CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of many molecules belonging to the cannabinoid class. These molecules are mainly produced within the trichomes of cannabis plants and have been found to possess a wide range of therapeutic effects. CBD has risen in popularity as a natural means of treating the symptoms of various health conditions, and has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticonvulsant, and neuroprotective effects. CBD is particularly popular as a cannabinoid due to its non-psychoactive nature, allowing many people easy and legal access.

The list of conditions that CBD can assist with is ever growing, and migraine headaches may very well be among the ranks. A study[1] published within the scientific journal Pharmacotherapy has already determined that inhaled and edible medical cannabis significantly decreases the frequency of migraine headaches.

However, this form of cannabis includes a variety of cannabinoids, including psychoactive THC, as well as different terpenes. Therefore, this example does not speak for what CBD oil can achieve for this condition in isolation. Regardless of the effects of whole cannabis on migraine headaches, many users prefer isolated CBD products due to the lack of psychoactivity. So, what exactly can CBD do for migraines?


Migraines are experienced as mild to severe headaches that are perceived as a throbbing sensation occurring usually on one side of the head. As well as causing irritating and sometimes unbearable pain, migraine headaches can also initiate other symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound.

Migraines are a common phenomenon that affects more than 38 million people within the United States alone. 6% of men experience these headaches, alongside 18% of women, with a massive 5 million US citizens experiencing at least one migraine headache each month.

There are numerous forms of migraines, each with distinct characteristics. 70–90% of people experience migraine without aura, a type that lasts between 4–72 hours and features pulsating pain on one side of the head. Migraine with aura is another common form that stems from neurological symptoms caused by the headache. Symptoms include blind spots in the field of vision, coloured spots, tunnel vision, and flashing lights in the eyes. Another form of migraine is chronic migraine, a type that can persist for more than 15 days in a month.

The exact cause of migraine headaches is still unknown, however they are believed to be the result of alterations of chemicals, nerves, and blood vessels within the brain.

Reasons Migranie


The research within this area is admittedly still very early and incomplete, partially due to the restrictions put on this molecule until fairly recently. Although there is no clear-cut answer within scientific literature as of yet, there are some indications that CBD may assist with migraine headaches.

Many of the effects of this molecule are thought to stem from its interaction with the endocannabinoid system. This system is comprised of receptor sites that occur on many different cell types within the body, and works to regulate many physiological systems. These receptor sites are known as the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Chemicals synthesised within the body, known as endocannabinoids, regulate this system. These chemicals are similar in structure to phytocannabinoids, cannabinoids form the cannabis plant, hence their similar effects within the body.

The endocannabinoid system has been proposed as a big player when it comes to migraine and its activation via CBD administration. A paper[2] published within the journal Experimental Neurology states that this system may be centrally and peripherally involved in pain signal processing. This may in part be due to endocannabinoids inhibiting the release of neurotransmitters that control pain signalling via interaction the CB1 receptor. The authors of the paper state that the endocannabinoid system could serve as a promising therapeutic tool for reducing the physiological and inflammatory elements of pain that are involved in migraines.


If this concept is indeed true, then a lack of endocannabinoids within the system may well be a contributor towards migraine, and other conditions as well. This condition, which is now known as clinical endocannabinoid deficiency, could be the cause of migraine headaches in some people.

Anandamide, or AEA, is one of several endocannabinoids synthesised within the human body. A paper[3] published within the journal Neuroendocrinology Letters states that this molecule has the ability to both increase and decrease the activity of certain serotonin receptors, suggesting that it has therapeutic applications within the domain of migraine headaches. The authors of the paper also state that AEA is tonically active within the periaqueductal gray matter, a migraine generator.

Further research[4] published within the Journal of Headache and Pain has explored the role of AEA administration with animal models. Such research confirms that a dysfunction within the endocannabinoid system may contribute to the development of migraine attacks. The authors of the paper also suggest that modulation of endocannabinoid system receptors, such as that which occurs with the administration of AEA, can be useful in the treatment of migraine pain.

The potential power of CBD oil in the treatment of migraine may lie in how it can manipulate AEA levels within the body, the endogenous cannabinoid that has been found to ease migraine attacks in some models. CBD has been shown[5] to inhibit the uptake of AEA and the enzymes that degrade this molecule. This means that CBD allows anandamide to remain outside of the cell for longer periods of time, where it may exercise its aforementioned effects.

Endocannabinoid System


CBD can be taken in many different forms. For those who enjoy inhaling cannabis, CBD flowers can be loaded into joints or vaporizers. As the popularity around CBD continues to rise, more and more seed banks are selectively breeding strains to have much higher CBD concentrations, with next to no THC.

Perhaps the easiest and most discreet way to dose CBD is by using CBD oil. This oil can be placed under the tongue where it is absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream. CBD oil is also available in capsules, which can be taken alongside an existing daily supplementation regimen.

CBD is known to have little to no side effects. If you have never taken a CBD product before, start off with a small dose and gradually increase it over time as you assess how your body reacts.

External Resources:
  1. Effects of Medical Marijuana on Migraine Headache Frequency in an Adult Population. - PubMed - NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  2. The endocannabinoid system and migraine. - PubMed - NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  3. Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD): can this concept explain therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel sy... - PubMed - NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  4. Effects of anandamide in migraine: data from an animal model. - PubMed - NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  5. Cannabinoids and Epilepsy https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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