CBD and migraines

CBD and migraines

Did you know that over 10% of Britons suffer from migraines? Many people suffering from migraines find their headaches debilitating and utterly incapacitating. During a migraine, they may lose any ability to work and function properly and have to lie down waiting for the migraine to wear off.

Migraines impede people from leading normal and happy lives. While they are not life-threatening, they can seriously impact people’s quality of life and stop sufferers from going to work or picking up their children from school.

Migraines have attracted little medical attention because it’s very difficult to pinpoint how they begin and how they unravel. Normal over-the-counter medicines aim at just relieving the symptoms while some beneficial anti-inflammatories come with severe possible side effects. Given all this, migraine sufferers often look into alternative ways to alleviate their pain.

As CBD has become more widely available and more research is carried out on its potential, more and more people are trying it to help mitigate their migraines. So, can CBD actually help, or is this more myth than reality? If we were to sum up the findings up to date, we would say that there is anecdotal evidence that CBD may help with migraines and some clinical trials look promising. Read on to find out more!

What are migraines?

If you already suffer from migraines, you already know how they make you feel. The intense headaches are often accompanied by other uncomfortable feelings such as nausea and a general sense of unease. Also, headaches tend to focus on one side of the head, which makes migraines even less pleasant.

Some people experience other symptoms like mood swings and acute sensitivity to light, specific sounds, and even particular smells. During a migraine attack, most people want to sit in a dark, quiet bedroom until it passes.

Migraines thus stop people from living their lives. Sometimes people have to take a day off from work until their migraine subsides. Other times, they have to cancel plans because socializing or even running errands is simply out of the question.

What causes migraines?

We don’t really know what causes migraines. They are primary headaches: they happen on their own and aren’t caused by a specific disease or condition. For instance, sinusitis causes secondary headaches because the sinuses are blocked. In the case of migraines, there is no underlying cause that leads the head nerves to inflame and hurt.

Even so, there is some speculation as to what may cause migraines. People who have family members who suffer from migraines are more prone to experiencing them: there is therefore a genetic cause. Also, females are more susceptible to migraines than males—perhaps due to hormones and how they ebb and flow during a menstrual cycle.

What triggers migraines?

People who know they suffer from migraines can often spot what will trigger their migraine. Stress is a usual culprit. A stressful time can lead to migraine, as does anxiety. Poor sleep patterns, smoking, and even some foods can spark a migraine episode as well, as can flashing lights, annoying sounds, and potent smells, aromas, and perfumes.

What are the current medicines for migraines?

Current medicines for migraines aim at symptomatic relief. Most migraine sufferers are given pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, anti-depressants, beta-blockers, calcitonin gene-related monoclonal antibodies, steroids, anti-seizure medicines, vitamin B12, and calcium channel blockers.

Some people are given anti-emetics to lessen the feeling of nausea. Others are given abortive treatments to stop the migraine, while some are prescribed medicines as a preventative measure to minimize the frequency and intensity of migraines. 

Your GP will decide which medicine strategy will work best for your migraine episodes.

How about CBD for migraines?

 The problem with existing medicines is that they tend to have side effects. For instance, taking anti-inflammatories for too long can cause stomach ulcers and internal bleeding. Some people develop tolerance to their migraine medicines so they have to amp up the dosage frequently. Steroids have significant side effects, including mood swings and weight gain.

There is an increasing number of people looking for alternative yet effective ways to treat their migraines. Just like fibromyalgia sufferers are switching to CBD to help with pain relief, there is increasing interest in CBD’s potential to alleviate the headaches and symptoms of migraines without the unpleasant side effects of conventional medicines.

CBD is anti-inflammatory

CBD has been found to produce anti-inflammatory effects. Migraines produce inflammation of the brain nerves, which swell and cause headaches. During a migraine episode, the body releases cytokine proteins that are responsible for inflammation production. When they reach the brain, they produce nerve inflammation, which is painful—hence the throbbing headaches.

