Can CBD Oil Treat a Migraine?
Sherry Christiansen is a medical writer with a healthcare background. She has worked in the hospital setting and collaborated on Alzheimer’s research.
Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.
Nicholas R. Metrus, MD, is board-certified in neurology and neuro-oncology. He currently works at the Glasser Brain Tumor Center with Atlantic Health System in Summit, New Jersey.
With the laws governing the legal use of medical marijuana beginning to loosen up, there’s quite a bit of focus on the use of CBD oil—a component of the marijuana plant—for treating everything from arthritis to chronic pain, including migraines. But what is CBD oil, and does it really work to relieve migraine headaches?
Verywell / Ellen Lindner
Cannabidiol (CBD) is just one of over 100 different substances found in the the Cannabis sativa plant. The portion of the cannabis plant that produces a high (the psychotropic effect) is called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Depending on how it’s processed, CBD oil contains very little (or is completely void of) THC.
Due to the pervasiveness and debilitating effects of migraine headaches, there’s been a lot of clinical research aimed at trying to find an effective treatment to minimize the frequency of migraines and alleviate the pain.
Medical experts currently consider the pain from a migraine headache the result of intense stimulation to sensory nerves—a response to inflammatory agents which are released when a migraine occurs. This would explain why powerful analgesic and anti-inflammatory agents, such as CBD oil, may be effective in the treatment of migraines.
Properties of CBD Oil That Relieve Migraine
- Potent analgesic (pain relieving) properties
- Antiemetic (preventing nausea and vomiting) properties
- Powerful anti-inflammatory effects
CBD oil has gotten a lot of attention for its powerful pain-relieving properties, particularly since cannabis use is becoming legal in many states (33 as of October 2019, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but details vary). In June 2018, the FDA approved CBD for the first time for a new seizure medication called Epidiolex (cannabidiol) [CBD] oral solution.
According to a study published in Frontiers in Pharmacy, while there are many experts who advocate for the use of CBD oil for migraines, there is still not enough evidence to prove that treatment will CBD oil will be completely effective for alleviating migraine headaches.
The researchers add that given time, as the legalities around medical marijuana and CBD oil change, more research may be able to show that CBD oil works well enough and consistently enough to treat migraines.
“Cannabinoids—due to their anticonvulsive, analgesic, antiemetic, and anti-inflammatory effects —present a promising class of compounds for both acute [short-term, severe] and prophylactic [preventative] treatment of migraine pain,” explained lead study author Pinja Leimuranta, of the University of Eastern Finland. Although the researchers say that we are not completely there yet, they add that CBD oil can “absolutely help relieve some symptoms related to migraines.”
While few clinical research studies have examined the use of CBD to treat migraines, a 2016 study, published in Pharmacotherapy, found that the frequency of migraines was reduced from nearly 10 per month to only approximately four per month in a group of medical marijuana users. Research presented in 2017 at the Congress of the European Academy of Neurology showed that cannabinoids might help prevent migraines as well as easing the pain of migraine headache.
Additionally, a 2017 review of cannabis treatment for headaches outlined existing research, patient surveys, and case reports showing the efficacy of cannabis for migraine and other headache disorders. A 2018 review described experimental evidence for the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of migraine as well as other headaches and chronic pain.
Uses and Safety
Previous research studies have shown that CBD oil, unlike THC, does not cause a euphoric high or psychotropic effects, and is typically less controversial and safer for medicinal use. CBD oil has been shown, in a limited number of studies, to be effective in the treatment of many disorders, including diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and migraines.
The type of cannabis that CBD is composed of is well tolerated and safe in humans. In one study, when cannabis with THC was given to study subjects, they experienced an increased heart rate, anxiety, and psychotic symptoms. However, participants who took CBD oil—lacking THC—did not experience side effects (including psychotic symptoms).
Should You Use It?
Anyone considering the use of CBD oil for migraines should consult with their healthcare provider before taking it. It’s important to note that not all sources of the product are reputable.
Prescription drugs with CBD do not have any THC at all. But many over-the-counter CBD oil products, such as those sold online, contain trace amounts of THC.
Another important action step to take before deciding to use CBD oil is to check to ensure that it is legal in your home state. Many states still consider even the prescribed use of CBD oil illegal, due to its link to marijuana. And the FDA has not approved any CBD products (prescription or over-the-counter), aside from Epidiolex.
