Learn More About the Use of CBD for Migraine Headache Symptoms

Over the past few years there has been a lot more research and patient surveys into the use of Cannabidiol (CBD) to help relieve symptoms related to migraines. 

CBD oil is derived from hemp which is a cousin of the cannabis plant. So while CBD is a component of marijuana, it comes from the hemp plant, specifically in the form of hemp seed oil, and does not deliver a “high” like, for instance, cannabis sativa and indica which contain the psychoactive ingredient THC. 

CBD can be taken in many forms and it really comes down to preference and the type of health issues you are experiencing. Of course, it is important that if you are new to CBD and thinking about trying it, to talk to your family doctor or book an online medical consultation with someone who is up-to-date on the latest cannabis and CBD research. 

CBD can be taken:

  • Orally in the form of a CBD oil that you place under your tongue and swallow.
  • In an oil capsule version as opposed to oil in a dropper. 
  • Using a vape pen that you inhale and exhale from your lungs. 
  • Smoking CBD flower using a pipe or other means. 
  • As a topical cream that you apply to your skin in areas of muscle or joint pain. 

A 2020 research survey, Use and Perceptions of Cannabidiol Products in Canada and the United States found that:

  • CBD product use was higher in the United States (26%) than in Canada (16%)
  • People use a range of CBD products: 46% of people use drops, 26% use topicals (i.e. CBD muscle rubs), 23% use edibles and 18% use a vape cartridge. 
  • CBD was most commonly used for pain management, anxiety and depression. 
  • More than half of CBD consumers in both Canada and the US reported that CBD was beneficial to their health. 

CBD and Migraines

Migraines can best be described as a headache accompanied with severe throbbing pain, or a pulsing sensation normally on one side of the head. Migraines can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines can last for hours and days and can severely disrupt the sufferers day-to-day functioning. 

In 2018, the American Migraine Foundation released a report finding that CBD shows promise in helping to relieve the pain associated with migraines. Much of the issue when it comes to CBD and migraines is the lack of research to-date that would allow for a more conclusive statement in the role CBD plays in helping to relieve migraine pain. 

A 2020 study sponsored by Axon Relief (a CBD company, so take their research with a grain of salt) found that in a 30-day trial, 86% of the people taking part in the study did report a decrease in headache impact. Respondents in the study experienced on average 3.8 fewer headache days. 

These surveys and research do show promise when it comes to migraines and CBD, but a search of Google Scholar for more recent research finds that there has been very little new research conducted on migraines and CBD in the last few years. 

There has been some research published in the last year looking at the use of cannabis to relieve migraines (note: this is not CBD, but it’s “cousin” cannabis). A 2021 survey published by Cambridge University Press looked at the prevalence and nature of cannabis use in patients with headaches at a headache treatment center located in Alberta, Canada. 

The Alberta study looked at 200 patients presenting with a headache disorder. Of those 200 people, 34% of them reported using cannabis to help relieve their headache symptoms. Sixty percent of those people felt that “cannabinoids reduced headache severity.” 

A 2022 review of recent research titled, Clinical Evidence of Cannabinoids in Migraine: A Narrative Review, looked at the state of the scientific research on the subject and concluded that, “promising data are emerging on the possible role of ECS in migraine. However, the current literature has many gaps, and it has not completely unveiled the real effectiveness and safety of cannabinoids in the treatment of migraine due to the low quality of the studies.”

In other words, while there is a growing body of research on the effects of CBD and cannabis in the treatment of migraines, there is still a lot of research that needs to be done. 

If you think CBD or cannabis might help you, consider booking a free online consultation with our partners at Hello MD. They can go through your medical symptoms and history and help guide you on how to use medical CBD or cannabis.