Millions of people suffer from migraines, which almost always cause debilitating pain. This neurological condition doesn’t just cause suffering when the pain becomes acute but can leave a person in a state of constant anxiety, wondering when the next episode will strike. While some people manage to address them with medication, it’s undeniable that more and more individuals are seeking out natural means for both preventing and treating them.
As of recently, CBD, aka cannabidiol, has become an extremely popular option for migraine sufferers. This natural, nontoxic derivative of the hemp plant has been studied many times over the years for its ability to address a wide range of pain-related issues, migraines included. So, let’s take a look at what the studies say about CBD’s potential as a migraine treatment option, and go over the things that you need to know about taking the cannabinoid specifically for this purpose.
Migraines: What to Know
While virtually everyone gets headaches from time to time, due to a variety of causes, migraine refers to a specific neurological disorder that causes severe pain, often on one side of the head, and occurs frequently. Migraine pain is often debilitating, like we said earlier, meaning that the sufferer cannot do anything but lay down and wait for the pain to pass. The pain tends to be so intense that the person is unable to do anything at all, which makes this disorder extremely disruptive to a person’s life.
The intense headache pain caused by a migraine can be the only symptom, but migraines are typically associated with causing other symptoms during an episode as well, such as:
- Auras (disturbances in one’s vision that occur at the onset of a migraine, like dots or sparkles)
- Light sensitivity
- Sound sensitivity
- Difficulty with speech
Migraines affect women more than men, and the episodes can last for roughly 4 to 72 hours. While the exact cause is unknown, triggers can include:
- Hormonal changes – changes in estrogen levels can bring on migraines, which is why many women experience migraines more frequently around the time that they menstruate
- Emotional stress
- Low blood sugar caused by skipping meals
- Caffeine consumption
- Alcohol consumption
- Consumption of processed foods
Common Migraine Treatments
Nowadays, those who suffer from migraines can choose from a variety of treatment options. Keep in mind that as of now, there is no known 100% effective cure, but there are many options out there that can significantly reduce the frequency or severity of migraines, and some have managed to fully avoid migraines by using one of these treatments below.
- Medication: There are a number of medication options for migraine sufferers, which aim to either prevent them or treat the pain
- Magnesium: Magnesium is an essential mineral that we can derive from food. But, many people, and especially women, are chronically deficient. There is a strong link between magnesium deficiency and migraines, and so supplementing with magnesium may help address the condition.
- Hormone Therapy: If a person’s migraines are triggered by hormonal changes like menstruation or menopause, they may be able to minimize instances of episodes by undergoing hormone therapy
- Botox: Botox injections have become a very common course of action for preventing migraines, as they paralyze the tissue that becomes acutely painful during an episode
If you do suffer from migraines, we strongly recommend that you bring this up with your doctor. Your doctor may be able to determine your migraine triggers and help you come up with a personalized treatment plan to bring you relief.
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is the most abundant compound in the hemp plant. Nonintoxicating, CBD is a cannabinoid which interacts directly with the body’s endocannabinoid system. It was first discovered in the 1960s, and ever since its discovery, scientists have extensively researched and analyzed the compound in order to determine its distinctive therapeutic uses.
CBD has become an extremely popular product for addressing a wide range of common ailments, including stress, poor sleep, physical discomfort, nausea, and low appetite, because of its unique effectiveness combined with its gentle, nontoxic, and nonaddictive nature.
It’s also a completely legal product that you can simply order online, without a prescription of any kind. Because it’s so accessible, it’s an excellent choice for someone who wants to incorporate a new potential treatment into their routine.
CBD and the Endocannabinoid System
Like we said, CBD is a cannabinoid, which means that it interacts directly with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system, first discovered in the 1990s, is responsible for keeping us in a state of homeostasis – in other words, a state in which the body is experiencing equilibrium and peak functionality. Throughout the body, we find cannabinoid receptors, which each have the job of regulating a bodily process, whether it be our inflammation levels, our stress response, our circadian rhythm, our pain tolerance, or so on. But, cannabinoid receptors can only fulfill this role when they receive cannabinoids, and this is why taking CBD can help the body reach this equilibrium state, and address such a wide range of issues.
