Migraine has a way of wreaking havoc on your entire life. It ruins your social plans. It squashes your productivity at work. It interrupts your life and can make you miserable, even for days.
This is why migraineurs are willing to try just about anything for relief. Pharmaceutical drugs, dietary restrictions, retreating to dim lighting, relaxation techniques, and precision-tinted lenses are all on the table. And when something new comes along that shows promise as a treatment, you’re interested in that, too.
If you’ve ever wondered about CBD for migraine, we have news for you
Our team has been busy compiling the latest data on CBD for migraine, including surveying and interviewing people with migraine disease who use CBD. Recently, Axon Relief published our findings, which included extensive research and feedback from study participants.
The results will be discussed later in this article, offering the latest information on if and how CBD relieves migraine pain.
But first, let’s get the elephant out of the room…
Using CBD Oil Won’t Get You Arrested
If you’re concerned about the legalities of CBD, you should know that a U.S. Farm Bill passed in late 2018 means that hemp and hemp-derived products (which includes Axon CBD Oil) will be managed like other crops, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (rather than under the Justice Department).
Now in effect, this law establishes the legality of buying and using CBD products in the United States. If you want the exciting details, you can find them at the end of this article.
CBD and Natural Migraine Relief
If you’re considering trying CBD oil for migraine, you probably have some questions.
- What is it?
- How does it work?
- Can it relieve migraines?
You might also want to address some common concerns about CBD’s perceived relation to marijuana:
- How CBD does — and does not — affect the body
- Potential side effects of CBD oil
- How to make sure you get the best quality CBD product
What is CBD (Cannabidiol) Oil?
To know what CBD oil is, you also need to know what it isn’t. Contrary to what some people believe, CBD or cannabidiol is not marijuana. CBD (or cannabidiol) is an isolated extract of a plant called Cannabis Sativa.
Some may call the Cannabis Sativa plant “marijuana,” but it really isn’t. In reality, Cannabis Sativa includes about 120 different substances. CBD is just an isolated extract of one of those substances. Some people may dry the plant and smoke it, but they’re getting a lot more than CBD by doing that.
Not only is CBD just one of many substances in the Cannabis Sativa plant, but science has proven that it’s not the one that gets you high (that’s THC — more on that later).
CBD has an established track record of safety, with only mild side effects including changes in appetite, fatigue, and diarrhea.
Is CBD the Same as Hemp?
No. Hemp and CBD are both made from the Cannabis Sativa family of plants, but come from two different varieties of the species.
Hemp is a long-standing industrial product that people have grown for hundreds of years. As a matter of fact, 3rd President of the United States Thomas Jefferson grew hemp. It’s useful for making all kinds of products, such as clothing, rope, and food.
Under the 2018 Farm Bill, Cannabis Sativa plants containing less than .3% THC are classified as hemp, so hemp has very little THC.
Manufacturers of CBD products typically use the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant to make their products. Hemp plants contain more CBD and almost no THC. Because of this, it’s easier to extract pure CBD oil from hemp without getting THC.
Hemp is the ideal plant from which to derive pure, safe CBD without the risks or “high” of THC.
How Does CBD Work?
How CBD works in the human body is still a bit of a mystery. While studies have shown the promise of CBD in treating epilepsy and some types of chronic pain, we still know very little about how it actually works.
Initially, there was some indication that the body’s endocannabinoid system and its receptors actually bound with CBD like a lock and key. The endocannabinoid system is thought to play a role in the immune function, along with other things like memory, anxiety, and mood regulation. Further studies, however, have shown that there is likely no binding taking place.
Although these initial theories have largely been dismissed, it’s still possible that CBD could interact with the endocannabinoid system in some other way. However, this is just one of many possibilities, and is still being studied.
What Are the Benefits of CBD Oil?
One of the major benefits of CBD oil is that it’s not a pharmaceutically-engineered drug with a host of potential side effects and negative drug interactions. However, that doesn’t seem to be where its benefits end.
An article published in 2018 in Frontiers of Neurology discussed evidence that CBD has a number of positive pharmacological properties, including as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antiemetic, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective substance.
CBD oil has been explored in the treatment of diabetes, depression, arthritis, and other ailments. The study also cites the fact that CBD is safe. It doesn’t alter heart rate, blood pressure, or body temperature, nor does it negatively affect psychomotor and psychological functions.
With its safety established, many migraineurs feel safe trying CBD oil for migraines in a “study of one.” This is where someone feels safe to try CBD and see how it affects them and their condition. Just like anything else, effectiveness and personal experience may vary from person to person.
