CBD for migraines: How does it work?

CBD for migraine

Migraine is a neurological condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Characterized by debilitating headaches and often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, migraines can have a significant impact on quality of life.

In addition to conventional treatments, more and more people are looking to buy CBD online as a potential natural option to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with migraines. In this article, we tell you about the relationship between CBD and migraines, based on the current scientific research available.

What is migraine?

A migraine is not just another headache, it is a complex condition with a wide range of symptoms. Migraine attacks can last from hours to days and are often so intense that the pain is disabling.

The exact cause of migraines is not fully understood, but they are believed to be the result of abnormal brain activity that affects nerve signals, neurotransmitters, chemicals and blood vessels in the brain.

Conventional treatment of migraines

Conventional treatment of migraines may include the use of analgesic drugs such as ibuprofen or paracetamol, and antimigraine drugs such as triptans. Some supplements studied for migraine relief include vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin D, magnesium, coenzyme Q10 and melatonin. Other complementary therapies that may be helpful include meditation, tai chi and yoga.

What is CBD and how can it help with migraines?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound derived from hemp that has been studied for its potential to relieve pain and reduce inflammation (1, 2).

Properties of CBD for migraine

CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, influencing pain regulation and other physiological processes that could be related to migraines (3).

In addition to its potential to alleviate migraine symptoms, CBD has also shown potential benefits for anxiety, stress and insomnia, common factors that often trigger or aggravate migraine episodes.

Can CBD oil help with migraines?

There is a lot of information on the historical use of cannabis for the treatment of headache. As for the use of CBD drops specifically, so far, research on CBD and migraine is limited but promising.

One of the hypotheses supporting the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of migraine is the Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD), which suggests that some people may have lower levels of endocannabinoids than normal, which is related to certain medical conditions, including migraine. According to this hypothesis, by restoring endocannabinoid levels (perhaps through the use of external cannabinoids such as CBD), we could more effectively treat migraine (8).

Although there is no scientific evidence of the effectiveness of CBD oil to treat migraine in humans, it may provide relief from some of its symptoms.

Historically, the cannabis plant has been used for the treatment of headache.

Mechanism of action

The potential relief that CBD can provide for migraines stems from its anti-inflammatory properties and the effect of cannabidiol on neurotransmitters, in particular, its ability to modulate serotonin levels (4, 5), which play a role in pain regulation.

One hypothesis is that CBD may interact with the trigeminovascular system to reduce the sensation of pain experienced during a migraine attack. The trigeminovascular system (TGVS) is a collection of nerves and blood vessels in the brain that are activated during a migraine attack (8). There is a study conducted in rodents, which indicates that CBD can modulate the perception of pain linked to migraine (6).

Another possible mechanism of action of CBD is the regulation of the production of cytokines, which are inflammatory substances produced by the body that play a role in pain, thus contributing to migraine relief (8).

In addition, CBD may inhibit certain endocannabinoid enzymes, such as MAGL and FAAH, which degrade endocannabinoids. Through this inhibition, an increase in endocannabinoids would be achieved, which could be another way to alleviate migraine (8).

However, the exact mechanism by which CBD mitigates migraine symptoms is still under investigation.

CBD could act on several fronts to help in the treatment of migraine: reducing pain, inhibiting enzymes that break down endocannabinoids and offering anti-inflammatory effects. However, research in this area is still young, and more studies are needed to confirm these potential benefits.

The lack of study of CBD in migraine is due to the difficulty in studying such an intense pain condition in the laboratory, as in trying to maintain a humane environment for animals or people and avoid their suffering with the presence of pain, maintaining ethical lines can be complicated.

Can CBD cure migraines completely?

While CBD shows potential for controlling some migraine symptoms, there is currently no scientific evidence to suggest that it can cure migraines completely. CBD treatment should be viewed as part of a broader strategy to manage migraine symptoms.

How is CBD used for migraines?

There is no protocol for taking CBD for migraine. The most practical routes of administration for the consumption of CBD is through CBD oils; although CBD can also be administered via the pulmonary route.

It should be noted that the results of the effects of CBD can vary from person to person and it is important to talk to a professional for a personalized diagnosis and treatment. In addition, the regulation of CBD products varies from country to country, and in many European countries it is not allowed to take CBD drops orally: find out more.