CBD for Migraines: Can it Help?
We said before that migraine is a neurological disorder. Meanwhile, CBD has been established through tireless research as a potential treatment for a host of common neurological issues. Cannabinoid receptors in the neurological system can use CBD to regulate neurological function, and alleviate a number of symptoms associated with poor neurological health.
CBD has also been well established as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory, being widely used for many pain conditions. In fact, researchers are hopeful that CBD may be useful in addressing pain that’s resistant to standard pain medications. Researchers have specifically examined CBD’s potential use as a treatment for migraines many times, with very promising results.
Keep in mind, too, that stress and anxiety are very common migraine triggers, and some believe that anxiety and stress can be underlying causes for migraine disorders. Cannabidiol is well-known for its anxiolytic properties, which may minimize stress by reorganizing the neurotransmitters responsible for our state of mind.
Best CBD Strain for Migraines
First, let’s talk about strains. The strain refers to the cultivar of the cannabis plant (in this case, the hemp species), which has its own distinctive profile of cannabinoids and terpenes. Strains can vary so much in chemical composition that they introduce extremely unique effects, including effects that are associated with migraine relief. That being said, if you’re going to opt for a CBD product that comes in a variety of strain options, which you’ll commonly find with CBD flower and CBD vaping products, these are the strains we recommend for migraine sufferers:
- OG Kush
- Blue Dream
CBD Gummies for Migraines
Many people use CBD gummies for headaches, and there’s a lot of ways in which they can be a great option for migraine sufferers. Keep in mind that no one delivery method is objectively superior to others in terms of its efficacy against migraines, but each delivery method does behave differently in terms of potency and duration of effects.
CBD gummies are edibles that each contain an equal amount of cannabidiol-rich hemp extract, and this makes them very user-friendly in terms of dosage. CBD edibles also involve the ingestion of the cannabinoid, and when we ingest cannabinoids, the effects can last for up to 8 hours – the longest-lasting delivery method of all. It can also take 1-2 hours for the effects to work, so keep that in mind if you’re reaching for CBD gummies once a migraine episode has started.
CBD Cream for Headache/Migraine
Another popular type of CBD product for migraines is CBD cream, which is a type of topical product. Applying a cannabidiol-infused topical directly to the affected area can provide relief within 15 minutes, lasting for up to 6 hours, all while staying localized. Basically, this way, you’re concentrating the relief that the product can provide on the one area that needs it the most, instead of the CBD getting dispersed throughout the body. CBD creams come in a variety of milligram strength options, and we recommend formulas that also contain menthol, a natural cooling agent derived from mint, which can be extremely soothing when migraine pain attacks. As for where to put CBD cream for headaches, simply apply it liberally to the area of the head that’s in pain, and massage it well into the skin.
CBD Oil for Migraines and Anxiety
So, what about CBD oil? CBD oil is a formula that comes in a dropper bottle, and usually contains just hemp extract, a carrier oil, and possibly flavoring. It’s most often used as a tincture, in which a dropper of oil is poured below the tongue, and held there for 60 seconds before being swallowed. This enables the CBD to absorb through the sublingual tissue, which allows the effects to kick in around 15-45 minutes after administration, and last for between 3-5 hours, while the effects are typically more potent than they are when the CBD is ingested.
CBD oil is a fantastic choice for migraines, and it’s also an extremely popular product for anxiety, due to its more potent effects, and it’s relatively short onset time paired with a relatively long duration time. Keep in mind that CBD oil can also be used topically if desired, behaving just like the CBD creams that we described earlier.
What’s the Right CBD Dosage for Migraines?
If you’re going to try to address migraines with CBD, it’s important to get the dosage right, as taking too little means you probably won’t get any meaningful results. And, the thing with CBD is that everyone is different. Some people simply benefit from higher doses than others. Factors that can affect the amount of CBD needed to address migraines include:
- Body weight
- Tolerance to CBD
- Whether or not you’re a beginner
- The configuration of your endocannabinoid system
- The severity of your migraines
- The underlying cause for your migraines
But, remember that cannabidiol is nontoxic to the body, so experimenting with higher doses is not dangerous. At worst, a high dose may make you feel groggy for a couple of hours. Generally, we recommend that migraine sufferers start out with between 25-40mg daily. However, some people take up to 100mg of CBD each day to manage migraines.
