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CBD Oil for Migraines: Does It Work?

What’s the deal?

Migraines go beyond the typical stress- or allergy-related headache. Migraines last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours, and even the most mundane activities can amplify your symptoms. This includes being around noise and light, and moving.

While pain killers can help alleviate migraine symptoms temporarily, you may be concerned about their side effects. This is where CBD (cannabidiol) oil may come in.

CBD is one of the many active compounds found in the cannabis plant. It’s grown in popularity as a way to treat certain medical conditions naturally.

Keep reading to find out what the current research says about using CBD for migraines, how it works, potential side effects, and more.

What the research says

Research on the use of CBD oil for migraines is limited. This is due in part to its regulated nature and obstacles with cannabis legalization. Still, some laboratory studies have suggested that CBD oil may help all forms of chronic and acute pain. This includes migraines.

One 2017 study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid ResearchTrusted Source explored the positive effects of oral cannabis. Over the course of six months, 26 people who experienced medication overuse headaches took either ibuprofen or nabilone with oral cannabis to treat their symptoms. Each combination was used for eight weeks at a time. They also took eight weeks off in between the two combinations.

At the end of the study, participants reported more improvements and better quality of life when taking the cannabis-nabilone formula. It’s important to note that researchers assessed the combination of substances used, and not cannabis alone.

In 2016, PharmacotherapyTrusted Source published a study on the use of medical marijuana for migraines. Researchers found that of the 48 people surveyed, about 40 percentTrusted Source reported fewer migraines overall. Drowsiness was the biggest complaint, while others had difficulty figuring out the right dose.

Both of these studies assessed the effects of cannabis — not pure CBD oil — on pain. Additional research is needed to truly assess the effects of pure CBD on migraines.

Clinical trials involving human participants are also needed to fully investigate the effects of CBD oil and its potential benefits for migraines.

How CBD works

CBD works by interacting with cells in both the brain and nervous system. These molecules are called cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2).

Though the relationship between these cells and receptors isn’t fully understood, their interaction is thought to affect the immune system.

For example, CBD may preventTrusted Source the body from metabolizing anandamide. This is a compound associated with pain regulation. Maintaining high levels of anandamides in your bloodstream may reduce your feelings of pain.

CBD is also thought to limit inflammation within the body, which may also help reduce pain and other immune-system responses.

More research is needed to further understand how CBD may affect the body.

How to use CBD for migraine relief

Although lawmakers in the United States are currently debating the use of cannabis and related products, the plant’s medicinal uses aren’t a new discovery.

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI)Trusted Source, cannabis has been used for nearly 3,000 years in alternative medicine. Some of these uses include the management of pain, neurological symptoms, and inflammation.

CBD oil is taken via vaping or ingestion. Oral CBD is less likely to cause side effects, so beginners may want to start here. You can put a few drops of the oil under your tongue, take CBD capsules, or even eat a CBD-infused treat.

Vaping CBD oil may be beneficial if you’re experiencing a severe migraine at home and you don’t have to travel anywhere. The NCITrusted Source explains that the inhalation process delivers the compounds to your bloodstream much quicker than other methods.

Currently, there aren’t any formal guidelines for proper dosing for a migraine. CBD Oil Reviewrecommends using between 2.5 and 20 milligrams (mg) per day for chronic pain.

If you’re new to CBD oil, you should start with the smallest dosage possible. You can gradually work your way up to the full recommended dose. This will allow your body to get used to the oil and reduce your risk of side effects.

Potential side effects and risks

Overall, the side effects of CBD oil are minimal. This is one of the main reasons why people are opting out of over-the-counter or addictive prescription pain medications for migraines and are instead considering this oil for pain management. Still, drowsiness and upset stomach are possible.

Your risk for side effects may depend on the way you use the CBD oil. Vaping it, for example, may cause lung irritation. This can lead to chronic cough, wheezing, and breathing difficulties. If you have asthma or any other type of lung disease, your doctor may advise against vaping CBD oil.

Just as human studies are limited regarding CBD oil’s benefits, so are studies related to potential side effects. If you’re unsure about the potential side effects or how your body might handle them, talk with your doctor.

Reference: https://www.healthline.com/health/migraine/cbd-oil-for-migraines

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