very strong safety profile. It’s much safer in many respects than many common over the counter and prescription drugs used for the treatment of migraines.
With low risk of side effects, many migraine patients have turned to CBD oil in lieu of more conventional medications. While its not a miracle cure for migraine conditions, over time, as it builds up in the endocannabinoid system. Eventually, this slowly improves the endocannabinoid balance and may reduce the severity and duration of most migraines.
The science of CBD for migraines is just getting started. Based on what we know now, it’s exciting to think about the future of migraine treatment with CBD oil.