CBD has been reputed to be able to do many things, from helping people deal with anxiety to making it easier to work out when taken as a pre-workout supplement. Among those many claimed benefits of CBD, pain relief stands out as one of the more notable ones. Today, we’re going to see whether or not CBD for headaches is an effective treatment. We’ll discuss CBD cluster headaches, migraines, and regular headaches.
Taking CBD For Headaches
Headaches are some of the most nefarious aches and pains you’ll come across because of how they attack one of the most sensitive parts of our bodies: the head. CBD oil uses are manifold, and we’ll explore whether CBD can help relieve headache pain and then take a look at each type of headache and how CBD interacts with it.
How Does CBD Relieve Pain From Headaches?
CBD is known for helping reduce pain in many different situations, ranging from joint pain in arthritis patients to muscular pain in athletes. This is largely due to CBD’s ability to reduce inflammation, which has been proven in multiple studies. The reduction in inflammation is also one of the main reasons why CBD oil helps cut down on headache-related pain.
This study goes into the details of how CBD oil can help alleviate pain. It’s largely due to the negative allosteric modulation of the CB1 receptor, which helps cut down on the levels of inflammation that the body creates. By suppressing the production of cytokines (messengers that activate inflammation in the body), CBD can reduce the occurrence of inflammation.
However, the CB1 receptor isn’t the most important part of the equation. The CB2 receptor is a lot more crucial when it comes to suppressing an inflammatory response. When the CB2 receptor is activated, it reduces the oxidative stress that the body experiences as well as a reduction in inflammation.
While this doesn’t mean that CBD oil uses directly leads to inflammation reduction, it does indirectly do so through the activation of the CB2 receptor. When this receptor is activated, it reduces the levels of cytokines that are produced, and it also stops T cells from proliferating and it activates T cell apoptosis.
The CB1 and CB2 receptors are directly linked to the immune system, but they are also linked to other tissues. Some of the other effects of activating the CB2 receptor include activation of potassium channels, and it also activates pathways that are responsible for protein synthesis.
Many types of headaches can be caused by inflammation, though the most common ones are migraines and sinus headaches. Other headaches can be caused by different sources, though it seems like CBD still has a pain suppressing effect on them despite inflammation not being their source.
Since every headache is different, we’re going to split this article into categories that go over each type of headache and the way that CBD can interact with them. Some types of headaches have relatively little evidence to suggest that CBD for headaches can help them, at least scientifically.
On the other hand, other types of headaches have a wealth of scientific evidence that suggests that they can be treated by CBD, such as the migraines that we mentioned above. However, anecdotal evidence does suggests that CBD can help with each type of headache because of the general pain relieving properties of the supplement.
CBD For Headaches
While CBD oil for migraines is backed up by scientific evidence, the verdict on whether it can help with regular headaches is still out. This is because there are so many different potential causes for regular headaches that it’s a rather general question whether or not CBD can help with them.
For example, for a headache that comes out of the blue, CBD may not necessarily tackle the source of the headache, which is an important factor to consider. However, even though CBD may not directly affect the source of the headache, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t help with the headache itself.
In the case of a regular headache that is not caused by inflammation, there is no mechanism that means that CBD will stop it, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t indirectly help. For example, headaches can cause discomfort and anxiety, and CBD has been proven to help with those issues.
CBD has been shown in many studies to help with factors like anxiety and stress, which are often results of a headache. While these may not be the main source of pain from a headache, it’s possible that they can make it worse because your recovery from the headache will be hampered by these issues.
Along with indirectly helping with headaches, CBD oil for migraines can also help with some of the psychosomatic issues that would result from a headache. If you’ve ever had a headache so bad that it’s resulted in pain in other parts of your body, then you likely understand how CBD would help you in those situations.
Along with helping with headaches themselves, anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD can stop the onset of headaches. Many chronic headache sufferers state that they use CBD daily to ensure that they don’t have to deal with the headaches that usually plague them, and they state that this works for them.
However, there are also potential downsides to using CBD to treat headaches, especially if you are vulnerable to its side effects. Since CBD oil benefits affect everyone differently, it’s possible that it may end up causing your headaches to worsen or it can also worsen the effects of the headache’s side effects.
For example, if you get dizzy when you get headaches, you may end up suffering because CBD can sometimes result in dizziness and drowsiness in people who use it as a supplement. If you’re planning on treating your headaches with CBD, you may want to take it for a week at a lower dose to determine if you’ll suffer from the side effects.
CBD For Migraines
We’ve already discussed how CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, and this is why it’s such an effective treatment of migraines. Migraines occur when the tissue around the brain gets inflamed, which makes it feel like your brain is being crushed within your skull, a common feeling in migraine sufferers.
Since CBD oil benefits consist of so many anti-inflammatory effects, it cuts down on the very source of your pain, which makes migraines the ideal headache to treat CBD with. A clinical survey of migraine sufferers showed that 86% of them had less pain after using CBD with only 14% responding otherwise.
This took course over the course of 30 days of trials with CBD, using a product that was marked by Axon Relief, which is a company that specifically markets CBD with the goal of treating migraines. The test was known as the Headache Impact Test, which was abbreviated as Hit-6.
The goal of the test was not traditional in terms of clinical trials, because it wasn’t meant to take place in clinical and sterile conditions, but rather to determine how CBD for migraine headaches impacts people who suffer from this condition throughout their daily life. It determines the impact on people’s ability to function normally and enjoy their lives.