This certainly does not indicate that people with migraines should stop searching for an effective treatment to alleviate pain and discomfort, nor should they give up hope. There are many proven effective solutions available for those who suffer from migraine headaches.
10 Best CBD Oils for Migraines
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CBD oil is becoming an increasingly popular treatment for migraines, and there are several reasons why it might work well for this condition. Today we’re sharing the 10 best CBD oils for migraines and tips to help keep your migraines at bay.
8. Nuleaf Naturals
9. Charlotte’s Web
Migraines are one of the most common neurological disorders in the world. An estimated 38 million Americans suffer from migraines, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. And while there are many different treatments available for migraines, finding the right one can be a challenge.
Some people find relief with over-the-counter medications, while others need prescription medication to get relief. But for some people, prescription medications don’t work at all and they’re looking for an alternative treatment.
How do I know if I have a migraine or headache?
Migraine headaches are characterized by throbbing or pulsing pain that often can worsen with activity. They typically affect only one side of the head and may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, and noise sensitivity.
What is CBD?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the active cannabinoids found in cannabis sativa. This compound can influence how we feel, think, and react. It does not produce a “high” feeling or psychoactive effects because it binds to other receptors in our bodies rather than those in the brain. People have been using CBD for a variety of conditions, including migraines and other types of pain.
CBD Oil for Migraines
When it comes to CBD oil, there are so many different brands to choose from that choosing the right one can be confusing. Some people have concerns over whether or not CBD oil is legal in their state. Others might be wondering how much they should take or which brand may be most effective.
If you’re considering trying CBD oil for your migraines, we want to make it easy for you by sharing a few tips and reviews of some of the best brands on the market.
How did we choose the best CBD oils for migraines?
When it comes to choosing the best CBD oil for migraines, we based our list on customer reviews and third-party lab tests. We also considered the price per milligram of CBD oil plus any discounts or coupons available.
Price and Discounts Available
One of the first things we considered when compiling our list is how much a company charges per milligram of CBD oil. A higher price point doesn’t necessarily mean a better product, but knowing available pricing and discounts can help if you’re on a budget.
Luckily, several of the companies on this list have discounts or coupons available on their websites that you can use for a better deal. It’s important to note that some of these discounts may have an expiration date, so be sure to check the company website for more information.
CBD Oil Reviews and Best Brands
We also considered customer reviews when compiling this list. CBD oil is a relatively new product and there aren’t many third-party lab tests available, so customer reviews are an important part of finding the best CBD oils on the market.
Finally, we also took into consideration any available third-party lab tests for any potential contaminants in the product. While some companies perform their own tests to ensure their products are clean, others rely on third parties to test their products. If you’re looking for a pure product, you’ll want to buy from a company that independently tests their products.
3 Tips for Finding the Best CBD Oils for Migraines
If you’re looking for the best CBD oils to ease your migraines, here are three tips to get started.
Tip 1: Choose Low or Full Spectrum CBD Oil
If you’re new to CBD oil, you might not know about full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD oils. There are several benefits of full spectrum CBD over regular hemp oil, but it’s especially helpful when treating migraines.
The main difference between the two is that full spectrum CBD oil contains other compounds found in hemp plants, not just CBD. These additional compounds are known as cannabinoids and terpenes. They contain antioxidants and help ease inflammation in addition to easing pain from migraines or headaches.
In order to get the most benefit from a full spectrum CBD oil, look for a product that’s high in both CBD and THCa or CBDa. Most full spectrum oils will also be broad spectrum, so consider this when deciding on a company.
Tip 2: Consider Third Party Lab Tests
If you’re new to CBD oil products, you might not know about third-party lab tests. Third-party lab tests are a good way to ensure that you’re getting a product that’s free from pesticides or any other harmful substances.
There are a few different places where you can find these test results, but many of the best CBD oil companies will have their results listed on their websites. This is also a good place to look if you’re concerned about whether or not the product is legal in your state.
Tip 3: Look for Coupons and Discounts
Did you know that many CBD oil companies offer coupons and discounts? If you’re on a budget, consider looking for a coupon before making a purchase.
What are the benefits of CBD oils for migraines?
There are many benefits of CBD oil and it might be one of the best ways for you to ease your migraine symptoms.
To start, CBD oil is a great alternative to western medicine. Migraine sufferers have been shown to benefit from the use of CBD oil and other cannabinoids. As with any natural product, it might take a little trial and error before you find a product that works best for you.
