CBD for Migraines
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What Are Migraines?

A migraine is a severe type of a headache which is felt as an intense pain on one or both sides of the head. People who experience a migraine can also have other symptoms. Some people experience nausea, vomiting, or they cannot stand light and sound. It is more common than one may think considering that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 15 men experience migraines.

Some types of migraines are with an aura, without aura, and some with aura but without a headache. Those who have the first one experience different signs that warn them before the migraine attack, for example, they see lights. The second one is the most common migraine and there are no warning signs before a migraine attack. Those who experience the third one, have an aura or experience different symptoms of a migraine but do not have a headache. The number of times a person experiences a migraine attack differ, as some can have it multiple times per week, some only once in a while, and for others, it can happen every some year.

Why Does CBD Work For Treating Migraines?

Common treatments for migraines are pharmaceutical painkillers, anti-emetics (to stop nausea), or triptans (triggering the brain to reverse migraines). According to some studies one of the most promising treatments, however, is proving to be CBD. CBD is made from the cannabis plant which is known to function as a very strong natural painkiller.

Migraines typically start in a part of the brain known as the hypothalamus. A migraine can be triggered as a response to extreme stress. Despite the cause, the majority of people suffering from migraines have the neurotransmitter serotonin in levels that are rather unbalanced.

Having Serotonin in low levels might cause the dilation of blood vessels which increases the cases of migraine attacks. Cannabis is proven to increase the levels of serotonin by preventing dilation of the blood vessels. Increased levels of serotonin will decrease the onset of migraine attacks.

Moreover, in another study, it is put forward that CBD serves as a painkiller for chronical pains, in general. Whereas, in a study conducted in 2016 it was concluded that it actually does decrease the frequency of migraine attacks that are experienced.

An explanation of how CBD actually works and fights the pain caused by migraines has been given by Dr. Ethan Russo in his theory of  Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency. This theory suggests that particular diseases are the cause of particular deficiencies in the endocannabinoid system. This is a biological system which functions as a responder to the biological cannabinoids called endocannabinoids and of the taken ones such as those that come from marijuana. The deficiency of these biological endocannabinoids in one’s body may cause chronical pains, including here migraines. According to the neurologist Russo, CBD regulates and triggers the receptors of the endocannabinoids system and eases the pain.

What Are The Benefits Of Using CBD To Treat Migraines?

Cannabis has been used as a pain reliever for thousands of years as it is claimed by the National Cannabis Institute.

One of the quickest methods to feel the effects of CBD is by vaping it. This is highly suggested, especially if you have a very harsh migraine, because inhaling CBD allows it to reach the bloodstream, and thus have an effect a lot faster. Nevertheless, if you are using CBD for the first time, try to take it orally by adding drops underneath your tongue.

Many people believe that CBD will make you high. However,  CBD has very little THC or nothing at all. THC is the element in marijuana that makes you high. CBD does not get you high because it does not have this element and it also counteracts to it.

This was also proved in a study where 127 people who suffered from types of chronicles headaches such as migraines or cluster disease participated. The participants were given a combination of THC-CBD, as explained CBD acts as a counter-effect to THC and it also helps in reducing pain, every day for a month. They experienced a decrease in their pains by 55%. This study also proved that CBD was better than prescribed medicine in easing the pain from migraines.

What Are The Side Effects Of Using CBD To Treat Migraines?

While CBD is generally considered safe, some people will experience some side effects. The side effects include nausea, diarrhea, drowsiness, change of appetite, and a dry mouth. The symptoms are rare, though, and not as severe as the ones caused by the conventional drugs used to treat migraines.

Vaping, similarly to every other thing that is vaped, might be a cause of lung irritation and make you have a cough. Therefore, vaping is not recommended if you do not only suffer from another lung disease. If you have never had problems with your lungs it most probably will be very safe. However, discuss with your doctor before deciding to vape and to use particular amounts of the CBD oil.

CBD Dosage For Migraines

Every person is different and everyone’s reaction to CBD is different. The recommended dosage from each product can differ greatly, creating some confusion. Dosage may be different depending on the percentage of CBD oil you are using. On an average, 25mg of CBD a day is effective for most people. The dosage of CBD can be increased slowly until the symptoms improve. This, of course, is different for every patient and should be monitored. Every person is different and everyone’s reaction to CBD is different. For more details about dosage, see our post on CBD dosage.

How Can I Use CBD To Treat Migraines?

If you choose to take CBD oil orally, simply put some drops underneath your tongue and hold it until it gets fully absorbed in your mouth. Don’t swallow it right away, rather wait for it to be absorbed. This makes the digestion and absorption much easier. You can also take it as capsules or mix it with a drink.

Other methods of taking CBD oil is by vaping it. It can be taken using vaporizers or different inhalers. This method is one of the fastest and has instant effect. It is recommended more if you have severe migraines so their pain will be relieved right away. However, do not vape if you have asthma or any other lung disease or if you are a beginner as it can be too much for your body at first due to its instant function.

CBD oil can also be directly applied to the skin since it comes as a lotion or balms, or creams. You can always try different ones and figure out which one works better and is easier to be used by you. It highly depends on your lifestyle and body.

Success Stories Of People Using CBD To Treat Migraines

Nolan* is a man from Colorado who decided to use CBD oil after he had an accident at work due to a migraine attack. He claimed that the prescription drugs did not have any effect on him, whereas the CBD oil had an instant effect.

Another one is Kendra*, who is 29 and uses CBD for an injury that injured her nerves. She claims that CBD helps her ease and not feel the pain.

Dr. Michelle Ross, a neuroscientist, has also benefited from using CBD. She founded the nonprofit Impact Network which works on research on cannabis and mainly women’s health.

What Is Research Saying About Using CBD For Migraines?

Neuroscientists, such as Ross and Russo, have worked and are working on showing the benefits of using CBD oil for migraines. Russo has explained its effects based on the Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency whereas Ross has used it herself to treat her migraine and is using her nonprofit to help in more researches and its legalization.

Moreover, the European Academy of Neurology, in summer 2017, published a study which concluded that CDB oil had more effect than prescription drugs in decreasing the chronic migraines pain. In this study, there were 121 participants. After 1 month, a vast majority of 85% claimed that they had fewer migraines while they were on the study and were using CDB oil. Another study conducted by the researchers of Colorado found out that marijuana helps in easing the pain of migraines.

To sum up, there are multiple studies and proof by doctors and researchers that CBD is one of the best pain relievers, especially when it comes to chronic pain such as migraines. It increases the serotonin in the body of the taker and also triggers the receptors of the endocannabinoids system by thus easing the pain. It comes from the cannabis plant but it does not get you high since it does not have the component of marijuana which causes that, the THC.

* Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

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