Migraines are the third most prevalent illness worldwide, affecting around one billion people globally.(1)
Anyone who’s had a migraine knows that it’s so much more than a bad headache. At their least aggressive, they’re extremely uncomfortable. At their worst, they’re completely unbearable.
According to the Migraine Research Foundation, 90% of people who suffer from migraines can’t work or function when they have an attack. For some, chronic migraines are a constant struggle.
Certain migraine treatments work for certain folks, but a large group of people dealing with migraines hasn’t had success with current options. That’s kept migraines in the spotlight of the medical research world, with experts on the lookout for new ways to curb migraine symptoms. Enter: CBD.
Could the cannabis compound CBD be a solution for migraines? We’re looking at what the burgeoning science has to say about it — so keep reading if you’d like to wrap your head around this possible new migraine remedy.
Before we go any further, we’ll pump the brakes to make sure we’re clear on what we mean when we say migraine. If you’re super migraine savvy, feel free to fast-forward to the next section.
Migraine is a neurological disorder. They can be chronic, meaning they can consistently recur. Headache, nausea, and light sensitivity are common migraine symptoms. But there’s a bit more to them than these usual suspects.
Migraines like onions. They’re enough to make you cry, and they have many layers.
By layers, we mean phases. Migraines can have up to four phases, each with its own set of symptoms.
Not all people who experience migraines go through each phase. The phases one experiences usually point to the type of migraine.
There are over a dozen types of migraines, which is a full article in itself. The two most common types of migraine are:
Other variations of migraine include cluster headaches, retinal migraine, chronic migraine, and ice pick headaches. Ah, don’t those all sound lovely? Not!
After learning about the phases of migraines and their symptoms, it’s probably no surprise there are many migraine triggers. These things can set your migraine in motion:
There does appear to be a genetic factor to migraines. You’re more likely to experience migraines if one or both of your parents did.(2) Thanks, mom and dad.
Also, women are more likely to get migraines than men. Sorry, gals.
But why do people get migraines at all? Like ever? Well, recently discovered clues suggest that migraines may actually be the symptom of a condition known as endocannabinoid deficiency.
Endocannabinoid deficiency is an imbalance or inefficiency of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The medical term for endocannabinoid deficiency is clinical endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome (CECD).
Didn’t learn about the ECS in health class? Don’t worry — it’s pretty new to the medical world, too. The ECS was actually discovered as a result of cannabis research. There are still a lot of ECS mysteries today. What we do know is that it’s instrumental in keeping the body in a state of homeostasis (a state of balance).
Right now, endocannabinoid deficiency is just a theory, so the research is ongoing. The hypothesis is that when endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes that make up the ECS aren’t optimal — maybe there’s a shortage, overabundance, or malfunction of one or a combo of them — it throws things off and the ECS can’t do its job.
Regulation of stress and mood, hormones, and inflammation are a few key biological functions we rely on our ECS for. The ECS is integrated into the nervous system, so it makes sense that an imbalance in the ECS could influence neurological disorders like migraines.
Many conditions that have baffled the medical community for years — like fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and migraine — are being linked to CECD.(3)
If you want to go in-depth on CECD, head to our article titledEndocannabinoid Deficiency: What It Is & How CBD Can Help.
Migraines are notoriously tricky to treat. So, what makes us think CBD stands a chance?
CBD is a cannabinoid, and cannabinoids have the ability to interact with the ECS. That could be excellent news for migraine sufferers. Here’s what the science to say about it:
There’s still a lot to learn about the ECS and how CBD works with it, but this is some mighty promising early research on cannabinoids and migraines.
Since CBD doesn’t tend to stir up side effects, it may be worth considering if you’re looking for a natural migraine remedy. If that’s something you’re interested in, we’ve got some tips to make getting started easier.
Migraines can sneak up on you — and don’t they love to? CBD oil might be helpful in the moment when symptoms kick in. But in that clinically-validated survey we mentioned above, the respondents used CBD consistently for 30 days. That’s right on track with the best CBD advice you might receive: A consistent CBD regimen is the way to go!
There’s a smorgasbord of CBD products to make sticking to your CBD routine easy. Choose from CBD drops, plus other products like CBD softgels, and CBD gummies to get your daily dose. You can also supplement with topical CBD cream, which can be especially nice for on-the-spot relief from aches and pains.
Entering the sea of CBD products as a newbie can be intimidating. Just remember that knowledge is power. As long as you keep this checklist in mind, you’ll be A-OK.
All these standards ensure you’re only putting the highest quality CBD products into your body.
Just because CBD’s natural doesn’t mean you should bypass a chat with your doc before using it. This goes for everyone, but it’s especially important if you’re taking medications or pursuing other migraine therapies.
They show up with various symptoms, but migraines all have one thing in common: They’re the worst! They can also be resistant to treatment.
But new evidence points to endocannabinoid system deficiency as a possible cause of migraines. CBD interacts with the ECS, so it could be a useful tool for migraine treatment and prevention.
Stay tuned for new developments to add to the growing stack of research on CBD and migraines. In the meantime, you can get started with CBD to see if and how it benefits your migraine symptoms.
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