If you’re new to CBD oils, there are several benefits you might want to consider.
Improves Mood and Eases Depression
CBD oil is also a natural mood booster that helps ease depression in addition to the pain from migraines. It’s important to note that this may not work for everyone, but it can be an excellent option for some people.
One of the best ways that CBD oil helps ease migraines is by reducing anxiety. CBD oil contains terpenes that are known to help fight stress and decrease anxiety, which can help reduce your migraine symptoms.
CBD oils for migraines may also stimulate the appetite and help prevent nausea and vomiting related to migraines. This can be a great benefit if you’re going through treatment and struggling with food aversions or nausea.
Addresses Neuropathic Pain
CBD oil is also helpful for people who suffer from neuropathic pain related to migraine symptoms. This can be an excellent option if you’re dealing with head pain, neck pain, face numbness, dizziness, or any other type of symptom.
What are the side effects of CBD oils for migraines?
It’s important to know about all of the side effects before trying anything new.
Many people report feeling drowsy or groggy when taking CBD oil that contains higher levels of THC. If you’re new to CBD products, you should always start with a low dose and see how it affects you.
If the side effects are too much for you, it might be time to switch to an all CBD oil or full spectrum CBD oil product instead. This way, you won’t have any THC in the product and can still get all of the benefits of CBD.
How much CBD oils for migraines should I take?
The best CBD oils for migraines don’t come with dosing instructions, so you’ll need to do a little research before trying anything new.
It’s always best to start small and see how it impacts your overall migraine symptoms, including pain levels. If you find that you have a good experience with the product, there’s no need to increase your dosage.
You can always take more CBD oil as well if you’re struggling with pain and really want to get relief right away. Be sure not to take too much though as this can cause drowsiness or other side effects that go along with high doses of CBD oil.
What are the best CBD oils for migraines?
There are many benefits to using CBD oil and it might be the perfect natural alternative for you when dealing with migraine symptoms.
One thing that makes CBD oils great is that they’re natural, making them an excellent choice when looking at your overall health and wellness.
Another thing to consider when selecting CBD oils is the THC content if you’re looking for a more psychoactive product. If the CBD oil you choose has too much THC in it, make sure to purchase a CBD oil with less than 0.3 percent THC in order to avoid any unwanted side effects.
As you look through our top 10 list, keep in mind that your experience with CBD oil may be different than someone else’s. Everyone responds to CBD oil differently, so you might need to try a few brands before finding the best one for you.
With that in mind, let’s dive deeper into our top 10 list!
1. Penguin CBD Oil
Image courtesy Penguin CBD
Penguin CBD oil is the perfect addition to anyone seeking migraine relief from CBD oils! Made with Oregon-grown hemp, this supplement is a great way to rejuvenate your body and mind. Their fan-favorite mint, citrus, natural, strawberry, and cookies & cream flavors are sure to please.
Image courtesy Everest
Looking for an ultra-potent CBD oil that’s also vegan and non-GMO? Look no further than Everest CBD’s Delta-8 THC oils. High-grade, naturally grown hemp provides a potent dose of CBD (1,000 mg), while the mint flavor is refreshing and delicious.
3. R+R Medicinals
R+R boasts impressive levels of CBD, CBG, CBC, CBN, CBL, and more in their products so you can truly feel the entourage effect. Their 1000mg Fresh Mint Tincture is their best seller and of incredible value for a Full-Spectrum product at $46.99.
4. BATCH CBD
BATCH CBD is committed to creating natural and effective CBD products that you can rely on. All of BATCH’s products are rigorously tested to ensure the quality and potency of their organic ingredients. BATCH’s Original CBD Oil Tincture is infused with their premium full-spectrum hemp extract and a unique terpene blend of limonene, caryophyllene, and linalool so that you can effectively treat migraine pain, reduce tension, and ultimately find relief.
5. Verma Farms
Image courtesy Verma Farms
For a gentle CBD option that still delivers powerful results, look no further than Verma Farms. Their CBD products are made with your comfort and needs in mind, so you can find the right solution for you. Whether you want to use edibles, tinctures, topicals, or a combination, they have the best CBD oils for migraines.
Image courtesy Hemp Bombs
Hemp Bombs carry a huge range of CBD products, from oils and topicals to edibles and vape products. Hemp Bombs extracts are made with the highest quality ingredients and are rigorously tested for purity and potency. Plus, they offer great discounts on bulk orders!
