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CBD Oil is an increasingly hot topic with migraineurs because it makes it possible to leverage many of the healing properties of the hemp plant without the high (and of course the legal problems that still plague medical marijuana/hemp in certain places).  

You may be surprised to learn that hemp extracts were commonly prescribed as a tincture for headaches prior to the 1937 prohibition, then were largely forgotten about for decades before picking up steam again since the 1990’s.  

Reported benefits of using CBD oil include:

  • Calming nerves
  • Easing muscle tension
  • Increased feeling of overall wellbeing and ease
  • Fewer migraines and headaches
  • Reduced aches and pains
  • Reducing the symptoms of a migraine attack
  • Reduction of nausea


How CBD oil works for migraine headaches

In this era of growing interest in natural herbal remedies and essential oils, it isn’t a foreign concept to most of us that a plant extract can have a powerful effect on the body and that using a plant-based product vs. a synthetic version of an active compound can provide additional synergistic benefits beyond what the mechanisms we can explain today.  

CBD oil and other plant cannabinoids (such as copaiba essential oil) act on the CB2 receptors – part of the endocannabinoid system. The CB2 receptors are found throughout the body and its immune cells that control inflammation.  

An exciting study with migraine and chronic headache sufferers published in 2007 in Neurophsycopharmacology found reduced levels of the endogenously produced endocannabinoid called anadamide (AEA) in the cerebral spinal fluid of chronic migraine sufferers compared to healthy participants, leading to the conclusion that an insufficiency in the endocannabinoid system is part of the experience of pain and dis-ease in migraine sufferers. Hence why supplementing with phytocannabinoids like CBD oil can provide symptom relief.  

Interestingly, not only is anadamide protective against pain, but is linked with serotonin transport in the brain and have overlapping effects on 5-HT receptors that migraine drugs triptans have. Serotonin levels have long been the major target for migraine therapies, but more recent research into the endocannabinoid system may reveal even more effective therapies in the future.  

By the way, CB1 receptors are also relevant to these findings with AEA, and for those with more background knowledge on the endocannabanoid system, you may be wondering – hey what about THC and medical marijuana for migraines?

Fair question, but let’s save that for another time, shall we, and focus on some common questions about CBD oil and its use for migraine headaches.    

How do people use CBD products for migraines?   There are two main ways that people currently use CBD extracts if they have migraines and that is either daily use to combat stress and inflammation in order to have fewer headaches in the first place, or just at the earliest onset of symptoms to lesson pain and nausea. It is currently being studied in combination with pharmaceutical treatments to see if and how it enhances their effectiveness, so you could simply layer it in with whatever you are doing now.

Deciding between daily or as-needed use could depend on how frequent your migraines are, if you find that CBD helps with other problems like muscle tension and stress as well as your budget.  

How much CBD oil would I have to use to notice an effect? A common question is how much to use and like any supplement – everyone responds differently. The safest method to find an effective amount for you is to start small – perhaps ¼ of what is recommended on the bottle and slowly increase day by day until you notice an effect. For some this could be 10mg/day – for others as much as 50mg/day.  

Will I have to take this for the rest of my life? Ideally, this and other natural relief solutions that I talk about in my Migraine Freedom program are meant to provide drug-free relief while you work on healing the gut, improving sleep and working on other lifestyle factors that cause the body to be more sensitive to migraine triggers.  

I already tried it and didn’t like it or didn’t notice anything Some people really don’t notice a difference and some have even reported feeling “dizzy” or “yucky”. While different people react differently to different methods, and I wouldn’t expect CBD or anything else to be universally helpful – these lackluster results could absolutely be due to the quality of a particular product. Given the controversial history of hemp along with its recent trendiness, it should come as no surprise that the industry is full of scams and a minefield of dangerous or ineffective products.  

Some of the challenges of providing a quality product include:

  • Sourcing a CBD-rich hemp plant (not cultivated for textiles or THC)
  • Sourcing a plant without pesticides and other toxic contaminants
  • Extracting the CBD oil without harmful solvents and without damaging the delicate active compounds
  • Ensuring batch to batch consistency, potency and purity standards with analytical testing
  • Managing distribution channels that limit potential for mishandling or diluting products.

  No small task, clearly.  

Hungry for more info about CBD oil and other cannabis products for migraine management?  

We highly recommend checking out this special class with functional medicine doctor Dr. Jessica Hutchins of Inspire Wellness and Cleveland Functional Medicine:

Medical Cannabis For Migraines Masterclass

Special Event! Deep dive into how medical cannabis is being used to manage migraines with functional medicine doctor Dr. Jessica Hutchins. 


Have experience with CBD oil for migraines? Let us know about your experiences in a comment below.              

CBD is not intended to treat or cure any health condition or disease. We are not doctors. These statements are not approved/endorsed by the FDA. Please consult with your physician before making any changes to your diet, lifestyle or supplement intake.