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  • by Nicola Boulton August 29, 2022 6 min read

    Does CBD Oil Help Treat Migraines and Headaches?

    CBD oil provides various benefits, including but not limited to treating migraine and headaches, alleviating stress and anxiety, and improving skin conditions. This article highlights  CBD oil for headaches and migraines, what research says, CBD dose for migraines, and how to choose the best CBD oil for your headaches and migraines.

    At the end of the nineteenth century, most individuals were using cannabis to treat migraines and headaches. CBD is a compound extracted from the cannabis plant. However, doctors banned its use since it was highly abused. The recent legalization of CBD products due to the 2018 Farm Bill being passed saw many people turning to CBD oil as a treatment for migraines and headaches. CBD oil is majorly known for relieving migraines and headaches. CBD does not cause any mind-altering effects since it does not have tetrahydro cannabidiol (THC) which is responsible for the high effect. Also, it is well tolerated by most individuals; hence it rarely has any side effects.

    Does CBD Oil Help Treat Migraines and Headaches?

    CBD Oil for Headaches and Migraines

    How CBD Oil Works

    Headaches and migraines are caused by the over-activation of nerves linked to the brain's blood vessels. An increased blood flow in the messengers leads to pain stimulation on the receptors found on the nerve cells on the head and neck. Headache relieving drugs normally works by blocking the said receptors. Below are various ways how CBD oil helps in relieving headaches and migraines:

    Boosts Natural Cannabinoids

    Yarar (2021) stated that CBD interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system(ECS). The ECS has two receptors; CB2 and CB 1. The CB1 receptor is found in the central nervous system, whereas the CB2 receptor is located in the peripheral nervous system. Miller & Miller (2017) suggested that THC and the other cannabinoids relieve pain by activating the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The study above suggested that  CBD is different since it blocks these receptors. Also, it prevents the breaking down of the anandamide cannabinoid produced by the body. Low anandamide levels are associated with migraines. Also, individuals with low anandamide levels in their platelets complain of headaches and migraines. The same is also seen in individuals with headaches because of overusing painkillers. Once they withdraw from the medication, they experience less pain since less anandamide is broken down.

    Baron &Eric (2018) commented that CBD oil works by increasing cannabinoids like anandamide which are low in individuals who experience migraines and headaches.

    Activates Serotonin Receptors

    Anandamide decreases headaches and migraines by activating CB1 receptors. Serotonin receptor blockers prevented activation of CB1 through anandamide. Serotonin receptor is known for alleviating headaches and migraines and their activators (triptans). Lochte et al. (2017) noted that CBD oil reduces nerve pain by activating a serotonin receptor known as 5HT1A on the spine, relieving migraines and headaches. Learn more about benefits of cbd oil supplements

    Activates TRPV1 Receptor

    Mlost et al. (2020) noted that CBD binds to the TRPV1 receptor, which is responsible for inflammatory pain. When TRPV1 is triggered, it releases CGRP, which increases the trigeminal nerve blood flow suggesting that CBD may cause migraines and headaches. However, when this receptor is frequently activated, it reduces pain sensitivity. Hence if you want to treat migraines and headaches, you should use CBD oil consistently.

    CBD Blocks Glutamate

    Some causes of migraine attacks include changes in sight, speech, and mobility, referred to as an aura. Glutamate activation leads to migraine harbingers. Baron (2018) stated that CBD and other cannabinoids prevent the aura by blocking the glutamate receptors.

    Relieves Inflammation and Autoimmunity

    Autoimmune conditions like multiple sclerosis and lupus may trigger migraines and headaches if they lead to inflamed brain blood vessels. Hegazy & Platnick (2019) suggested that CBD is a strong anti-inflammatory agent. It helps relieve headaches and migraines in individuals who experience the said medical conditions by reducing pro-inflammatory messengers production and increasing the amounts of anti-inflammatory cytokines.

    What Does The Research Say?

    Cutller et al. (2021) showed that most patients reported alleviated migraine frequency and pain. The study above also suggested that CBD acted as effectively as a painkiller. Also, frequent vapers of CBD oil reported migraines after they stopped vaping.