Could CBD Oil Help Me With My Migraines?
The short answer is, potentially yes. While a “study of one” is the best way to find out how CBD oil affects you, studies have shown promising results when evaluating cannabis for chronic pain and inflammation.
For example, as we’ll cover later on, it has been shown to help those with arthritis and multiple sclerosis, and may help opioid reduce their reliance on pharmaceutical pain relievers.
To date, cannabis oil has not been studied in its isolated state specifically for migraine. However, cannabis combined with THC has shown promise for relieving migraine and other types of pain in clinical study.
There are also many reports of positive results from migraineurs who have used CBD to treat their condition. Many say that it helps to ease migraine pain, and even shorten attacks.
Recent Cannabis Research
A number of studies published in Acta Neurologica Taiwanica examined the use of cannabis to treat migraine headaches. Most studies looked at a relatively small number of cases.
For example, one study surveyed 121 adult migraineurs who were prescribed medical marijuana to treat their migraines. Their episodes decreased from an average of 10.4 to 4.6 per month. Nearly 20% of them had fewer migraines using marijuana, and more than 11% said that marijuana stopped their migraine attack. Most of the participants used the marijuana daily in more than one form. The most common negative effects were drowsiness, and difficulty controlling the intensity of dose.
New Survey Shows CBD Has Positive Impact on Migraine
For the last couple of years, Axon Relief has been surveying people with migraine before they take Axon’s specific formula of CBD, and again after 30 days of using the oil.
Using a clinically-validated questionnaire called the Headache Impact Survey (Hit-6™), Axon Relief measured the impact of a headache on a person’s life. The results are showing an overwhelming majority of headache sufferers could benefit from taking CBD oil.
At the end of the 30-day trial period, 86% of respondents reported decreased headache impact.
The survey is significant, because while there is an abundance of anecdotal accounts of people using CBD oil with good results for migraine, there is very little in the way of standardized results.
One hundred and five people with migraine participated in the 30-day survey.
The CBD oil used in the study is made in Utah by Axon Relief. During the trial period, users of Axon’s CBD oil experienced an average of 3.8 fewer headache days when compared to before they used the oil, for a 23% reduction.
“Our goal is to explore if our CBD isolate can help people who suffer from chronic headaches, like migraine. The data showing CBD’s effect on migraine is the first of its kind, and very promising,” says Ben Rollins, founder of Axon Relief.
Condition severity of survey participants varied, including low-frequency to high-frequency episodic migraine, as well as chronic migraine. Chronic migraine sufferers are defined as people who experience 15 to 29 headache days over a 30-day period.
In this study, participants with chronic migraine saw a 33% reduction in their headache days. The number of participants experiencing daily headaches was reduced from 15 at the beginning of the study to 10 by the end of the study — a 33% drop.
One example of the positive impact revealed in the survey comes from a participant by the name of Glen, who says, “…Since the ’90s I’ve been on constant high doses of carbamazepine and gabapentin. The periodic pain breakthroughs were only controlled by hydrocodone, which always made me feel…uncomfortable. What a change CBD Oil has made: no more carbamazepine or hydrocodone, and only half the gabapentin — and far better pain control. Pain breakthroughs still happen, but another squirt of Axon CBD, and the pain is gone within 15 minutes. I have no side effects.”
Using CBD to treat headaches is not new. As an ancient natural remedy, cannabis has been used for thousands of years to treat certain types of headaches. But while we await documented studies on CBD oil and its specific effects on migraine, many sufferers are trying it for themselves, compiling plenty of personal success stories.
[Source: Medicinal Properties of Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and Flavonoids in Cannabis, and Benefits in Migraine, Headache, and Pain: An Update on Current Evidence and Cannabis Science. Baron EP. Headache. 2018 Jul; 58(7):1139-1186. PMID: 30152161]
More Stories From People Using CBD Oil for Migraine
While clinical data on CBD and its effect on migraine headaches is somewhat slim, the Internet abounds with anecdotal evidence. Migraineurs report using CBD to find varying degrees of relief.
With a Google search, you’re likely to find many stories that echo the sentiments of the following two, sent to us by Kate G. and Jaimee H., both of whom have found CBD Oil helpful in treating migraine.
“I have struggled with migraines since I was about 12. When Axon launched the CBD Oil, I was one of the first customers. Actually, to be honest I was very skeptical. I have tried medicine, rest, darkness, vitamins, more medicine but nothing really relieved the pain and pressure for longer than a few hours. I didn’t like having to keep taking pills either. Nothing really had a great effect or worked well for me, so when I had the opportunity to try the CBD Oil, I decided to give it a go.
