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CBD Oil for Migraines: The 3 Benefits Of This Emerging Migraine Treatment

One-line drawing of woman with face in her hands, on red background with text: CBD Oil For Migraines

CBD oil can help reduce the pain, nausea, and frequency of migraine headaches. Although more research is needed, medical studies of cannabinoids coupled with anecdotal evidence support the use of CBD oil for migraines.

CBD Oil For Migraines: The Highlights

  • CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that allows people to reap the health benefits of cannabis without the high.
  • CBD oil derived from hemp is legal, safe, and has few side effects, even at high doses.
  • CBD oil can reduce pain and nausea associated with migraines without the side effects of standard medications.
  • CBD can be taken in many ways, but CBD oil is one of the best options for migraine treatment.
  • Aside from treating migraines, CBD has plenty of additional benefits to offer a user.

What is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike its close relative tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is non-psychoactive, which means it does not make you high.

This makes it possible to enjoy the health benefits of marijuana without any of the mind-altering effects.

Today, CBD is becoming an increasingly popular natural supplement for supporting optimal health and well-being. In addition, some people take CBD to help with migraines. Although CBD products come in many forms, CBD oil is the most popular.

With this formulation, hemp oil rich in CBD is placed under the tongue, allowing for quick and effective absorption.

The Human Endocannabinoid System

The human body has an entire system dedicated to cannabinoids called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Similar to how a key fits into a lock, cannabinoids bind to endocannabinoid receptors in this system and activate them.

The ECS has a profound effect on human health by helping our bodies maintain homeostasis – a healthy state of balance.

Indeed, this system has been implicated in supporting a wide range of essential functions, including metabolism, immunity, inflammation, anxiety, mood, stress, sleep, memory, learning, and pain.

Unlike most cannabinoids, cannabidiol does not appear to have significant effects on the two identified cannabinoid receptors – CB1 and CB2.

Instead, CBD appears to interact with other receptors that may be part of the system, but have yet to be officially recognized. In addition, CBD has been demonstrated to increase levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide by reducing its breakdown.

Does CBD Get You High?

Without a doubt, the most exciting property of CBD is that it does not make you high.

In fact, a 2013 review paper by Dutch researchers noted that CBD can actually counteract the psychoactive effects of THC, which include cognitive impairment, anxiety, and paranoia. This makes CBD ideal for reaping the health benefits of cannabis while avoiding its intoxicating effects.

The Benefits of CBD Oil For Migraines

One of the less-discussed benefits of whole cannabis, cannabidiol, and other cannabinoids is their ability to ease migraine headaches. In fact, people have used cannabis to treat migraines and other types of headaches for thousands of years.

CBD can help with migraine headaches on several fronts:

  • Reducing pain
  • Reducing inflammation, which may play a significant role in migraines
  • Alleviating nausea associated with migraines

A Decrease in Pain and Intensity 

The major benefit of CBD in regards to migraines is the reduction of pain symptoms and headache intensity.

Indeed, medical marijuana and CBD are known as potent analgesics (pain relievers) and are particularly popular among people with chronic pain issues such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and migraines. 

A Decrease in the Frequency 

Aside from directly reducing pain and intensity, CBD oil can also reduce the number of times that migraines occur. This reduction results from having fewer migraines in general, as well as migraines that go away shortly after CBD oil is taken.

A Decrease in Nausea

In addition, migraine headaches are often accompanied by symptoms of nausea. As it turns out, CBD can help here as well, thanks to its potent antiemetic (anti-vomiting) properties.

CBD Oil for Migraines: What The Research Says

Research on treating migraines with CBD is still in its early stages. As it stands, there are currently no studies on the use of isolated CBD in people with migraines.

However, there is a growing volume of research on the use of the whole cannabis plant.

This research is still relevant because CBD is a major component of cannabis, and because most CBD oil preparations include the whole spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids present in the whole plant.

Recent Studies 

In one 2016 study performed by researchers from the University of Colorado, 121 adult migraine sufferers were given medical marijuana for four years. A total of 40% of the patients reported fewer migraines – a reduction from an average of 10.4 to 4.6 headaches per month.

The most common benefit of cannabis was the prevention of migraines, decreased frequency, and aborted headaches (a migraine that went away shortly after using cannabis).

In addition, a 2017 review paper by cannabis researchers at the University of California looked at all available research on the topic of cannabinoids and headaches.

