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  • by Nicola Boulton August 29, 2022 6 min read

     CBD Oil for Migraines

    Do you know CBD helps with migraines? This article tackles the following; what are migraines, why would CBD work for migraines, how to use CBD for migraines, can CBD oil help with migraines, and potential risks and side effects.

    Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is one of more than one hundred different chemicals extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant. Depending on the extraction method, CBD oil either has traces of THC or none. This oil is gaining much attention as a potential treatment for various health conditions, including migraines, arthritis, and chronic pain. Continue reading for more information on CBD and migraines.

    CBD Oil for Migraines

    What Are Migraines?

    Migraines are excruciating headaches that can last anywhere from four to seventy-two hours on average. Membrilla et al. (2020) stated that in most cases, one side of the head is affected by a throbbing feeling. It feels like someone is simultaneously attempting to pound the head with a hammer while simultaneously squeezing the skull. Migraines cause excruciating pain and are accompanied by other symptoms, such as sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and vomiting. Both acute and chronic forms of migraines exist, with the chronic variety lasting for more than a week.

    Why Would CBD Work for Migraines?

    Endocannabinoid System and Cannabidiol Oil

    The endocannabinoid deficiency influences migraines and can be managed by administering CBD. This system is involved in pain signaling centrally and peripherally. Barrie & Manolios (2017) stated that endocannabinoids suppress the release of neurotransmitters responsible for pain sensation. Migraines may originate in the endocannabinoid system. Russo (2016) suggested that cannabidiol (CBD) may be a viable treatment option for relieving the physiological and inflammatory elements of pain associated with migraine headaches.

    Cannabidiol, Anandamide, and Migraines

    Anandamide, also known as AEA, is one of the many endocannabinoids naturally produced by the human body. Cortes-Altamirano et al. (2018) stated that it modulates the amount of activity that serotonin receptors produce. Additionally, anandamide is active within the gray matter of the brain, which is the region of the brain that is responsible for the production of migraines. Problems with the endocannabinoid system cause migraines. Iffland& Grotenhermen (2017) explained that  CBD modifies AEA levels within the body and maintains adequate concentrations in the brain. It has the potential to alleviate the pain associated with migraines.

    How to Use CBD for Migraines?


    Stella et al. (2021) stated that CBD topical has the lowest bioavailability of all the CBD delivery methods, yet it has a potential for treating localized pain. Additionally, topical treatments calm the neurons in the brain responsible for releasing calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). This peptide causes migraine headaches. Patients suffering from chronic migraines have high amounts of CGRP but low quantities of endocannabinoids in their bodies. CBD applied topically can reduce CGRP, discomfort, inflammation, and edema.

    Sublingual Drops

    Sublingual administration of CBD is a common method of consumption. Consumers use a calibrated dropper to determine the dose of CBD oil, then squeeze it under the tongue and wait for it to be absorbed by the network of capillaries. Ito et al. (2017)  stated that CBD is directly absorbed into the bloodstream; thus, an individual experiences rapid effects. In most cases, it takes between 20 and 30 minutes for the ad hoc effects to become apparent. People suffering from migraines and want to avoid additives like propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin, which are found in CBD vape oils, should use sublingual drops.


    Inhaling CBD oil may provide relief from migraine headaches. Vaping is a way of inhaling CBD that is considered safe and user-friendly. The substance is heated until it releases a vapor that is rich in CBD when vaporized. After that, users breathe in via the mouthpiece of the vaporizer. Because no combustion is involved, inhaling CBD oil through a vape pen does not introduce potentially toxic compounds into the body. Vaporization has the highest bioavailability; therefore, it gives a higher concentration of the active ingredients and almost instant effects.

    Can CBD Oil Help with Migraines?

    The endocannabinoid system responds favorably to the modulating effects of CBD (ECS). It helps the ECS maintain the proper chemical balance in the body and the brain by acting on the receptors (CB1 and CB2). CBD, in its most basic form, sends signals to these receptors to manufacture more of the body's cannabinoids. It then blocks the enzyme responsible for breaking down these cannabinoids, making them more readily available to the body. Additionally, CBD can act as a painkiller, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotectant. Therefore, it is ideal for migraines.

    Potential Risks and Side Effects

    CBD oil also has side effects despite its long list of therapeutic benefits. According to Liu (2019), the side effects include dry mouth, reduced blood pressure, and dizziness. In rare instances, people have reported diarrhea after overdosing on CBD oil. There is also the possibility of adverse interactions with other medications. Sumanasekera& Spio (2016) explained that CBD inhibits the enzyme in the liver that is responsible for the digestion of drugs; taking CBD oil in conjunction with several different medications may increase the concentration of these drugs in the system, which may induce "second-hand" negative effects (not related to using CBD on its own).