I did not believe it would actually do anything for me. The day I tried it, I had had a migraine most of the day. I took 3 or 4 drops and waited. 10-15 minutes later, the pressure and pain in my head and behind my eyes completely left. It was like I hadn’t even had a migraine the entire day. Pressure gone. Pain gone. Spots in front of my eyes…gone. My head did not hurt the rest of the day. Now I have never tried anything like CBD Oil before.
When I use my CBD now, I still don’t even take the full serving amount. I only use 3-4 drops at a time. But each time, within 10-15 minutes my migraine clears and stays gone for hours, if not all day. The second I feel any pressure or start to see spots, I take my drops. I have never had this much success with anything I have tried before. It has made a massive difference for me. I keep it in my purse, with me at all times. At night, by my bedside, just in case. I was not a believer before, just a skeptic. Now…I recommend it to anyone and everyone who mentions that they are a sufferer too. CBD Oil and my glasses have made all the difference for me.
Jaimee, a professional lifeguard, had been suffering since 2006 from migraines triggered by stress, weather, or lack of sleep. In 2010, she was finally diagnosed with hemiplegic migraine. The diagnosis gave her a label for her condition, but it didn’t offer any relief from suffering up to 4 migraines in any given month.
Some might call Jaimee’s migraine condition “less painful” than others. But while her attacks usually involve less head pain than most people think of with migraine, they do come with aura such as acute nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. Sometimes her condition has prevented her from participating in work or other activities.
Jaimee tried all the usual remedies to manage her migraine: various medications and supplements, dietary changes, even essential oils. But many of those remedies came with side effects, and none of them offered much relief, especially from the acute nausea.
Like many other Axon customers, Jaimee came across Axon with some previous familiarity with CBD.
“I have actually used CDB in the past but not as a daily supplement. We use it for our daughter who has autism and anxiety, with great success. I have used it for acute nausea during the aura phase of migraine, and found it worked better than Meclizine.”
Aside from her success in using CBD for aura-related nausea, Jaime has found Axon CBD has helped her sleep better and feel more calm. She has experienced fewer vestibular issues while taking it. (Vestibular problems can affect the inner ear and balance, causing dizziness.) Those benefits, along with the absence of bad side effects, lead Jaimee to recommend it.
“CBD really does work for migraine-related nausea…I recommend taking it at bedtime to promote restful sleep. Additionally, a couple of droppers under the tongue when experiencing acute nausea during the aura phase of migraine is incredibly helpful.”
What Does Clinical Research Say About CBD Oil?
As we mentioned earlier, pure CBD oil hasn’t been studied for its effects on migraine specifically, but has shown promise for migraine relief in conjunction with THC. The following studies date back several years, but show a track record of promising clinical data. These studies document how CBD and medical marijuana might affect chronic pain and other conditions. For example:
- One study conducted in 2009 found evidence that cannabis compounds may be useful in treating pain in long-time users of opioids who want to lessen their use of pharmaceutical pain relievers.
- In one 2012 study, CBD was found to be effective at relieving some types of chronic pain and inflammation, including those associated with arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
- In 2016, a survey conducted by Pharmacotherapy indicated that “medical marijuana” (though isolated CBD was not part of this study) may reduce the frequency of migraine headaches. In this study, users reported a reduction in migraines from 10.4 down to 4.6 per month.
More recently, CBD with THC has been studied for “intractable” chronic pain (pain difficult to treat because its cause can’t be precisely identified).
- In a study of CBD and fibromyalgia pain, CBD treatments reduced pain by more than 30%.
- Also in 2020, CBD was found to help non-cancer chronic pain patients, who self-reported improvements in their pain level and quality of life.
- As recently as 2020, other studies of generalized chronic pain found that while CBD didn’t significantly reduce discomfort, it did help patients with reported quality of life and quality of sleep.
As you can see, the data we do have seems to bode well for CBD as a migraine treatment. At the very least, its recorded safety makes it seem worth trying for those who want to reduce pharmaceutical drug intake.
As more and more people try isolated CBD oil for migraine, we can begin to gather and publish the supporting data.
[Source: Medicinal Properties of Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and Flavonoids in Cannabis, and Benefits in Migraine, Headache, and Pain: An Update on Current Evidence and Cannabis Science. Baron EP. Headache. 2018 Jul; 58(7):1139-1186. PMID: 30152161]
Something to note: Emerging scientific study of CBD oil as a viable treatment for migraine should not be confused with the studies that examine the use of the entire plant, which may include THC. This is not the same as pure CBD oil. While these studies do support cannabis as an effective migraine treatment (when including THC), the absence of THC is what sets pure CBD apart. This makes isolated CBD safe, legal, and more desirable for a lot of people.
