If you’ve ever had one, you will certainly know the difference between a migraine and a headache. If you’ve never had one, it’s a little having having your head crammed between a vice while a circular saw blade furiously rotates across your vision and even a 30 Watt bulb seems to create a torturous light so bright even the sun couldn’t compete. Migraines can often be accompanied with nausea, vomiting, passing out, increased sensitity and other symptoms just to make sure you know you’re not just having a headache. To many, the cause of migraines is still an anomoly, but triggers can be stress, tiredness, hunger, certain foods like chocolate, drinks like alcohol and hormonal imbalances. The latter may explain why 1 in 5 women suffer from migraines compared to 1 in 15 men.
So how can we treat migraines?
The National Migraine Centre recommends the following;
‘Acute migraine treatment can be with painkillers or triptans. Not all painkillers work well for migraine: most find aspirin or ibuprofen better than paracetamol or codeine. Triptans are not painkillers but usually work well for migraine, because they mimic serotonin: sumatriptan is available without prescription. Other useful migraine medications include stronger versions of ibuprofen, called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and anti-sickness drugs.
Migraine needs early acute treatment: there is a “window of opportunity” that can take some time and experimentation to establish, for each patient. Sometimes aspirin or NSAIDs work well at prodrome or aura, but triptan use may need to wait until headache begins. When you know what works for you, always keep a small supply with you. During a migraine attack the stomach can stop working, so drugs are not well absorbed.’
Another way of tackling migraines is to prevent them in the first place. If you have worked out what triggers them, then this can certainly help. If it’s a certain food, avoid it. If it’s stress, do what you can to remain calm, like taking CBD! But it’s all you can do and it’s not guaranteed as who doesn’t experience stress at times? Who wants to avoid alcohol or chocolate forever? There are medications available that mostly work on serotonin, but can take a few months to work and usually have only a partial benefit, no-one has yet found a way of guaranteeing freedom from migraine.
Can CBD help?
Cannabis has been used for centuries for both symptomatic and prophylactic treatment of migraine. It was highly regarded as a headache remedy by physicians until 1942 when prohibition put a stop to this plants medical and personal uses. More recently there have been biochemical studies of THC and Anandamide (one of the endogenous cannabinoids) that have provided a scientiﬁc basis for such treatment, but as yet, no controlled clinical trial of Cannabis’ affects on migraines and headaches has been carried or, more specifically, CBD in acute migraine treatment have been conducted. Well, there was one where Cannabis proved more effective than Ibuprofen on headaches, but that was using nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid.
Jennie wasn’t taking CBD for migraines, but…
I’ve been using The Tonic CBD patches and 6% water soluble solution for my Rheumatoid Arthritis pain. Hadn’t realised untill you mentioned CBD oil and migraines in you newsletter, that I haven’t had migraine since using the CBD patches! I don’t have them very often but when I do they’re the sort that affect my vision, make me feel sick and the left side of my face drops. Literally no symptoms since using the patches!!! As I’ve said before these patches have changed my life! I’m sure I’ll keep noticing other things the longer I use them. Jennie Lloyd
There has been a preliminary study on 1,300 patients carried out by the Washington State University. This was testing the results of inhaled cannabis, where it was self-reported that headache severity was reduced by 47.3% and migraine severity by 49.6%. The study was led by Carrie Cuttler, a Washington State University assistant professor of psychology. “We were motivated to do this study because a substantial number of people say they use cannabis for headache and migraine, but surprisingly few studies had addressed the topic,” said Cuttler, the lead author on the paper. “Since cannabis is made up of over 100 cannabinoids, this finding suggests that different cannabinoids or other constituents like terpenes may play the central role in headache and migraine relief”
I recently read an article which I shared on our facebook page about how CBD improves blood flow to the hippocampus, which can be read here. Just a thought, but maybe this could have some influence on migraine relief…
Marie’s experience of our 6%
“I’m about 10/11 days in now to taking the 8% CBD oil and have found a few positive changes. Specifically relating to my migraines, I have noticed I have experienced fewer onsets of a migraine. I would usually get a few onsets of a migraine per week and would need to take my medication to prevent this becoming a full blown migraine.
I did have one onset last week, I usually get a certain ‘feeling’ in the right side of my brain which says to me I am going to get a migraine in the next few hours. I would usually need to take my medication soon after this feeling, however I decided to try CBD first. I had taken my 2 sprays that morning (which has become my routine now), however I took another 2 sprays as soon as I had this feeling and it didn’t progress in to anything and no medication was needed.
Over the weekend, my routine was broken and I in fact forgot to take my 2 sprays of CBD on Saturday morning. I was then out walking all day and realised too late I hadn’t taken it. I don’t know if it was a coincidence, but that night I suffered with a migraine overnight, which resulted in me needing my medication.
I would certainly say CBD is helping with my migraines, whether that is a direct link to helping or indirect link because it is has relaxed me some what, helping me sleep and also stopping some anxiety and stress.
If you’re struggling with migraines and haven’t worked out what triggers yours, try and keep a migraine diary. There are some tips here on the Migraine and monthly and yearly diaries for you to download. And if you’d like to see if CBD can help you, get in touch [email protected]