    CBD Oil Dose for Migraines and Headaches

    There is no standard dose for CBD oil as a treatment for migraine and headaches since it is not yet FDA approved. Hence, starting low and slow is advisable, seeing how your body reacts to the CBD and increasing it gradually until you find relief. You can start with as low as fifteen to twenty-five milligrams of CBD oil daily. Consult your doctor before taking CBD as a medication to help you know the right dosage and delivery.

    How to Use CBD Oil For Migraines And Headaches

    CBD oil has various formulations; it's up to you to find your desired choice depending on your migraine. These forms include:

    Tinctures and Vapes

    Vaping CBD oil or using it sublingually through tinctures increases its bioavailability; hence its effects are felt quickly but are mostly temporary. However, if you may be experiencing cluster headaches, you should go for CBD oil tinctures or vapes.

    Edibles (Gummies) and Capsules

    Taking CBD oil in terms of edibles, capsules, or infusing it in your favorite drink may slow down the pain relief, but its effects last longer. They are a preferred method for individuals who have constant headaches and migraines.

    Even though migraines are not constant, taking CBD in edibles and capsules may be more effective since they are released slowly.

    The Best CBD Oil for Migraines and Headaches

    Mead &Alice (2017) stated that since the FDA does not approve CBD oil, most manufacturers are taking advantage of that and producing ineffective low-quality products. Below are some tips to look out for before buying CBD oil:

    Proof of Third-Party Lab Test Results

    When purchasing your oil, check for proof of third-party lab test results on their website or ask for one. Trusted brands have nothing to hide; hence they will provide you with the results. These results will show the CBD oil's quality and the cannabinoid levels it has.

    CBD Extract

    CBD extract is available in three forms. What differentiates each one of them is their contents. They include:

    Broad- spectrum

    It has all the other cannabinoids except for THC, hence a perfect option for patients who do not want to experience the effects of THC.

    Full -Spectrum

    According to Marinotti et al. (2020), it has all cannabinoids, including THC. However, its THC levels are less than 0.3 percent hence safe and legal to use. It is known to provide the full entourages effects since all the other cannabinoids work together with CBD to enhance its benefits.


    Levya-Gutierrez et al. (2020) noted that it is the purest form since it only has the CBD compound. It is a good option for individuals who want the effects of CBD alone.


    CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, and studies showed that it could help alleviate anxiety and headaches in the long run. The most preferred form of taking CBD oil is through edibles and capsules since its effects last longer, and you may not be worried about experiencing another migraine attack for some time. CBD works by boosting certain receptors and cannabinoids in your body which are linked to inflammation and pain. You should try using CBD oil if you suffer from an autoimmune disease like multiple sclerosis, which may cause migraines. However, you should purchase your oil from a reliable brand and always talk to your doctor first.


    Baron, E. P. (2018). Medicinal Properties Of Cannabinoids, Terpenes, And Flavonoids In Cannabis, And Benefits In Migraine, Headache, And Pain: An Update On Current Evidence And Cannabis Science. Headache: The Journal Of Head And Face Pain, 58(7), 1139-1186.

    Cuttler, C., Spradlin, A., Cleveland, M. J., & Craft, R. M. (2020). Short-and Long-Term Effects Of Cannabis On Headache And Migraine. The Journal Of Pain, 21(5-6), 722-730.

    Hegazy, O., & Platnick, H. (2019). Cannabidiol (CBD) For Treatment Of Neurofibromatosis-Related Pain And Concomitant Mood Disorder: A Case Report. Cureus, 11(12).

    Leyva-Gutierrez, F. M., Munafo Jr, J. P., & Wang, T. (2020). Characterization Of By-Products From Commercial Cannabidiol Production. Journal Of Agricultural And Food Chemistry, 68(29), 7648-7659.

    Lochte, B. C., Beletsky, A., Samuel, N. K., & Grant, I. (2017). The Use Of Cannabis For Headache Disorders. Cannabis And Cannabinoid Research, 2(1), 61-71.

    Marinotti, O., & Sarill, M. (2020). Differentiating Full-Spectrum Hemp Extracts From CBD Isolates: Implications For Policy, Safety, And Science. Journal Of Dietary Supplements, 17(5), 517-526

    Mead, A. (2017). The Legal Status Of Cannabis (Marijuana) And Cannabidiol (CBD) Under US Law. Epilepsy & Behavior, 70, 288-291.

    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.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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