Image courtesy CBDistillery
With options for every type of user, CBDistillery offers a range of extracts with different potencies to suit your needs. Plus, their products are always made with the highest quality ingredients and backed by a commitment to customer satisfaction.
Image courtesy Nuleaf Naturals
Nuleaf Naturals’ potent full-spectrum extracts provide the benefits of the entourage effect, while high quality hemp ensures that your oil is pesticide and herbicide free. Plus, their affordable prices make Nuleaf Naturals a great choice for anyone on a budget.
Image courtesy Charlotte’s Web
Charlotte’s Web hemp extract is a natural dietary supplement that helps support your health and wellness. Made from the finest organic hemp, Charlotte’s Web extract is CO2 extracted to ensure the highest quality. It’s non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan friendly.
Image courtesy cbdMD
Looking to boost your CBD intake with a high-quality oil? cbdMD has you covered, with up to 7,500 mg of CBD in each bottle. Choose from three delicious flavor options, or go for the unflavored version for a pure CBD hit. Thanks to the MCT oil base, this CBD oil is easy to absorb and has a smooth flavor.
How does CBD help with migraines?
One of the main components of marijuana that delivers many of its effects is CBD. This non-psychoactive cannabinoid not only alleviates pain but can also reduce anxiety.
CBD interacts with certain serotonin receptors in the human brain and immune system, acting as a natural anti-inflammatory substance that reduces pain and inflammation.
CBD can help relieve migraines by affecting serotonin signals in the brain. One study found this effect to be effective on chronic migraine patients. CBD also works to reduce inflammation in the brain, which is known to exacerbate migraines.
CBD oil for pain relief is becoming one of the most popular health topics on search engines. With more people turning to alternative medicine as a solution for their ailments, it only makes sense that CBD has become so popular among those who are in pain.
Here are some potential side effects to be aware of if you’re thinking about trying CBD for your migraines:
CBD can make users feel tired or groggy, especially after taking a large dose. If you have to go to work or school soon after taking CBD, it might be best to take the product in smaller amounts throughout the day so you don’t fall asleep at your desk.
If you don’t already have migraines, CBD can actually cause them to develop over time. If you start feeling pressure around your temples or the back of your head after taking CBD, it might be due to a headache.
CBD acts on cannabinoid receptors that are found throughout the body, including saliva glands. When activated, these receptors can lead to dry mouth, which can cause difficulties eating or drinking.
Nausea and Vomiting
Again, CBD acts on cannabinoid receptors throughout the body, including those in the digestive tracts. If you feel sick after taking CBD oil for migraines, it could be because of your digestive system.
What are some other common migraine treatment options?
There are other prescription drugs that can help treat the symptoms of migraines. For example, some people opt to take sumatriptan (Imitrex), which narrows blood vessels and limits the pain signal sent to the brain.
A medication called propranolol (Inderal) is also prescribed for migraine relief and comes in several forms, including capsules, tablets that dissolve under the tongue, and injections.
Side effects of some prescription migraine treatments can include insomnia, restlessness, dizziness, lightheadedness, dry mouth, nausea, and vomiting.
There are also natural remedies people can try out for migraines before seeing a doctor or trying pharmaceutical drugs. Here are some options that might help:
· Hot or cold packs on the head
What foods can trigger a migraine?
Foods can trigger migraines in different ways, depending on the individual. Some foods are said to cause certain chemicals in the human body to change, which can lead to a migraine.
Some common migraine-triggering foods include:
· Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
· Bananas, citrus fruits, and other foods containing tyramine
· Fermented or pickled foods (such as vinegar-based salad dressings)
What are some of the best CBD oils for migraines?
There are many retailers online that sell high-quality CBD products. Again, here are the best we chose:
8. Nuleaf Naturals
9. Charlotte’s Web
Why would CBD oils for migraines work?
All of the products featured above are made with high-quality CBD that can help treat symptoms associated with migraines.
CBD oil can also help prevent future migraines and lessen the number of attacks a person experiences. If you’re still on the fence about using CBD oils for migraines, just select the best CBD oils for migraines out of our list above, give a low dosage a try, and see how your body responds.
CBD is an effective way to treat migraines and other conditions without the harsh side effects of prescription medications. Whether you’re looking for CBD oil drops with a specific CBD:THC ratio or trying out full-spectrum products with a variety of cannabinoids, our list above has plenty of options that you can order online and start using right away.