    Even though research into the link between CBD and migraines is still in its infancy, the blog above shows that cannabinoid has the potential to be an effective anti-migraine drug. There is a chance that it might reduce or even eradicate migraine symptoms.

    Suppose the notion that migraines are caused by endocannabinoid deficiency finds validity in human clinical trials. In that case, CBD oil will be useful for reducing the symptoms of this severe condition. Currently, there is no cure for migraines. This article sheds some light on the apparent connection between CBD, the endocannabinoid system, and migraines. Learn more about what is full spectrum cbd oil uk?


    Barrie, N., & Manolios, N. (2017). The endocannabinoid system in pain and inflammation: its relevance to rheumatic disease. European journal of rheumatology, 4(3), 210.

    Cortes-Altamirano, J. L., Olmos-Hernandez, A., Jaime, H. B., Carrillo-Mora, P., Bandala, C., Reyes-Long, S., & Alfaro-Rodríguez, A. (2018). 5-HT1, 5-HT2, 5-HT3 and 5-HT7 receptors and their role in the modulation of pain response in the central nervous system. Current neuropharmacology, 16(2), 210-221.

    Ito, M., Okabe, D., & Anderson, K. (2017). Portable objects in three global cities: The personalization of urban places. In The reconstruction of space and time (pp. 67-87). Routledge.


    Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An update on safety and side effects of cannabidiol: a review of clinical data and relevant animal studies. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 2(1), 139-154.

    Liu, T. (2019). What is CBD Oil? Learn the Facts: Uses, Benefits and Side Effects.


    Membrilla, J. A., De Lorenzo, Í., Sastre, M., & Diaz de Teran, J. (2020). Headache as a cardinal symptom of coronavirus disease 2019: A cross‐sectional study. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 60(10), 2176-2191.

    Russo, E. B. (2016). Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency reconsidered: current research supports the theory in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, and other treatment-resistant syndromes. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 1(1), 154-165.

    Stella, B., Baratta, F., Della Pepa, C., Arpicco, S., Gastaldi, D., & Dosio, F. (2021). Cannabinoid formulations and delivery systems: Current and future options to treat pain. Drugs, 81(13), 1513-1557.

    Sumanasekera, W. K., & Spio, K. (2016). Cannabis (Marijuana): Psychoactive Properties, Addiction, Therapeutic Uses, and Toxicity. J Addict Behav Ther Rehabil 5: 2. of, 9, 2.

    What is CBD oil, and can it help with migraines?

    CBD oil is a natural extract derived from the cannabis plant. Some studies suggest it may help manage migraines by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system, which is involved in pain regulation.

    How does CBD oil work to alleviate migraine symptoms?

    CBD interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the brain and immune system. It may help reduce inflammation, pain perception, and stress levels, which are factors associated with migraines.

    Is CBD oil legal in the UK?

    Yes, CBD oil is legal in the UK as long as it contains less than 0.2% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound in cannabis.

    What dosage of CBD oil should I take for migraines?

    Dosage can vary based on individual factors such as body weight and tolerance. It's advisable to start with a low dose and gradually increase until you find relief from migraine symptoms.

    Are there any side effects of using CBD oil for migraines?

    Common side effects may include fatigue, dry mouth, and changes in appetite. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional before using CBD oil, especially if you're taking other medications.

    How quickly can CBD oil relieve migraine pain?

    The onset of relief can vary. Some people may experience relief within minutes to hours after taking CBD oil, while others may require more prolonged use for noticeable effects.

    Can CBD oil prevent migraines from occurring?

    While research is ongoing, some studies suggest that CBD oil's anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties may help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines in some individuals.

    Are there different types of CBD oil for migraines?

    CBD oil products vary in concentration and formulation. Some are full-spectrum, containing other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes, while others are isolate-based, containing only CBD.

    How should I take CBD oil for migraines?

    CBD oil can be taken sublingually (under the tongue), swallowed in capsules, or applied topically to the skin. The method of consumption can affect how quickly you feel its effects.

    Can CBD oil interact with other medications I'm taking for migraines?

    CBD oil may interact with certain medications, particularly those that come with a grapefruit warning. It's essential to discuss CBD use with your doctor to avoid potential interactions and ensure safety.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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