Can this trendy ingredient work to relieve headache pain? Let’s find out.
Migraine sufferers are willing to try anything to stop the headache pain, which is often chronic and can be so excruciating, some patients wind up at the ER. Western medicine offers pharmacological treatments like triptans, beta blockers, and ergot alkaloids, to take for either prevention or “acute” use. There are also other options, including electrical implants that provide neurostimulation, hypnotherapy, and the Keto diet. As CBD gains in popularity, headache sufferers are wondering: Could this help my migraines? For this week’s Healthy Habit, let’s take a look.
What is CBD?
While marijuana is frequently used to treat migraines in states where it is legal for medicinal use, CBD is not pot. Project CBD reports, “Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis.” It can be extracted from either industrial hemp, or, from medical marijuana plants. CBD from hemp, which is what you see the vast majority of CBD products being crafted from, has little to no THC, the chemical which makes someone feel “stoned.” (Hemp-derived products can legally contain up to .3 percent THC, but most manufacturers pride themselves on saying 0 percent.) So far, research indicates that CBD is safe and well tolerated by most people (Source: 2017’s report “An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol”).
The strongest scientific evidence for use of CBD is to treat epilepsy, and the FDA last year approved a new prescription drug, Epidiolex, which contains a highly purified form of CBD. Why does this matter? As migraine sufferers are aware, some antiseizure medicines are actually used for migraines. Topamax is the most common example of this.
Current Research on Migraines and CBD
There is a flurry of research happening on CBD overall, and then how it relates to various ailments. One 2018 study notes, “cannabinoids – due to their anticonvulsive, analgesic, antiemetic, and anti-inflammatory effects – present a promising class of compounds for both acute and prophylactic treatment of migraine pain.” (Source: “Emerging Role of (Endo)Cannabinoids in Migraine”)
Guinea Pig, Moi
I’ve recently tried CBD when I felt a migraine coming on, using the Lord Jones High CBD Formula Body Lotion (each pump is about 2mg of CBD), which is a topical cream with a minty smell, and the under-the-tongue High CBD Tincture (10mg CBD per dropper). And, I was frankly stunned that it relieved my headache. Will it work for you? I don’t know. All I can say is it worked for me. The Migraine Treatment Centers of America notes, “While there is a lot of good to say about the use of CBD oil as a migraine treatment, there simply is not enough evidence to say conclusively that it will be 100 percent effective, 100 percent of the time, for 100 percent of the population.” As for me, I would totally try it again on my next migraine.
I spoke with Elissa Klaver, president of WholeMade Bath Co., who says that headaches are a symptom they hear a lot about from their customers. She notes that in addition to tinctures, migraine suffers could try relaxing in a tub with a CBD-based bath bomb, or a try a roll-on formula of CBD. “The roll-on is great for applying it directly where you want it without having to rub it in…We make it in a 100mg version for everyday use, and 500mg version for higher pain relief.” Citrus, mint and lavender scents may be the most soothing to migraine sufferers.
Things to Consider
This is a really new area of health supplements. Dosing is not standardized with CBD, so you may need to experiment to see what dose works best for you. Start low and see how you feel. Two, look for full-spectrum (also called “full plant”) CBD extracts, rather than CBD isolates. Lastly, ask about the 3rd party lab reports of any product to make sure you’re getting what you think you’re getting.
The statements on this web site have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. If you have a health concern or condition, consult a physician. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing any new exercises.