It would be great to understand why the body activates the cytokine proteins in the first place, but short of that, it’s good to find a way to alleviate their effect on the brain nerve cells. Preliminary findings on CBD and cytokines are showing that “CBD may reduce cytokine storm and mitigate the effects of exaggerated inflammation”.

There is, therefore, evidence that CBD may help with nerve inflammation and reduce the sense of pain experienced in the brain.

Indirect effects of CBD on migraines

While CBD may act directly to reduce the feeling of pain, it may also have an indirect beneficial effect on migraines.

CBD for better mental mood management

CBD may help people lead happier and healthier lives so that they don’t reach the point where a migraine is triggered. Specifically, CBD may offer anti-anxiety properties. It takes a lot of effort to relieve your mind of stress and anxiety and most people experience stressful moments during their day.

When your lifestyle is too hectic or when your idiosyncrasy is anxiety-prone, it can be helpful to introduce CBD to your daily schedule. Taking CBD on a regular basis may help alleviate anxiety and stress and hence minimize migraine episode frequency. By keeping to a stress-less way of living, you are giving fewer opportunities for migraines to occur.

CBD for better sleep patterns

Sleep can often elude us. Did you know that a whopping 20% of Britons don’t get an adequate number of sleep hours? For most people, stress, anxiety, and worries prevent them from sleeping properly. Poor sleep is associated with mental stress, low energy levels during the day, premature aging, and poor physical health. It is also a main trigger for migraine episodes.

There is no direct evidence for CBD and better sleep. Rather, it would seem that CBD may help people lower their anxiety levels so that they can fall asleep better and enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Should I take CBD for my migraines?

CBD is widely available in the UK, both in physical and online shops. Many people are experimenting with CBD to help manage their everyday lives better.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD may help reduce the number of migraine episodes and their length, which is a significant improvement in migraine sufferers’ lives. If this is, indeed, the case, then CBD may work by lowering inflammation levels in the body and helping people alleviate their stress to more manageable levels.

Lab-tested CBD

You should always choose CBD that has been grown with the best farming practices and contains no heavy metals or harmful chemicals. Choose CBD manufacturers that are reputable and go the extra length to test their products with third-party lab tests. That’s how you know what you are taking and what your CBD product contains.

CBD dosage for your migraines

If you are wondering about your CBD dosage, start with a lower dosage of 10 to 15 mg of CBD per day and increase it slowly. It can take a while for CBD to start acting, so don’t expect an effect overnight.

CBD for migraines

While the potential benefits of CBD for migraines have sparked excitement among patients and researchers alike, the existing evidence suggests that CBD may hold promise as a botanical remedy for migraines, with its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties potentially providing relief. However, further research is needed to fully understand how CBD interacts with the complex mechanisms underlying migraines and to determine the optimal dosage, delivery methods, and long-term effects.

The ongoing exploration of CBD and migraines represents an exciting frontier in medical research. As scientists continue to investigate, it is our hope that they will uncover more insights into CBD’s potential benefits, its safety profile, and its suitability as a complementary or alternative treatment option.

If you want to better manage your migraines and their onset, you could start taking CBD before a migraine episode is triggered and take notes of how your body experiences a migraine episode when it comes. This will help you assess whether CBD is helpful and what CBD dosage works for you.

If you are planning on experimenting with CBD for your migraines, talk to your GP first. CBD can interact with medicines like anti-depressants, blood thinners, blood pressure medicines, some antibiotics, and some antihistamines. It may also increase intraocular pressure, which is why it is not advised for people with glaucoma.Also, check out first our guide for choosing your CBD and our reviews for the best CBD oil in the UK to make sure you buy top-quality CBD products at affordable prices!

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Nicholas C. Rossis, renowned by the IBBY Award and a roster of best-selling publications, is a leading voice in CBD research. His work combines critical acclaim with the analysis of the latest news, studies, research and legal developments in the world of CBD, providing readers with valuable data and insights.

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