Can CBD Help with Migraines?
Can CBD Help with Migraines?
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Millions of Americans suffer from the pain of migraine headaches. This painful condition has extreme impacts on many peoples’ lives, and is a leading cause of chronic pain. If you live with migraines, you may be wondering how best to treat them, since migraines often do not respond well to OTC painkillers and even many prescription drugs.
Today, we are going to talk about what migraines really are and how you can approach them with medical hemp. We will discuss the impacts of different cannabinoids on migraines and what are some steps you could take as a migraine sufferer. If you or someone you know suffers from migraine, we want to let you know what your options are!
What Are Migraines?
Many people have heard migraines described as “migraine headaches,” and so they often assume that a migraine is just a particularly bad type of headache. However, this could not be further from the truth. The reality is that migraines are a neurological disorder where headaches are one of the symptoms.
An estimated 39 million Americans live with migraines. This is a conservative estimate; the actual number may be higher because not everybody is diagnosed or seeks treatment. While everybody gets headaches from time to time, not everybody gets migraines.
The exact cause of migraines is unknown, but it is hypothesized that they may be the result of abnormal brain activity temporarily affecting nerve cells, chemical signals, and blood vessels in the brain.
It can be a challenge to distinguish a migraine from a bad headache. Here are some of the signs and symptoms that a headache is really a migraine:
- Severe, intense head pain
- Pain on the side of the head, in or around the eyes, or behind the cheeks
- Head pain causes a throbbing, pounding, or pulsating sensation
- Head pain gets worse with physical activity or movement
- Nausea and/or vomiting alongside your head pain
- Sensitivity to light, noise, and/or smell
- Head pain is severe enough to make you miss school, work, or other activities
- Headache lasts anywhere from four hours to several days
Additionally, some people experience an aura with their migraines. This is a visual effect that may look like floating spots, blind spots, shapes, or flashes of light. Not everybody experiences migraines with aura– in fact, even though this is one of the best-known symptoms, only about 20% of people with migraines experience it.
Types of Migraines
There are two types of migraines, episodic and chronic. The type of migraine you have is determined by how many headache days you have per month.
Episodic migraines occur fewer than 14 days per month
Chronic migraines occur when you have 15 or more headache days per month, and at least eight of those headaches have migraine features.
Migraines are much more than “just headaches.” They are a chronic, sometimes disabling condition that causes millions of people significant pain. If you experience migraines, you do have treatment options.
One of these treatment options is cannabis and hemp. Cannabis/hemp has been shown to have a strong effect on migraines. Studies have shown that it can lower both their painful intensity and their frequency.
Cannabis for Migraines
While there are many different migraine treatment options out there, cannabinoids might be specially positioned as an effective solution to migraine problems. This is because migraines may have a special link to the endocannabinoid system. Research has uncovered clinical evidence that patients with chronic migraine have lower circulating plasma levels of natural endocannabinoids.
There is a distinct link between migraine activity and lower levels of one endocannabinoid, 2AG, in the periaqueductal region of the brain. This area is responsible for amplifying or dampening perceptions of pain. This may mean that if the body’s natural endocannabinoids could be supplemented by hemp-based cannabinoids, this area’s reaction to migraine pain could be changed.
Another area of research on the relationship between cannabis and migraines is looking at specific cannabinoids. The hemp plant produces a number of compounds called cannabinoids. These compounds interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to have numerous beneficial effects.
While many people assume that these effects all come with a psychoactive component, this is not true– although THC and many of its derivatives do produce a high, CBD and most of the other minor cannabinoids do not. All of the current research about medical hemp and migraines is focused on THC, CBD, or a combination of the two.
Overall, medical cannabis for migraines looks like a positive solution to many peoples’ migraine issues. A review of studies found that overall, using hemp products reduced the number of migraines people experienced after thirty days.
Symptoms like nausea and vomiting were significantly reduced over a six-month study period, and medical cannabis was 51% more effective at reducing migraines than non-cannabis-based products.
Medical cannabis compared positively to synthetic pharmaceuticals, specifically amitriptyline, and actually stopped migraines in 11.6% of users, and 40% of users reported a reduction in migraine frequency.
Reduction in migraine frequency is a highly desired effect of medical cannabis. In addition to the studies compiled in the review mentioned above, a more recent study found that medical cannabis use led to fewer migraines in 61% of treated patients.
Additionally, these patients reported less disability from their migraine pain and lower antimigraine medication intake, including lower opioid intake.
Because hemp research has been so tightly regulated and in many places outlawed for years, there is still much we don’t know about cannabinoids and the way they affect us. Most of what we do know is about two compounds, THC and CBD.
THC and Migraines
Many of the signaling pathways that work with THC in the human endocannabinoid system seem to have a link to migraines. THC is known to be anti-emetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant, and analgesic, all of which can cause migraine relief.
According to a 2018 review of the relationship between cannabinoids and migraine treatment, relatively low doses of THC had positive effects on migraines. However, higher doses of THC were said to trigger headaches.
Cannabinoids like THC interact with different receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system. One of these receptors that THC binds to is CB1R. Many areas involved in migraines are controlled by activity that engages with this receptor. THC can actually repair these pathways to help stop migraines.
CBD and Migraines
CBD has been shown to be effective for migraines, although there is less research done on CBD alone than medical cannabis as a whole.
One thirty-day trial found that 86% of participants reported decreased head pain impact. Patients with chronic migraines experienced a 33% drop in headache days.
Overall, all of the trial’s participants together experienced a 23% reduction in monthly headache days– an average of almost 4 fewer headache days per month.
While THC binds with CB1R, the physical impact of CBD on migraine-related chemical signals is more complex. Instead of interacting with CB1R, CBD interacts with a receptor called GPR55.
This interaction causes a rise in inhibitory neurotransmitter activity, which means that CBD can help calm the brain down and stop migraine activity. It is the same mechanism that allows CBD to have anti-seizure properties.
Dosing CBD for Migraines
Many people take CBD oil for headaches, but migraines are more than just a headache. If you want to take CBD oil for migraines, your best option is a full spectrum, higher potency CBD tincture. There are several reasons for this.
First, CBD alone has less of an effect on migraines than CBD with other cannabinoids. This is likely related to the entourage effect. The entourage effect means that additional compounds (cannabinoids) remain in the extract.
These compounds have a minor presence, but they mix together to provide collaborative benefits to you. This means that full spectrum CBD is more effective and has more benefits than CBD isolate.
One European study found that when migraine patients were given CBD and a CBD-THC combination, the combination was far more effective. It reduced the intensity of pain by 43.5%, and reduced migraine attacks by 40.4%.
Secondly, CBD at low doses is ineffective for migraines. Doses under 100 mg have been shown to have no effect on migraines. However, in the same trial that demonstrated that a low dose is ineffective, higher doses were found to be much more effective. A dose of 200 mg relieved participants’ overall acute pain by 55%.
If you want to try CBD for your migraines, our Daily100 CBD contains a dose of 100 mg of CBD. Our Daily 200 contains 200 mg of CBD per dose, which was the dose found to be effective for pain relief.
At Myriam’s Hemp, we want everybody to have access to the information they need to make health decisions. We know that you have many options for relief, and we believe that you deserve to explore them fully. Contact us today if you have any questions about our premium cannabinoid products.
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