How to Use CBD Oil
CBD is available in many different forms, with different concentrations of CBD. It can be taken orally in softgel capsules or edible products like cookies or candy. It also comes in sublingual (under the tongue) sprays, and tinctures or drops. Some people vape or inhale it. Another common form of CBD is salve or cream is applied to the skin.
How you choose to use CBD oil is up to you, but you’ll want to keep potency in mind. For quick absorption into your system — like you’d probably want for a migraine — pure drops of CBD oil may work best. Placed under the tongue, the CBD can be in your system within minutes.
What’s the Correct Dosage for CBD Oil?
While there is no specific recommended dose, CBD has been found to be safe even in high amounts. For reference, Axon’s CBD Oil is formulated specifically for migraine, and is considered a high concentrate with over 33 mg Cannabidiol per 1 ml serving size.
Other CBD oils may contain as little as 3 mg. As with any supplement, it’s always best to follow the label instructions of any CBD Oil, and take note of how you feel before making any personal adjustments.
According to a 2018 study, “adverse events of cannabis medicine pertain primarily to THC, whose total daily dose-equivalent should generally be limited to 30mg/day or less.” By contrast, CBD was found by the same study to be far less potent, which means it “may require much higher doses for its adjunctive benefits on pain.”
A 2011 review on the safety and side effects of CBD found that continuous use of CBD, even in high doses such as 1,500 mg a day, is tolerated well by humans. This study states that, “based on recent advances in cannabinoid administration in humans, controlled CBD may be safe in humans and animals. However, further studies are needed to clarify these reported in vitro and in vivo side effects.”
A 2017 update to the above review confirmed that CBD is well tolerated by people. However, a 2019 study conducted on mice did raise some safety concerns about potential liver damage associated with CBD and its interactions with other medications.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you’re currently taking medication and would like to try CBD, it’s essential to discuss this with your doctor. There are very few known side effects of CBD, but if and when side effects do occur, they may include diarrhea, appetite changes, and fatigue.
As with most supplements, it is wise to start out with smaller doses to see where relief begins and how your body reacts. You may increase your dosage over time to find the right level for you. As with any supplement, we recommend following the label instructions for Axon CBD Oil and taking note of how you feel before making any personal adjustments.
[Source: Practical Considerations in Medical Cannabis Administration and Dosing. 2018 Mar;49:12-1. PMID: 29307505. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29307505]
[Source: Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent. 2011 Sep 1;6(4):237-49. doi: 10.2174/157488611798280924. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22129319/]
[Source: An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. 2017; 2(1): 139–154. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/]
[Source: Hepatotoxicity of a Cannabidiol-Rich Cannabis Extract in the Mouse Model. 2019, 24(9), 1694; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24091694
Will CBD Get Me High?
No, CBD is not a psychotropic substance, so it has no psychedelic effects. As discussed in the “What is CBD” portion of this article, the cannabis plant is comprised of hundreds of chemical compounds; THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD are the two most common.
THC is the chemical that produces the psychedelic effects present in products offering a psychoactive effect or “high.” CBD is not at all like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and does not make you “high,” So while you might feel good using it due to pain relief, you won’t feel that kind of good.
What’s the Difference Between CBD Oil and Marijuana?
Cannabis Sativa is a family of plants with two primary species: hemp and marijuana. Axon CBD Oil is extracted from the hemp plant and contains no THC (the psychoactive chemical in marijuana).
In short, THC is what gives recreational marijuana users the “high” they are after.
As mentioned earlier, CBD is an isolated extract of one of over 120 substances in the Cannabis Sativa plant. Not only is it non-psychoactive, but it may actually inhibit the psychedelic effect that THC has on the nervous system. So when it comes to getting high, CBD oil is more likely to be what brings you back down.
Is CBD Oil Addictive?
No. CBD oil is non-addictive, and a study conducted by the World Health Organization has proven it. The double-blind, randomized study found that, on the scales of the Addiction Research Centre Inventory, there was no difference in addiction risk between CBD and the administered placebo.
According to this study, “an orally administered dose of 600 mg of CBD did not differ from placebo on the scales of the Addiction Research Centre Inventory.” In plain language, this means the WHO did not identify any addiction risk in their study of CBD, even in that high dose of 600 mg.
Are There Any Side Effects or Risks?