What is the dose of CBD for migraine?

Studies on CBD specifically for migraines are very scarce and mostly based on animal models. Thus, CBD doses for migraines are not functional for humans.

Although specific doses for migraines have not been established, there is evidence for the use of CBD for the treatment of pain in general. These reports are very varied and most of them report a better efficacy of CBD in relieving pain when used in combination with THC (7).

Since there is no single dose of CBD for the treatment of migraine, it could be used starting with a low dose and gradually increasing until the desired relief is achieved (“start low and go slow”).

CBD dosage may vary depending on factors such as weight, tolerance level and the concentration of the product being used. Consult with healthcare providers for personalized advice before using CBD products.

Does CBD have side effects?

CBD is generally well tolerated, but some people may experience side effects such as dizziness, dry mouth or changes in appetite. In some cases, interactions between CBD and interactions between CBD and medications affecting their efficacy or causing adverse effects.

If you are taking medication for migraines or any other condition, it is essential to consult with a physician before starting CBD, as it can interact with various medications, altering their effectiveness. In addition, cannabis or CBD has contraindications in pregnancy.

Final considerations in the use of CBD for migraines.

CBD oil offers an alternative for those seeking relief from migraine symptoms. Although research is still in its early stages, early findings suggest that CBD may play a role in the treatment of migraine. As always, it is recommended to consult with a physician for personalized guidance on the appropriateness of CBD use, dosages and possible interactions with other medications.

While CBD is not a panacea, its potential as an alternative treatment option is encouraging and merits further research. In a few years, when results from ongoing studies are available, we may understand the full spectrum of benefits that CBD can offer migraine sufferers.

Note: This is an informational post, based on ongoing research. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent or cure any disease or symptom. Its content can complement, but never replace, the diagnosis or treatment of any disease or symptom. Cannactiva products are not medicines and are intended for external use. Consult with your physician before using CBD.

  1. Costa, B., Giagnoni, G., Franke, C., Trovato, A. E., & Colleoni, M. (2004). Vanilloid TRPV1 receptor mediates the antihyperalgesic effect of the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid, cannabidiol, in a rat model of acute inflammation. British journal of pharmacology, 143(2), 247-250. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bjp.0705920
  2. Costa, B., Colleoni, M., Conti, S., Parolaro, D., Franke, C., Trovato, A. E., & Giagnoni, G. (2004). Oral anti-inflammatory activity of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive constituent of cannabis, in acute carrageenan-induced inflammation in the rat paw. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg’s archives of pharmacology, 369(3), 294-299. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00210-004-0871-3
  3. Greco, R., Francavilla, M., Demartini, C., Zanaboni, A. M., Sodergren, M. H., Facchetti, S., Pacchetti, B., Palmisani, M., Franco, V., & Tassorelli, C. (2023). Characterization of the biochemical and behavioral effects of cannabidiol: implications for migraine. The journal of headache and pain, 24(1), 48. https://doi.org/10.1186/s10194-023-01589-y
  4. Atalay, S., Jarocka-Karpowicz, I., & Skrzydlewska, E. (2019). Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 9(1), 21. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9010021
  5. Russo, E. B., Burnett, A., Hall, B., & Parker, K. K. (2005). Agonistic properties of cannabidiol at 5-HT1a receptors. Neurochemical research, 30(8), 1037-1043. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11064-005-6978-1
  6. Sturaro, C., Fakhoury, B., Targowska-Duda, K. M., Zribi, G., Schoch, J., Ruzza, C., Calò, G., Toll, L., & Cippitelli, A. (2023). Preclinical effects of cannabidiol in an experimental model of migraine. Pain, 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000002960. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000002960
  7. Mlost, J., Bryk, M., & Starowicz, K. (2020). Cannabidiol for Pain Treatment: Focus on Pharmacology and Mechanism of Action. International journal of molecular sciences, 21(22), 8870. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21228870
  8. Leimuranta P, Khiroug L, Giniatullin R. Emerging Role of (Endo)Cannabinoids in Migraine. Front Pharmacol. 2018 Apr 24;9:420. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00420. PMID: 29740328; PMCID: PMC5928495.

Masha Burelo
Investigadora en cannabinoides | Doctoranda en Neurociencia

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