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 for an entire day or longer.
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. Such may now be the case with CBD oil for migraine.
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 will be managed like other crops, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (rather than under the Justice Department). Now in effect, this law effectively makes CBD oil legal (with a few contingencies; more on this later).
With that out of the way, you may be more likely to embrace the encouraging research about medical cannabis oil (or cannabidiol, also called CBD). It’s been widely touted in the news and is gaining wider acceptance as an effective treatment for conditions like epilepsy. However, it’s being studied for all kinds of other ailments, too. In recent years, science has begun to give cannabis more careful study as it shows promise as a possible treatment for many conditions. But what about you and your migraines? Could CBD Oil help you with your migraine headaches, and is it the right thing for you?
Great strides in migraine relief have been made within the last few years. Drug companies have developed several effective migraine medications and introduced them to the market. However, for a large number of migraine sufferers drugs aren’t the ideal answer.
All of us want to know that what we’re putting in our bodies is safe. Many of us would prefer something natural, but also effective. Perhaps you’re looking for a migraine treatment that focuses on overall wellness, rather than a prescribed or OTC drug that merely dulls the pain and comes with unwanted or potentially harmful side effects. CBD oil has potential as a safe, natural treatment for migraine. Several studies have linked CBD oil with pain relieving properties, and also documented its safety. This prompts a lot of migraine sufferers to try CBD oil for migraine relief, but due to regulations and changing laws in your state, you may not have had the chance try it. Or, perhaps you’ve looked into the possibilities but still have some questions.
In this article, we’ll examine common CBD oil questions: what it is, how it works, and whether it might be an effective migraine treatment. We’ll address some common concerns about CBD’s perceived relation to marijuana, and how CBD does — and does not — affect the body. Finally, we will take a look at potential side effects of CBD oil, and how to make sure you get the best quality product should you choose to try it for migraine.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What is CBD (cannabidiol) Oil?
- How Does CBD Work?
- What Are the Benefits of CBD Oil?
- Could CBD Oil Help Me With My Migraines?
- What Are CBD Users Saying?
- What Does the Research Say?
- What is the Correct Dosage?
- How Long Does CBD Take to Work?
- Will it Get Me High?
- What’s the Difference Between CBD and Marijuana?
- Are There Any Side Effects or Risks?
- Is CBD Oil Addictive?
- Which CBD Oil is the Best? What Should I Look for?
- Is CBD Oil Legal?
- A Bright Future for CBD and Migraine?
WHAT IS CBD (CANNABIDIOL) OIL?
To explain what CBD oil is, let’s first clarify what it isn’t. CBD or cannabidiol is not marijuana, as common misconceptions might lead some to believe. CBD (or cannabidiol) is an isolated extract of a plant called Cannabis Sativa. Some may refer to this plant as “marijuana.” However, the Cannabis Sativa plant (which people may dry and smoke) includes about 120 other substances aside from CBD. CBD is just an isolated extract of one of those substances.
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 (more on that later). CBD has an established track record of safety, with only mild side effects including changes in appetite, fatigue, and diarrhea.
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 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. So although those initial theories have largely been dismissed, it’s still possible that CBD could interact with the endocannabinoid system in some way other way. However, this is just one of many possibilities and is still being studied along with the many potential benefits of CBD.
[Sources: https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/cannabidiol#section=Top; https://sci-hub.tw/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2016.03.005; https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs13311-015-0377-3.pdf; https://sci-hub.tw/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2017.02.022]
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CBD OIL?
One of the major benefits of CBD oil, especially for proponents of natural treatments, is the fact that CBD is 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, as it does not alter heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature, and psychomotor and psychological functions are not negatively affected.
With its safety established, many migraineurs feel secure about trying CBD oil to treat their migraines. They might refer to their own use as a “study of one,” where, feeling sure of its safety, they simply try CBD to 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?
You’re one of many to ask yourself this question. And 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 its effects on 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 migraine relief in clinical study. There are 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.
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 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]
WHAT ARE CBD OIL USERS SAYING?
As of this writing, clinical data on CBD and its effect on migraine headaches is somewhat slim. However, the Internet abounds with anecdotal evidence of migraineurs who have tried CBD oil and found 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 affect 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 spot, 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 THE RESEARCH SAY?
Specific data is somewhat limited, due to small sample sizes and simple lack of study on CBD alone (as opposed to medicinal marijuana as a whole). As referenced 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. In the meantime, we do have some promising clinical data about how CBD and medical marijuana might affect chronic pain and other conditions. For example:
- In one 2012 study, CBD was found to be effective at relieving some types of chronic pain and inflammation, including the 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.
- 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.
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.
WHAT IS THE CORRECT DOSAGE?
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 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.”
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]
HOW LONG DOES CBD TAKE TO WORK?
Just like the effectiveness of any supplement may vary on an individual basis, so can the time it takes for that effectiveness to be felt. While Kate G. reports feeling relief in 10 to 15 minutes, others, like Erin R. have reported to Axon that our CBD oil brings almost immediate relief. Again, these are anecdotes sent to use by actual users, but the how CBD oil affects you — and how quickly — is likely to vary.
WILL IT 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 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.
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.
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.
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. It’s available in many different forms, with different concentrations of CBD. It can be taken orally in softgel capsules, under the tongue sprays, and tinctures. Some people vape or inhale it. Another common form is as a salve or cream that is applied to the skin. With so many brands and forms on the market these days, the myriad choices might add 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. Our 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. Our 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.
IS CBD OIL LEGAL?
In a word, yes. In December of 2018, a Farm Bill was overwhelmingly passed by the U.S.
- Legal interstate commerce of hemp and hemp products
- Hemp farmers may now buy crop insurance
- Legal trading of hemp futures to lock prices for farmers
- More research will be allowed for pharmaceutical, wellness, and nutrition research, paving the way for much more testing
CBD products could already be legally ordered online or purchased over the counter in nearly every US state. But with this new law, we can all rest assured that CBD products are 100% legal, as long as there is no THC (yet another reason to ensure your source for CBD conducts 3rd party testing).
The new legislation comes on the heels of other legal developments in 2018. In June, the FDA approved its first-ever pharmaceutical drug derived from marijuana, Epidiolex (used in treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, both rare pediatric seizure disorders). And in September of 2018, the US Drug Enforcement Administration reclassified cannabidiol from a Schedule 1 drug to Schedule 5 (a significant shift which would seem to indicate a similar change in attitude).
In pharmaceuticals requiring FDA approval, Schedule 5 drugs can only be had by prescription but include things like pain relievers and antidiarrheal medications. However, dietary supplements like CBD oil don’t require FDA approval, meaning CBD-containing supplements were already legal in most of the country. The passage of the December 2018 Farm Bill further ensured that CBD products derived from hemp can now legally be purchased online and over-the-counter anywhere, in most of the US, just like any other dietary supplement.
A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR CBD AND MIGRAINE?
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 and their reliance on pharmaceuticals, with 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.