This paper suggests that cannabinoids can help prevent the spike in serotonin levels that may play a significant role in causing migraines.

The researchers concluded that “there are sufficient anecdotal and preliminary results” to warrant clinical studies of medical marijuana for chronic migraines and other headache disorders.

They also reported that many Californians use medical marijuana for migraine relief when prescription medications and drugs don’t work.

Furthermore, a 2018 study by Washington State University researchers demonstrated that the cannabinoid THC alleviated migraines in rats, leading them to conclude that cannabinoids can be useful in migraine treatment.

Risks Associated With CBD Oil And Migraines

Although it may cause minor side effects, CBD oil is an exceptionally safe and legal substance. Having said that, you do have to do your due diligence when shopping around for CBD and other cannabis products.

Is CBD Legal? 

Although the legal status of CBD has been a contentious issue, the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp and hemp-derived products such as CBD oil legal in the United States. Hemp is a term for cannabis plants with THC levels of 0.3% or less.

The only exception to this rule is CBD products made from marijuana – cannabis plants that contain over 0.3% THC.

Every state has its own legislation for marijuana, with some allowing recreational use, others allowing medical use, and some prohibiting it entirely.

For instance, many states allow for medical marijuana use to help with Dravet syndrome – a rare form of childhood epilepsy.

Avoiding Fake or Mislabeled CBD

Finding a high-quality CBD product is a serious concern because the cannabis wellness industry in the U.S. is still young. The best way to avoid low-quality, fake, and mislabeled CBD products is to do some online research before purchasing.

The first thing to look for is companies that post independent third-party lab test results of their products. This will confirm they contain as much CBD and other cannabinoids as advertised.

In addition, you should look for companies that have positive customer reviews and are transparent about how their CBD products are made.

Dry mouth, Drowsiness and Other Side Effects

Although CBD products are safe and well-tolerated, some people report experiencing mild side effects such as dry mouth, drowsiness, sleepiness, lightheadedness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite.

The likelihood of experiencing these symptoms increases with higher doses.

How To Use CBD Oil for Migraines

CBD oil is used in the same way for anxiety and other ailments, including headaches and migraines. Simply put the desired number of drops under your tongue, hold for 30-60 seconds to allow for absorption, and wait for the effects to kick in.

Most people take CBD oil when they feel a migraine attack coming on, although it can also be taken throughout the day.

CBD Oil Dosage for Migraines

There is no standard, research-supported dosage of CBD oil for treatment of migraines. Having said that, most CBD oil users take doses of 15-50 mg to ease migraines. If it’s your first time using CBD, it’s best to start low and increase the dosage until you feel the desired effects.

It’s recommended that you keep track of your progress in regards to dosing. Start low and slow and gauge your reactions to the dosage. If you feel you need more, raise the dosage and jot down the results.

Other CBD Products For Migraines 

Aside from CBD oil, CBD can also be taken in many other forms, including capsules, edibles, patches, and vape e-liquid.


Some people take edible CBD gummies to ease migraines. Gummies and other edibles have the advantage of effects that can last well over six hours.

However, edibles are not as effective as other forms of CBD because they have to go through the digestive tract. This not only reduces the absorption of CBD but also increases the time for its effects to be felt.


Capsules are another popular form of CBD that can be taken daily or as needed to deal with migraines. Much like gummies and other edibles, however, they suffer from low absorption and a lengthy onset.


Another method of taking CBD is transdermal patches that are slowly absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin. This method has better absorption than CBD capsules and edibles and offers continuous relief.

CBD Oil For Migraines: The Last Word 

CBD holds great potential in replacing expensive, side-effect-ridden migraine drugs and medications.

Indeed, marijuana has a long history of use for treating migraines and recent medical research is beginning to highlight the effectiveness of cannabinoids – including CBD – in alleviating migraines.

Although more research targeting CBD specifically is needed, there is a good deal of anecdotal evidence and plausible neurobiological mechanisms for how CBD can help migraine patients.

Existing evidence suggests CBD can not only help relieve migraine pain and inflammation but also provide additional benefits such as reduction of nausea.

It can be taken in many forms, but CBD oil and vape e-juice tend to be the most effective due to higher absorption and faster effects.


Frequently Asked Questions


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always check with your doctor before starting a new dietary supplement program. 

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