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Does CBD help against headaches?

18/08/2022 5 MIN. READ Sophie Klingler
18/08/2022 5 MIN. READ Sophie Klingler

Drilling, pounding or hammering... The thunderclap headache, ice pick headache or even the post-orgasm headache. As if one type of headache wasn't enough, according to the International Headache Society (IHS) there are almost 200 types of headaches. It’s enough to give you a headache!

Headaches are not a walk in the park. And since we believe that you deserve all the help you can get, we’ve compiled some important tips and information on the subject. And at the very end, you’ll find out if and how CBD could be useful against headaches.

AT A GLANCE: CBD OIL AND HEADACHES


LISTEN TO WHO’S HAMMERING: WHY ALL HEADACHES ARE NOT THE SAME

TOTALLY HAMMERED? HEADACHE MEDICATION

WHAT CBD OIL MIGHT DO FOR HEADACHES

SIDE EFFECTS OF CBD

WHY A COUNTER ATTACK ISN'T ALWAYS THE BEST DEFENSE

CBD OIL FOR HEADACHES

FAQ: CBD for Headaches



 

LISTEN TO WHO’S HAMMERING: WHY ALL HEADACHES ARE NOT THE SAME

There’s a distinction between primary and secondary headaches — a difference that also plays an important role regarding treatment.

Primary headaches are the kind that have no accompanying condition. These include:

  • Migraines
  • Tension headaches
  • Cluster headaches

Secondary headaches are the kind that (as you probably guessed) accompany another associated condition, such as:

  • infections 
  • mental illnesses (e.g. depression)
  • conditions affecting the head (e.g. misaligned teeth, ear-nose-throat conditions) and the cervical spine
  • blood pressure disorders
  • food intolerances 
  • drug reactions or side effects 

While the goal in both cases is to alleviate the symptoms, the treatment of secondary headaches should ideally address the root causes too.

TOTALLY HAMMERED? HEADACHE MEDICATION

As headaches can cause lots of suffering, it’s tempting to resort to more and more medication. However, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends taking medications on 10 days per month or more or paracetamol, aspirin or an NSAID, either alone or in any combination, on 15 days per month or more.

Otherwise, there’s a risk that the medication may conversely contribute to the development of further headaches. Yikes… 

But it’s also possible that none of these medications help at all. And there’s still no magic herb against headaches. Or maybe there is?

The “herb” we’re talking about is none other than the cannabis plant. It’s been used for headaches since the days of yore. Check out our article on migraines for a brief history on the use of cannabis to treat headaches.

There’s also scientific evidence from as recently as 2019 that inhaling medical cannabis could reduce the ‘self-reported headache severity by 47.3% and migraine severity by 49.6%’.

And since we are now fortunate enough to be able to extract the cannabinoid CBD from the rest of the plant, it might no longer be necessary to use all of cannabis’ active ingredients (like the psychotropic ones) to treat headaches. As a much lower-risk and more practical option, we might benefit from trying CBD for headaches – whose side effects are less severe than the risks of cannabis with THC.

Yet while many repeatedly report positive experiences with CBD for headaches, unfortunately, there are still no conclusive studies on this topic. That’s why we’ve done our best to put together what’s out there.

WHAT CBD OIL MIGHT DO FOR HEADACHES

When it comes to headaches, obviously we’d jump at the chance to find something that works immediately. This is where CBD’s potential pain-relieving properties could have an impact. It could be that CBD helps mitigate the metabolisation of anandamide, which plays a role in pleasure, so that higher concentrations remain in the body and thus mitigate the sensation of pain. 

CBD might also have an impact on headaches via serotonin, as some researchers consider that the body’s fluctuating levels of this neurotransmitter could be involved in the development of a migraine attack. Ergotamines Triptans, a classic type of migraine drug, act as serotonin agonists to reduce inflammation, tighten blood vessels and thus stop the headache or migraine.

Homeostasis is a term that sometimes comes up in this discussion too. It refers to the balance of the systems in the body. Studies indicate that the body’s endocannabinoid system and the system for regulating serotonin levels could be closely related. It’s possible that the cannabinoid CBD could help support the balance between the two — and hopefully help us feel more clear-headed and balanced too.

SIDE EFFECTS OF CBD

Medicines for headaches and migraines can be pain in the neck and, ironically, lead to more headaches. And from what we know, cannabis doesn’t have a clean rap sheet either.

But what about CBD? Are there side effects or drug interactions to worry about?

At present day, only a few side effects are known about CBD. These include, for example, loss of appetite, drowsiness or restlessness. That said, these side effects often have to do when and in which form the CBD is taken.

In any case, when buying CBD, you should always go for a high-quality product like our CBD mouth spray in the CBD oil 10% and CBD oil 5% variant, our CBD drops in the CBD oil 20% and CBD oil 30% variant, our CBD bath bombs, hemp capsules or our CBD gel. And it’s always best to check with your doctor beforehand to be on the safe side, especially when it comes to potential interactions with other medications you might be taking.

 

WHY A COUNTER ATTACK ISN'T ALWAYS THE BEST DEFENSE

There might be steps you can take to prevent headaches before they even occur. For example, moderate regular exercise can be an effective way to reduce the frequency of migraines. As if there weren’t already enough good reasons to integrate a sweaty workout into your daily routine.

Not surprising but no less effective: Getting enough water and fresh air can also prevent headaches. Open the window every now and then while you’re working, and make a habit of always keeping a full glass of water on your desk. (And make sure to actually drink it!)

Too much stress and not enough sleep can also lead to headaches. CBD’s relaxing effects might help you bust stress and get more healthy sleep

 

CBD OIL FOR HEADACHES

  • There’s a difference between primary headaches (associated with no other conditions) and secondary headaches (resulting from another condition). In the case of the latter, treatment should also focus on the root causes, not just the headache itself.
  • For primary headaches such as tension headaches or migraines, it might be beneficial to try a holistic approach to treatment.
  • Exercising regularly, drinking enough water, getting fresh air, avoiding stress and getting a good night’s sleep can help prevent headaches.
  • CBD oil might alleviate existing headaches, as well as contribute to factors that can prevent headaches.

 

FAQ: CBD for Headaches

Which CBD oil is best for headaches?

In addition to the cannabinoid CBD, it might be helpful if the product also contains natural terpenes from the cannabis plant. The interaction of the cannabinoids with the terpenes is called the entourage effect, which might influence the oil’s full effects.  

When buying CBD, go for high-quality products that have been carefully manufactured. The supplier should make their production processes transparent on their label and website.

How long until CBD is no longer detectable in the body? 

Theoretically, CBD can be detected in both blood and urine. Exactly how long can’t be said for sure because of the limited number of studies, but it’s assumed to be a couple days.

The consumption of CBD alone is not punishable in Germany, so if you take a CBD isolate product in that country, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. In Germany as well as outside Germany, drug tests typically don’t test for CBD anyway. 

However, it could be problematic if the product contains trace amounts of THC, such as in full spectrum products if they’re not dosed and used as recommended. In Germany, CBD products may contain a maximum of 0.2% THC — and here at VAAY, we go even further by guaranteeing a THC content of less than 0.1 % in all of our products. 

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil and CBD fruit gums is an extract obtained from the flowers and leaves of the hemp plant. It has no psychotropic effects and is available legally in Germany and some parts of Europe, North America and around the world.

An advantage of CBD oil? It’s absorbed quickly through the oral mucosa of the mouth and can have long-lasting effects, settling in after 15- 60 minutes and lasting 4-6 hours. 

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