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CBD For Migraines: Benefits, Risks, And Usage

Man with a migraine

If you suffer from migraines, CBD may be the solution to your pain.

While clinical trials in the United States are still hampered by archaic and unenlightened federal legislation, research from elsewhere around the world shows promising results for the use of CBD in the treatment and prevention of debilitating migraines.

In this article, the all-things-cannabis experts at Honest Marijuana discuss CBD, migraines, and the benefits, risks, and usage of high-CBD pot strains.

What Is CBD?

CBD chemical makeup

Put simply, CBD (the shortened form of the word cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in high concentrations in the cannabis (marijuana) plant.

Other common cannabinoids include:

The extraordinary thing about CBD — and all cannabinoids, in fact — is that when you ingest it, inhale it, or rub it on your skin, it interacts with the neurons in your brain and receptors in your body to produce some very beneficial effects.

Many of those beneficial effects apply directly to migraines.

CBD For Migraines: Benefits

CBD for migraine

1) Decreased Pain And Swelling

Scientists and doctors are still debating the exact cause of migraines, but many believe that they are a symptom of an issue or issues elsewhere in the body — most likely inflammation and swelling.

Even with the limited clinical trials, CBD is well-known for its analgesic (pain-relieving) properties, which is why CBD creams, tinctures, and patches are becoming more and more popular every day.

So even if CBD doesn’t kill the migraine pain directly, it can decrease the pain and swelling in other parts of your body that might be the true cause of the pounding in your head.

2) Less Nausea

As if blinding pain in your head wasn’t enough, that extreme level of pain often causes nausea and an upset stomach.

CBD is very good at settling an upset stomach and preventing or reducing nausea — even if it’s caused by a migraine rather than something you ate.

That alone is enough of a benefit for us to swear by, but the decrease in nausea produces another benefit: increased appetite.

Chronic severe migraines all but eliminate your desire to eat, but your body needs calories (energy) to fight the problems causing the pain in the first place. If you’re not eating because of migraine-induced nausea, your condition can get worse over time.

Even if it doesn’t completely eliminate the pain, CBD helps return other systems in your body to normal.

3) Relaxation

CBD interacts with your brain and body in a way that makes you feel relaxed and calm…even in the face of high stress or physical pain.

That’s great news for those who suffer from migraines because the pain you feel in your head is often exacerbated by tension in your body.

By relaxing that tension, CBD helps relieve the “vicious cycle” of pain-migraine-stress-pain.

CBD For Migraines: Risks

CBD migraine treatment

1) Dry Mouth

One of the most commonly reported side effects of CBD is dry mouth.

But in a world full of medications with side effects that are worse than the original problem — severe blisters and peeling skin, loss of smell, memory loss, unusual urges for sex and gambling (all actual side effects) — a bit of dry mouth doesn’t seem that bad at all.

2) Possible Interference With Other Medications

CBD may interfere with your liver’s ability to process other drugs.

So if you take a medication for high blood pressure and one day decide to add CBD to lower your blood sugar, the CBD could neutralize the blood pressure medicine (making it ineffective) and cause some serious consequences.

Be sure to talk to your physician about adding CBD for migraine to your daily routine if you already take medications for other chronic conditions.

3) Biphasic Properties

“Biphasic” means that at low levels CBD will provide certain effects, while at high levels it will provide different effects.

If this seems weird to you, think about alcohol (which is also biphasic). At low levels, it’s a stimulant (Woohoo! Party!). At high levels, it’s a depressant (zzzzzzzz).

CBD doesn’t act exactly the same as alcohol — stimulant on one end, depressant on the other — but the effects will change as the dosage level increases.

Can You Take Too Much CBD?

Marijuana buds in a jar

Technically, it is possible to take too much CBD for a migraine. Having said that, it’s also technically possible to drink too much water…but you’ve really gotta want it in both cases.

We’re not sure about water, but a high dose of CBD tops out in the 50,000-milligram range. That’s 33 tablespoons — a little over two measuring cups — of pure CBD.

You’re not going to get anywhere near that amount in any CBD product on the market.

To put that in perspective, an average 180-pound male suffering from severe pain only needs to take 25 milligrams (⅛ teaspoon) to feel relief. That’s a long, long way from 50,000 milligrams (0.05 percent or five ten-thousandths of the total).

And even then, the “overdose” effects might not be all that bad.

One user took an extremely high dose of CBD for reasons unrelated to a migraine and reported little more than an extreme sense of drowsiness (which, for those who’ve suffered from migraines know, would be a welcome side effect anyway).

We’re not saying it’s OK to swallow two cups of CBD, so please do not read this information as some sort of challenge.

We’re simply saying that you shouldn’t be worried about taking too much CBD for your migraine when you’re first starting out.

CBD For Migraines: Usage

CBD in tin for migraine treatment

There are three basic ways to take CBD:

  • Rub it on your skin (Topical)
  • Smoke it (Inhalation)
  • Eat it (Ingestion)

For migraines, topical application of a CBD product is right out the window. Applying a CBD cream directly to the place where it hurts — your head — will do absolutely no good.

Why? Because your skull is in the way.

To really benefit from the CBD, you need to get it into your bloodstream so it can circulate to your brain and around your body.

For that, ingestion and inhalation are your best bets.


pot brownies

Most medication nowadays comes in the form of a pill or liquid that you swallow. The cannabis industry has followed suit to make taking CBD for migraines more palatable and acceptable.

CBD is available in many forms, including:

You can pretty much transform any type of food into a CBD edible just by mixing a bit of CBD oil into the recipe. For an in-depth look at making CBD honey and insight on making other edibles, check out this article.

The problem with edibles is that they take a relatively long time to act — an hour or more in some instances.

While the effects of edibles can be more pronounced, for migraines, you really need speed rather than power. You want the pain gone NOW, not an hour later.

Plus, edibles are extremely hard to dose, so finding the right amount of tincture or tea to relieve your pain can be an arduous series of trial and error.

That’s why most sufferers of chronic migraines choose the last method of delivery: inhalation.


woman smoking her CBD migraine treatment

Inhaling CBD for a migraine encompasses any method that requires taking smoke or vapor into your lungs, including:

One of the things that make inhaling marijuana smoke or vapor so useful for migraine sufferers is the near-instantaneous onset of effects.

From the first deep breath in, it should only take a few seconds for you to feel a difference.

If you’re worried about finding the right dose with an inhalation method, we suggest using a one-hitter at first. Take a single toke, wait a minute or so, then take another hit if needed.

You can also do a similar thing with a joint: hit it, wait, then hit it again. Once you’ve found the relief you need, stub out the cherry and set the joint aside for later.

CBD For Migraines: Summing Up

Marijuana plant

One of the many wonderful things about inhaling CBD is that it delivers the migraine pain relief you need without the trippy, reality-warping psychedelic effects of THC.

Another awesome thing about CBD is that, unlike some medications, it’s impossible to take too much and there are almost no major side effects.

Bottom line: trying CBD can’t hurt any more than the migraine already does, and it might just take away the pain.

Whether you choose an inhalable CBD product or an edible CBD product, we suggest talking to your doctor and then visiting a reputable local dispensary to see what they have to offer. The budtenders there will be happy to show you how to take CBD.

For more information on all things marijuana, and to check out our 100-percent-all-natural cannabis products, visit today.

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