Another thing to remember is that you can take more than one dose of CBD within a 24-hour period. So, if you feel that taking your cannabidiol product multiple times a day will benefit you, there’s no reason not to.
What to Know About Using CBD for Migraines
Now that you know that CBD can actually offer meaningful relief to those who experience migraines, let’s talk about the things you need to know in order to derive the most potential benefit from the cannabinoid. How you take it significantly determines whether or not you’re likely to experience relief.
First off, we can’t stress enough the importance of taking CBD daily, even when no pain is present. This allows CBD to potentially work prophylactically, by keeping an effective amount of cannabidiol in the system at all times. While CBD may be helpful during an actual migraine attack, taking it daily may be able to actually reduce the frequency at which migraines occur in the first place. CBD does work cumulatively, in response to its relationship to the endocannabinoid system.
Consider Medications You’re on
If you are taking any medications, whether they be for migraines or otherwise, please speak to your doctor before taking cannabidiol. CBD is metabolized through an enzyme called CYP3A4, and this same enzyme breaks down a number of popular medications, including numerous pain medications. If CBD is using up all of your body’s CYP3A4, then medications may fail to metabolize, and end up accumulating in the bloodstream, which could, in rare instances, lead to toxic levels associated with overdose.
Stick with it
It can take up to 2 weeks for CBD to really start taking effect in the body, so wait before deciding whether or not the cannabinoid is actually useful as a potential treatment. Many people find that after a few weeks of daily use, the cannabinoid begins to really make an impact on their condition.
Consider Two Approaches
We always recommend pairing a CBD topical with an internal delivery method (CBD oil, CBD gummies, etc.) in order to tackle migraines in two ways. We said before that topicals offer more targeted, localized effects, as they allow the CBD to absorb directly into the affected tissue of the body. Meanwhile, an internal method can supply the endocannabinoid system with the fuel that it needs to regulate processes involved in migraines, like neurological processes along with stress/anxiety. Because CBD is nontoxic, it’s perfectly fine to take two types of products at once.
Be Sure to Choose a Reputable Brand
You can do everything right, but if you’re not buying high-quality CBD, you’ll never get the results you’re looking for. Please make a point to scope out a brand ahead of time, looking for reviews of their products, and checking third-party lab reports – i.e., the lab reports provided by a third-party facility that has tested the CBD product for purity, potency, authenticity, safety, and quality. These lab reports should be posted on a brand’s website.
Also, it’s generally better to buy your CBD online than in person, since online companies typically maintain stricter quality standards as they have a larger audience due to worldwide visibility. Besides that, online stores are known to offer a wider selection of products to choose from, so that you can really zero in on the formula most likely to offer you relief.
Increase Your Dose if Necessary
If, after a few weeks, you’re still experiencing the same level of severity and frequency of migraines, try upping the amount that you take by about 10-15 milligrams. Like we discussed, there’s really no risk of overdose, and the most common side effect is drowsiness.
What’s the Best CBD for Migraines?
More and more migraine sufferers are discovering that CBD is what’s been missing from their routine, and now you can see that the research on the topic really speaks for itself. If you’re ready to tackle migraines using a natural, plant-based method, consider Kore Original, where you’ll find a number of lab-tested products infused with cannabidiol-rich hemp extract. Our CBD Pain Freeze is a popular topical option for migraine sufferers, combining cannabidiol with menthol for intensive, targeted relief. We also carry a number of edibles, oils, and more, all of which contain effective servings of the cannabinoid, making them perfect for daily use.
Overall, migraines are undeniably debilitating, and we at Kore believe that in many cases, natural, holistic care is the way to go. Explore our product collection today, and find a formula that you’d like to incorporate into your treatment plan, in hopes of getting the migraine relief that you deserve.