New research presented at a neurology conference in Europe has found a daily dose of THC – the stuff in marijuana that gets you high – and cannabidiol (CBD) – the stuff in medicinal marijuana which doesn’t – can reduce the number of cluster headaches by up as much as 40 percent.
The results are yet to be peer-reviewed.
Just why it works isn’t yet clear, but it’s believed cannabinoids prevent the release of serotonin, which can narrow blood vessels. They may also have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Side effects included drowsiness and an inability to concentrate – a short list compared to what people taking tricyclics often suffer, which includes dry mouth, constipation, urinary issues, memory loss, anxiety, hypersensitivity, weight gain, tachycardia and blurry vision.
"We were able to demonstrate that cannabinoids are an alternative to established treatments in migraine prevention," lead researcher Maria Nicolodi from the Interuniversity Center in Florence told the 3rd Congress of the European Academy of Neurology in Amsterdam.
Anyone starting out with CBD should begin with a low dose to allow your Endocannabinoid system to be introduced to your new routine. So you might begin with the 4% Full Spectrum CBD Oil for a time before moving to our 8% or 15% options if required.
Specific periods of attacks tend to be associated with migraine triggers. These can include stress, tiredness, particular food or drink, strong smells, or for women, starting your period (also known as hormone headaches or menstrual migraines).
If you suffer from frequent or severe migraine symptoms, you should see a GP.
Useful migraines/cluster headaches links
There are different types of migraine, but they are generally categorised as a moderate or severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head, often accompanied by feeling sick, vomiting or increased sensitivity to light or sound. A cluster headache is a sharp, excruciating pain often felt around the eye, temple and sometimes face on one side of the head.
There are currently no absolute medical cures for migraines and cluster headaches, but treatments to prevent attacks and relieve symptoms range from over-the-counter painkillers for migraines, to injections and electrical nerve stimulation for cluster headaches.
The exact causes of both migraines and cluster headaches are currently unknown. Migraines are suspected to be the result of changes in the chemicals, nerves and blood vessels in the brain. Cluster headaches are linked to increased activity in the hypothalamus part of the brain.
There are a variety of ways to integrate CBD into your general daily routine, and the most common are either as a CBD Oil , or CBD Capsules . Both are quick and simple ways to see if CBD is the right choice for you, although we’d always recommend checking with your doctor before taking any supplement, especially if you’re already on any medication.
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.
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.
Benefits of CBD on Migraines and Cluster Headaches
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
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.