Migraine Awareness Week: 5th – 12th August
Researchers believe that CBD (Cannabidiol) holds potential as a treatment for migraines.
What are Migraines?
Migraines are a debilitating neurological condition affecting millions of people worldwide, characterised by severe headaches that are often accompanied with nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light or sound. According to the NHS, there are three main types of migraines:
- Migraine with Aura – where there are warning signs before the migraine begins, like seeing flashing lights.
- Migraine without Aura – the most common type, where the migraine occurs without warning signs.
- Migraine Aura without Headache – where an aura or other migraine symptoms are experienced, without a headache.
Existing Migraine Treatments
Despite migraines affecting a large proportion of the population (1 in 5 women and around 1 in 15 men), scientists aren’t 100% sure what causes migraine, and there is currently no cure. That said, there are treatments to reduce symptoms, such as painkillers or anti-nausea medication. However, this doesn’t work for everyone and can sometimes cause unwanted side effects.
Recent research has suggested that CBD (Cannabidiol), the non-psychoactive compound derived from the hemp plant, may hold promise in alleviating migraine symptoms and even preventing their occurrence. Let’s look at this in more detail.
CBD and Migraine Pain
CBD is a non-intoxicating compound found in the cannabis plant, distinct from THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). While THC causes a psychoactive high, CBD alone does not.
Although there is not yet definitive scientific evidence on CBD as an effective treatment for migraine — in part because it has not been studied in length — there is a growing body of research which suggests that CBD might help to relieve pain, including neurological pain, which could help those who suffer from migraines.
- Migraines are often accompanied by inflammation of blood vessels in the brain. CBD has proven anti-inflammatory properties which could help to mitigate this inflammation, reducing pain and other symptoms.
- One survey conducted by Axon Relief — a company developing products for migraine relief — found that CBD may lead to a reduction in migraine days and help decrease the impact of migraines. It showed that 86% of respondents reported a decrease in headache impact after using a cannabidiol formulation for a 30-day trial period.
- A 2018 review of studies concluded that cannabinoids — due to their anticonvulsant, analgesic, antiemetic, and anti-inflammatory effects — present a promising class of compounds for both acute and prophylactic treatment of migraine pain.
- Another 2018 review of studies found ‘accumulating evidence for various therapeutic benefits of cannabis/cannabinoids, especially in the treatment of pain, which may also apply to the treatment of migraine and headache.’
- Dr Silberstein from the American Migraine Foundation reports that CBD oil may be a good option for neck pain and soreness associated with migraines. “It may even prevent nausea and vomiting,” he writes.
- One 2020 study on the effects of cannabis flower on migraines and headaches found that ninety-four percent of users experienced symptom relief within a two-hour observation window. A previous 2017 review of studies concluded that ‘it appears likely’ that cannabis will emerge as a potential treatment for some headache sufferers.
CBD and Migraine Prevention
Beyond pain relief during migraine attacks, CBD also shows promise in preventing migraines.
- CBD may help reduce migraine triggers by addressing factors such as stress, anxiety and insomnia, which are known triggers for migraine sufferers.
- Migraines can lead to neuronal damage and impaired brain function. CBD has demonstrated neuroprotective properties which could safeguard brain cells from inflammation and damage, and help to reduce the severity and frequency of migraine attacks.
Image via: Aychman, Mackenzie, et al. “Cannabidiol’s neuroprotective properties and potential treatment of traumatic brain injuries.” Frontiers in Neurology, vol. 14, 2023.
Best CBD for Migraine Relief
CBD is generally considered safe and well-tolerated. However, navigating the CBD market can be difficult due to its lack of regulation. These are some clear factors to look out for when choosing the best CBD product for migraine relief.
Source and Quality
Choose CBD derived from organically grown hemp with CO2 extraction, as this ensures minimal exposure to pesticides and other harmful chemicals. You should also look for third-party laboratory reports to verify how pure and potent your product is, and to ensure there are no contaminants in the product. Finally, check products have clear labels indicating the CBD content per serving.
Type of CBD
Broad-spectrum CBD is a great option for those who want to experience the pain relieving effects of CBD, without consuming Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Learn more about the different types of CBD extract here.
CBD comes in various forms, including oils, edibles, and topicals. For targeted relief, topical creams or balms are the most effective, while oral consumption via oils or edibles offers systemic effects for more convenient relief.
CBD can interact with certain medications. It is therefore important to consult your doctor if you’re taking medication and considering CBD.
Migraines are a complex and debilitating condition that can impact a person’s quality of life. While the exact causes of migraines remain unclear, CBD’s analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic and neuroprotective properties make it a promising area of research for both acute migraine relief and long-term prevention.
At Purity Hemp, quality is at the heart of everything we do. From the organic hemp we grow on our farms in nutrient-rich soil and clean water sources, to our sustainable and quality-assured farming processes, to the CO2 extraction process (with patented tech) that we use to extract a CBD-rich oil, we’re committed to supplying a premium range of organic CBD products to our customers.