One of the most interesting things about this study is that it showed that CBD for migraine headaches was able to impact people better than many prescription medications. However, the scientists who were conducting the study also noted that additional research needed to be conducted to determine whether or not the results were concrete.
Further details provided by the study showed that the participants had an average of 3.8 days more where they didn’t suffer from migraines compared to control subjects. This resulted in a 23% reduction in the prevalence of migraines that the participants had to deal with.
One interesting fact is that the study’s participants who were chronic migraine sufferers saw an even more significant reduction in the number of migraines that they had to deal with compared to people who suffered from migraines from time to time.
Chronic migraine sufferers were defined as people who experienced between 15 and 29 migraines over the course of a 30-day period. Chronic sufferers saw a reduction of about 33% in their migraines compared to the 23% that suffered from occasional migraines, demonstrating an even higher level of effectiveness.
With over 1 billion people suffering from migraines worldwide, the results are promising and it begs the question of why CBD is not used more frequently to treat migraines.
Carbamazepine and gabapentin users who previously used the two medications showed that they had a much better result when they were using CBD compared to the two medications. This shows that CBD is able to help people reduce their reliance on prescription medications so that they can rely on a supplement that is easier to get over the counter or through the internet.
CBD For Tension Headaches
Tension headache relief is something that has long been sought after by people who suffer from this form of headache, but research is so far inconclusive when it comes to CBD for stress headaches. While the scientific literature may not necessarily state that this kind of headache can be cured with the right level of CBD dosage, anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise.
Much like with regular headaches, using CBD for stress headaches will allow a user to deal with many of the nefarious effects that come with this type of headache. The side effects that CBD can help with include nausea, dizziness, and pains in other parts of the body that are caused by the headaches.
Sympathetic pain is one of the worst symptoms of a tension headache, and it makes them nearly unbearable. If other parts of your body are screaming out in pain while you’re dealing with a headache, you’re both less likely to recover from it and you’ll likely suffer more from it.
The mechanism behind sympathetic pain is so far not very understood by science, though anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD can help with it. This likely has to do with CBD’s ability to reduce cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is the stress hormone and it accumulates in the body when the body is undergoing physical stress.
Tension headache relief is largely a matter of cutting down on the physical stress that your body is experiencing. This is due to the fact that these headaches are a physical manifestation of your stress, which is directly linked to the cortisol in an individual’s body.
Proper CBD dosage will reduce the amount of cortisol that’s present in your tissues, and large concentrations of cortisol in someone’s tissues will actually cause damage to their body. This is because cortisol makes it harder for the body to regenerate its tissue because it slows tissue repair.
This is a natural mechanism that prevents the body from going overboard when it repairs its tissues after a physical encounter with a predator. While this may not necessarily be a common issue in our modern world, our bodies are still tuned to be hunter-gatherers, and we function like them.
Another one of the main benefits of CBD is that it can provide cluster headache relief.
CBD cluster headaches treatment is also linked to the supplement’s ability to reduce sympathetic pain, since cluster headaches are a form of sympathetic pain. When one part of the brain is in pain, other parts will join it and cause additional, and sometimes unbearable pain.
Cluster headache relief has been long sought-after, and CBD is one of the few supplements that is able to help with it.
Can CBD Cause Headaches?
A common question that headache sufferers have when it comes to CBD oil usage is, “Can CBD cause headaches?” Studies have not shown that CBD is capable of causing headaches in people who use CBD, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that other side effects can’t be confused with it.
One of the most common side effects of CBD is a feeling of lightheadedness, especially in people who have rarely used CBD or other products derived from cannabis. This is likely because these people’s endocannabinoid systems (ECS) are not used to being supplemented.
While lightheadedness likely isn’t a headache, it can be confused for one, and it explains why many CBD users feel like they may sometimes have headaches when they use it. Other than that, only anecdotal evidence may suggest that people get headaches when they use CBD.
This doesn’t mean that their input is entirely invalid, since CBD impacts people in different ways. Substances like CBD are so tied into the ECS that CBD can impact people in hugely different ways. This means that it’s entirely possible that someone suffers worse headaches when they use CBD than another person who may feel immediate relief upon using CBD.
As with every other case, we highly recommend doing CBD for a week so that you can determine how it affects your system before you take larger doses of it. Starting off with too large of a dose can potentially lead to more intense side effects that can make it more difficult to get the treatment that you’re looking for when you use the supplement.
Recommended CBD Products & Doses For Headaches
Both CBD topicals and CBD oils are effective ways to treat headaches, but they can help with different issues related to said headaches. For example, a CBD topical may not be directly able to help with a headache because it won’t be able to get through the skull to get to your brain to treat the headache.
However, CBD topicals and ointments are a great choice for people who are suffering from sympathetic pain because of their headaches. If you’re feeling pain in your muscles and joints because of the headache that you’re dealing with, you can apply a CBD topical to that area to reduce the pain.
The dosage for a CBD topical is a bit less specific than the dosage that you would have to determine for something like CBD oil. In most cases, the lower bioavailability of CBD topical ointments means that it’s harder to get a large amount of CBD in your system, so you don’t have to worry about overdoing it.
If you’re applying a topical or an ointment to your sympathetic pains, you’ll just have to use enough to cover the area that is causing you pain.
On the other hand, the dosage of CBD oil that you should use for a CBD oil is a bit more specific. If it’s your first time using CBD oil, you’ll want to start with about 10 mg or ml per day and then increase the dosage by about 5 mg or ml per day each week to figure out what works best for you.
However, if you already use CBD oil for other conditions, then you can start at your baseline dosage for the other condition to see if it helps you with your headaches.