A common headache is already a painful, uncomfortable experience, but a migraine packs enough force to be downright debilitating. Migraines are the 6th most disabling illness in the world, and the 3rd most prevalent with 1 in 4 U.S. households having someone who deals with migraines present, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. The migraine is a much more intense form of a headache that tends to be recurring and chronic, many times affecting people as frequently as once or even multiple times a day. It is caused by the activation of a mechanism deep within the brain that releases inflammatory substances around the nerves and blood vessels of the head, resulting in intense pain. Migraines can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours and can be made worse by movement, light and/or noise. This brings the productivity of daily life to a screeching halt since most activities involve one or all of these.
For thousands of years, people, mainly in the eastern cultures, have been familiar with cannabis and very comfortable using it for a number of ailments, including chronic pains like migraines. Legalization is slowly catching up, with a milestone bill passing in 2018; The 2018 United States Farm Bill, made hemp legal in all 50 states. Candidates for the 2020 election are now talking about further legalizations when it comes to cannabis – points that they recognize are becoming pivotal to their campaigns and their favor with voters. Regardless, there has been widespread interest and studies conducted that, while still in the developmental stages, promise to become more extensive and mainstream in the very near future.
CBD or (cannabidiol) is one of the many cannabinoids present in the cannabis sativa plant. CBD is extracted and separated from others, such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) for use for a wide array of applications, including pain relief. CBD has the benefit of providing these uses while not being psychoactive, unlike THC, which does get you high. There has been a massive momentum of interest in CBD for this reason which is why its popularity and availability are rapidly spreading.
Among the list of acute and chronic pains, diseases and ailments that CBD oil treats are migraines. CBD works by interacting with cells present in the brain and nervous system called cannabinoid receptors CB1 & CB2 – or the endocannabinoid system. While the relationship between exactly how these cells behave isn’t 100% understood, it is thought that CBD might prevent the body from metabolizing anandamide – a compound that is associated with pain regulation. High levels of anandamide in the bloodstream are thought to help reduce pain. In addition, CBD’s anti-inflammatory nature is thought to deal with the cause of the migraine pain, resulting in relief to its users suffering from chronic migraines. This is a welcome alternative since many pain medications prescribed by conventional doctors have a laundry list of risks and side effects, many times including intense levels of addiction and dependency. CBD offers hope here since it has little to no side effects or results of dependency.
Research over the years has pointed to CBD oil being a possible option for migraine pain relief. In a study in 2009, evidence was found that suggested cannabis compound may treat chronic pain in people who were taking opioids to treat the pain and who were looking for alternatives to reduce the use of those highly addictive drugs. A survey in 2015 by a company in Sonoma County revealed that 100% of patients who took the survey with headaches and migraines experience a decrease of pain or discomfort with the use of cannabis derivatives. In 2016, another study indicated that cannabis derivatives reduced the frequency of migraine headaches in participants. Yet another in the same year, unrelated the previous one mentioned, showed how the frequency of migraine headaches dropped from 10.4 headaches a month to 4.6 within a group of 121 medical marijuana users. While still limited due to heavy regulation, there have been a great many other studies like these that pointed to the same implications – that CBD oil helps provide relief from all forms of acute and chronic pain, including migraines.
Since legislation in the U.S. is still dealing with cannabis-related products, there is no formal or official set of guidelines for the appropriate dosage for migraine. However, there are users and studies that point to recommendations in the ballpark of 2.5 to 20 milligrams. It is recommended to start with a very low dosage when first starting out, to allow your body to become acclimated to its effects. This will allow you to observe its effects, reduce the chances for any side effects and assess how you feel. You can slowly ramp up the dosage until you find an appropriate amount for your body. It is highly advised to consult with your physician before beginning to introduce CBD to your pain management regimen, especially if you are already taking other medications, as CBD might interact with them in ways that they will no longer be effective or it might complicate things. Some popular ways of taking CBD oil are via vaping, capsules, CBD infused edibles, creams, lotions, or sublingually.
One of the main reasons CBD is so popular is its lack of side effects. The whole reason to choose it over full spectrum or just using the cannabis plant is its separation from THC, the cannabinoid that gets you high. It is also chosen over conventional medicines for this same reason. While over the counter drugs often have a long list of associated risks including addiction and dependency, CBD does not. There is still, a small chance of an upset stomach or drowsiness. The risks for side effects with CBD also lie in how it is used. For example, vaping could result in lung irritation, cough, wheezing and/or breathing difficulties. For those with asthma or lung diseases, vaping might not be advisable. Again, it is paramount that you consult with your physician before using.