When it comes to CBD when combined with THC there are plenty of side effects. However, pure CBD oil is a different story. Pure CBD with 0.0% THC has surprisingly few side effects, which most of us would probably consider minor. The possible side effects include:
- Appetite changes
Not everyone will experience these side effects, and how CBD oil effects you may vary. However, CBD oil is safe for most people, and there is no evidence at this time that it interacts with other medications. To be on the safe side, check with your doctor if you are on other medications before adding CBD oil to your migraine relief tool kit.
Which CBD Oil is Best? What Should I Look For?
Just like any other supplement, where you purchase your CBD oil for migraines can make all the difference. A recent study by the Institute of Research on Cannabinoids analyzed more than 80 CBD products, and found that a whopping 70% of them didn’t match what was on the label, containing either more or less CBD than the label claimed. On top of that startling statistic, 1 in 5 of the CBD samples tested actually contained some level of THC, even though the label claimed there was none.
This study shows why it’s important to use a trustworthy source for any CBD supplement you buy. It’s also why Axon uses an FDA-registered manufacturing facility and 3rd party testing. No matter what CBD oil you choose, you want to be sure what’s in the bottle matches the label, and that your product is as pure as possible.
There are a lot of companies hopping on the CBD bandwagon. With so many brands and forms on the market, there can be some confusion. CBD products may recommend different dosages or have added ingredients. Others might use questionable manufacturing standards.
The sheer number of products out there makes it even more important that you do your homework. Here are some questions to ask before choosing a CBD product.
1. Is it clean?
Common CBD additives such as preservatives or flavors can actually trigger migraines in some people.
Make sure your CBD oil is clean, without unnecessary ingredients that could cause a problem. Axon’s CBD Oil, for example, includes only CBD extract suspended in hemp oil. Nothing else.
2. How strong is it?
A lot of CBD brands include only small amounts of real CBD — as little as 3 mg. Since CBD has been proven safe even in high doses, there is really no reason not to increase your chances of results by using a stronger dose.
Axon’s CBD Oil offers 33 mg CBD per serving — making it 11 times stronger than many other brands. And remember, the World Health Organization study has proven that CBD is non-addictive, even in a 600 mg dose.
3. Is it pure?
A lot of CBD supplements include “full spectrum” CBD, and on the surface, that might sound like a benefit. But with CBD, purity is critical. In this case, full spectrum means many different parts of the plant are included in the oil. As many migraineurs can attest from personal experience, you can’t always anticipate how those things might affect you and your condition.
What’s more, that “spectrum” can change from batch to batch, resulting in inconsistency from bottle to bottle. So not only are you getting additional substances you know nothing about, but your next bottle might affect you differently than your last.
This is why Axon uses only pure, isolated CBD extract. Your CBD will never include other cannabis substances, and you’ll always know what to expect.
In manufacturing, Axon uses C02 extraction, which is one of the cleanest ways to extract CBD for human consumption. Once extracted, our CBD is maintained in pure hemp seed oil. It’s a fast-acting formula that is all-natural, with no flavors, colors, or THC.
4. Is it 3rd party tested?
The best CBD oil for migraines will offer verified proof that their label is accurate and the product is pure. Mislabeling is actually a big problem in the CBD industry.
As discussed earlier in this section, up to 70% of CBD products tested were found to contain inaccurate amounts of CBD (either too much or too little). And 1 in 5 actually contained THC, when the label said there was none.
Axon uses strict 3rd party testing and an FDA-approved manufacturing facility, so you know exactly what you’re getting.
CBD Oil for Migraine Could Have a Bright Future
As migraine sufferers continue to search for relief that won’t overload their bodies with pharmaceuticals, science continues to rise to the challenge.
CBD oil is one of many tools migraineurs can use to reduce their pain, plus lessen their reliance on pharmaceuticals and the associated side effects.
Axon Optics has been providing other such tools since 2010, beginning with therapeutic eyewear. Dr. Bradley Katz, co-founder of Axon Optics and neuro-ophthalmologist at the University of Utah’s Moran Eye Center, is optimistic that science will continue to find more natural treatments for migraine pain. “As we understand more about migraine, its triggers, and underlying causes, I think the outlook for natural treatments is very positive. Cannabis oil for migraine could turn out to be one of those treatments that can help people get relief without relying so heavily on traditional painkillers.”
With its track record of safety and non-addictive nature, CBD oil is likely worth a try for many migraine sufferers. Now that you know more about it, you can make an informed decision on whether CBD oil is right for you, and where you can get a pure and tested product.