How CBD Oil Can Stop Migraines & Headaches

Known for its multitude of healing properties with anxiety, arthritis and more, it's no wonder that CBD oil can stop migraines and headaches.

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At this point, it's relatively well-known that CBD oil can stop migraines & headaches, but there is still plenty of confusion on a number of fronts: What is CBD oil? Is it more or less effective than other forms of cannabis when it comes to headaches and migraine treatment? With the recent wave of relaxed regulations on cannabis plant products, more studies have begun to take place regarding CBD's applications and effectiveness as a treatment for migraine headaches and other medical conditions. More doctors have begun to recommend CBD for chronic migraine sufferers, but what exactly makes it such an effective treatment? In this article, we'll explore CBD oil's advantages and drawbacks as a treatment for migraines and headaches.

What is CBD oil?

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Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a product derived from the cannabis plant that has gained popularity in recent years as a "cure-all" for ailments ranging from depression to chronic pain to insomnia. While it is derived from the cannabis plant, it contains an insignificant amount of THC. For those of you keeping score at home, THC is another chemical compound found in the cannabis plant and is the one to thank for getting you high. In other words, There are many benefits of CBD oil that marijuana provides but without the accompanying high. 

While CBD oil's status as some sort of cure-all snake oil is somewhat questionable, there is solid evidence that the way CBD interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the brain can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.

Why might CBD help with headaches?

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The core cause behind most headaches is inflammation of the blood vessels and tissues in the area surrounding your brain. Traditional treatment methods incorporate anti-inflammatory chemicals such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. While both of these compounds do indeed reduce the inflammation in your cranial region, they also come with a slew of other side effects that may or may not be desired. Ibuprofen is the key ingredient behind brands like Advil, and it is effective as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory as well as a fever reducer. The drawback to ibuprofen is that it also inhibits certain functions in your stomach and kidneys. Taken in large doses or without having eaten, ibuprofen can do some serious damage to your kidneys or stomach.

The other common over-the-counter headache treatment is acetaminophen, which is found in brands like Tylenol. Acetaminophen is potentially much more dangerous than ibuprofen, as it puts a strain on your liver and can slowly wear it down over time. In the most serious cases of excessive acetaminophen consumption, liver damage and even liver failure are potential outcomes.

The benefit of CBD oil is that it provides the same anti-inflammatory effect as these more popular medications but without the potentially dangerous side effects. Due to the highly regulated nature of products derived from the cannabis plant in the United States, however, CBD's effects have not been as thoroughly researched as its counterparts.

Migraines vs. Headaches

While CBD oil can stop migraines and headaches alike, it's important to understand that the two ailments, while somewhat related, are not the same thing. People who aren't chronic migraine sufferers may not realize that a migraine isn't just a really bad headache. Migraines can last from hours to days and can cause dizziness and nausea; noise and bright lights only serve to exacerbate these symptoms. CBD's effect on migraines is not as easy to pin down as the anti-inflammatory effect that alleviates headaches. Cannabinoid research has only recently begun to study CBD's effect on migraine headaches, but medical marijuana in general has shown to provide migraine relief in at least 40 percent of cases. If CBD oil continues to perform well in similar studies, it may soon become a standard form of migraine treatment.

How do you take CBD oil?

CBD oil can stop migraines & headaches regardless of how it is consumed, so you have a number of options on how to take your CBD doses depending on your needs and preferences. Directly ingesting it is the most common method, but this can take a variety of forms. You may simply get a jar of oil and consume it by applying the appropriate number of drops under your tongue. Alternately, your doctor may prescribe a specific CBD oil capsule, which makes it much easier to control your dosage. It's also possible to cook CBD oil into something like a cookie or brownie (or purchase one pre-made) and ingest it that way since headaches and migraines are some of the medical conditions that edibles can help treat. Another common method for consuming CBD oil is to inhale it via vaporization. Vaping your CBD oil allows the chemical compounds to be absorbed into your body more quickly, meaning it can provide faster relief if you experience a sudden migraine attack. However, compared to ingesting the oil, vaping comes with a wider variety of possible side effects. If you don't have experience with CBD, it is better to start with smaller, controlled doses like in baked goods.

What are the risks?

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Because some CBD oils are illegal or heavily regulated, as well as many other products derived from the cannabis plant in many parts of the United States, there is not a significant body of cannabinoid research as far as the long-term side effects and how it can interact with other medical conditions. With this caveat in mind, however, there are relatively few negative side effects for people who take CBD oil for migraines. Negligible side effects such as drowsiness are relatively common, but most negative side effects only arise with people who vaporize and inhale CBD oil. In this case, the issue is not so much with CBD's chemical makeup, but rather with the risks that are associated with vaping of any type. These side effects include potential lung irritation, leading to coughing and wheezing. If you already have a disease or condition that affects your lungs (such as asthma), then you would be wise to avoid vaping CBD oil or anything else, for that matter. For most people, however, ingesting CBD oil is an extremely effective and relatively harmless migraine treatment.

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