Benefits of CBD on Migraines and Cluster Headaches
While studies on the therapeutic uses of CBD for migraines and cluster headaches are still limited, CBD has been shown to have a positive effect on pain and inflammation. According to hemppedia.org , a 2017 study of 48 people suffering from chronic migraines found that 200 milligrams of a compound with 9 percent of CBD and minimal traces of THC reduced their pain by 55 percent. Many CBD users have also reported that the compound has reduced the severity and length of their migraine attacks.
Migraines and cluster headaches can wear you down, particularly if they occur on a regular basis. Often accompanied by nausea , visual disturbances and tearing eyes, migraines affect around 12 percent of Americans . They tend to last anywhere between 4 and 72 hours, and make everyday activities unbearable. While painkillers are often used to reduce the pain of migraines and cluster headaches, they often come with side effects and can have drug interactions. This is where CBD, or cannabidiol, can help. One of the main substances found in the cannabis sativa plant, more commonly known as marijuana, CBD has recently become the go-to remedy for a wide range of ailments. Keep reading to learn how this natural substance can help to alleviate your migraines or cluster headaches.
How to Use CBD
So What’s the Deal with CBD?
Even though CBD is derived from the marijuana plant, it will not get you high. This is because marijuan contains another compound that is responsible for its psychoactive properties, namely THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. This is also why under the U.S. Farm Bill passed in late 2018 , CBD is legal as long as it contains less than 0.03 percent of THC. As this is federal legislation, you will also need to check the legal status of CBD in your respective state before embarking on a course of treatment.
CBD can be taken in a variety of ways. It can be ingested, applied topically and even vaped. Probably the easiest way to consume CBD for migraines and cluster headaches is by taking it in the form of a capsule or placing a few drops under your tongue. Since currently there are no guidelines on how much CBD to take for migraine attacks or cluster headaches, it is best to talk to your doctor to determine your dosing. Generally, it is recommended that you start with a small dose and increase it as required. This will let your body adjust to the substance and help you determine the right dosing for your specific situation.
They found that 15 people (83%) experienced a 50% or greater reduction in headache severity , while 11 (61%) saw a 90%–100% reduction. Also, nine people (50%) noted an 80-100% decrease in headache frequency. Additionally, 11 of the participants (61%) reported high satisfaction from using cannabis, highlighted by reduced usage of prescription medication and improvement of sleep and quality of life.
Cluster headaches can be extremely difficult to treat with standard therapy. As a result, some sufferers have turned to cannabis to relieve these and other types of refractory headaches.
Research on cluster headaches and cannabis
Although cannabis is an increasingly popular alternative to standard cluster headache treatment, it does have some unwanted side effects.
Several studies have shown that cannabis helps with migraines, which are similar to cluster headaches. One 2016 study reported a reduction from an average of 10.4 to 4.6 migraines per month in 85% of the 121 study participants. Similar results were reported by a 2019 study of 316 migraine sufferers, including the finding that high-THC cannabis was most effective.
Another possibility is the biphasic effect: the tendency of cannabis to have opposing effects at low vs higher doses. In that sense, using a small amount might provide relief, while higher doses could make the headaches worse.
Aims: A case report suggested the efficacy of cannabis to treat cluster headache (CH) attacks. Our aims were to study the frequency of cannabis use in CH patients, and the reported effects on attacks.
Methods: A total of 139 patients with CH attending two French headache centers filled out questionnaires.
Results: Sixty-three of the 139 patients (45.3%) had a history of cannabis use. As compared to nonusers, cannabis users were more likely to be younger (p < 0.001), male (p = 0.002) and tobacco smokers (p < 0.001). Among the 27 patients (19.4% of the total cohort) who had tried cannabis to treat CH attacks, 25.9% reported some efficacy, 51.8% variable or uncertain effects, and 22.3% negative effects.
Conclusions: Cannabis use is very frequent in CH patients, but its efficacy for the treatment of the attacks is limited. Less than one third of self-reported users mention a relief of their attacks following inhalation. Cannabis should not be recommended for CH unless controlled trials with synthetic selective cannabinoids show a more convincing therapeutic benefit.