Usually a self-diagnosable condition, migraines are intense, throbbing, and recurring headaches that can last anywhere between 4 hours to even 4 days. It can also occur several times a day.
So, what can one do to manage these attacks or prevent them from occurring? Normal treatments include preventives, including medications, therapy, exercise, precautionary measures, etc. Many patients often need pain-killers and some surgical methods when everything else fails.
However, there is one natural method. We’ve all heard of CBD – a natural component of cannabis plants – being an effective pain-reliever. The question is: Can it alleviate migraine headaches? After all, migraines aren’t your regular headache!
CBD has been known to man since history itself for its many therapeutic benefits that include relieving pain, stress, and inflammation, restoring sleep issues and curbing anxiety and depression, besides offering relaxation, rejuvenation, and overall sense of wellbeing.
In this article, we’ll discuss the various aspects of migraine attacks and what can be done to treat it, especially with CBD oils. We’ll also look into the veracity of claims of CBD oils’ efficacy in treating migraines, backed by scientific research.
Lastly, we’ll inform you about the safest, most effective, and best-quality CBD oils that can provide you with some relief from these powerful, nagging, and pounding headaches – at least until the next wave arrives!
Best Brands of CBD Products for Migraines: Making the list
Migraines can be tough to treat and we, at “The Cannabis Radar (TCR)”, understand what it is to be a migraine patient frustrated with the fact that there is no cure for it. Besides, the low rate of efficacy and high levels of side effects associated with conventional medication and treatment methods can be all the more perplexing.
That is why we continually try to keep our readers informed about all the research being carried out on “CBD and its Effects” since many scientists believe that this could be the answer to a lot of health issues.
However, it is not easy to understand and gauge the effects and the veracity of different brands of CBD available in the market. There are way too many brands to know the good from the bad and the ugly.
So, we subject every CBD brand to our brand of litmus test. Here’s how we do it:
- We select the 50 best and most popular brands in the market
- We study thousands of user reviews (the brand’s website, external blogs, social media platforms, and open forums)
- We seek the opinion of our readers and over 8,000 of our direct subscribers through a survey
- We try out over 15 of the most reputed brands to check their efficacy before we come up with the Top 5 Brands of CBD Products
1) FabCBD’s CBD Oil- Natural
Despite being a small brand, FabCBD has established itself as a reliable brand, with a large number of loyal customers across the US. Its products are safe, potent, effective, as well as quite affordable.
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3)CBDistillery CBD Oil - full-Spectrum
CBDistilliery is one of the few CBD brands to provide some of the best quality CBD products at competitive prices.The brand also provides free shipping for all domestic orders worth over $75.
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4) NuLeaf Naturals CBD Oil - full-Spectrum
NuLeaf Naturals sells only premium-quality, organically grown, full-spectrum hemp oil. It utilizes a superior brand of genetic engineering for its extraction and filtration processes.
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5) Joy Organics CBD Oil- broad-Spectrum
oy Organics is known for its premium-quality, organic, broad-spectrum CBD products. Its products are all quite affordable too.
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Best CBD Brands for Migraines 2020: TCR’s List of Selected Brands
Despite being a small brand, FabCBD has established itself as a reliable brand, with a large number of loyal customers across the US. Its products are safe, potent, effective, as well as quite affordable. FabCBD’s products are:
- Made from organically sourced hemp
- Contain only natural ingredients
- Mostly vegan and gluten-free
- Third-party lab-tested (results available on brand site)
- Made from CO2 fluid extracted CBD
- Contains no artificial additives or preservatives
FabCBD maintains a very high standard of quality control and customer care management. It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all its products.
Known for its high standards of quality control and organic farming, CbdMD is one of America’s most popular CBD brands. It offers high-quality products at affordable prices. Besides, it also provides free shipping on all its orders across the US. CbdMD also provides a “30-day money-back guarantee” on all its products, irrespective of the price or type. CbdMD’s CBD products are:
- Made from clean, pure, safe, and potent organically sourced hemp extracts
- Third-party lab-tested
- Free from pesticides, solvents, heavy metals, and THC
- CBD oils are 100% vegan and gluten-free
- Contains no artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or additives
CBDistilliery is one of the few CBD brands to provide some of the best quality CBD products at competitive prices. To make “hemp-derived CBD products” easily available, this Denver-based brand started its #CBDMOVEMENT mission. The brand also provides free shipping for all domestic orders worth over $75. Its products are:
- Extracted with the help of Fluid CO2 Process
- Potent, clean, pure, safe and effective
- Third-party lab-tested
The full-spectrum tinctures contain all the natural ingredients of industrial hemp (i.e. terpenes, flavonoids, omega fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, proteins, and other phytonutrients), while its THC-free CBD isolate tinctures are a great choice for users who must undergo regular drug tests.
One of the pioneering Us-based CBD brands, NuLeaf Naturals offers only CBD oil tinctures. NuLeaf Naturals sells only premium-quality, organically grown, full-spectrum hemp oil. It utilizes a superior brand of genetic engineering for its extraction and filtration processes. These CBD oils are third-party lab-tested, 100% pure and clean, and solvent-free. They contain no pesticides, GMOs, additives, sweeteners, or preservatives.
A family-owned brand, Joy Organics is known for its premium-quality, organic, broad-spectrum CBD products. Its products are all quite affordable too. Most of this brand’s products are vegan and gluten-free. Its products contain no artificial preservatives, additives, or sweeteners. All its products are third-party lab-tested and confirmed to contain no contaminants.
300mg, 600mg, 1200mg & 2400mg (30ml bottles)
300mg, 750mg, 1500mg, 3000mg, 5000mg, 7500mg (30ml bottles)
250mg, 500mg, 1000mg, 2500mg, & 5000mg (both full-spectrum & CBD isolates – 30ml bottles)
50mg/ml (240mg – 4850mg in bottles ranging from 5ml to 100ml in size)
225mg – 1350mg (30ml bottles)
Organically grown hemp extract, full-spectrum cannabinoid blend, natural flavoring, terpenes, medium-chain triglycerides (fractionated coconut oil – carrier oil) (May contain traces of hemp-derived THC, <0.3%)
Organic broad-spectrum CBD extract, MCT (coconut) oil, natural flavorings
Fractionated coconut oil (MCT, i.e. medium-chain triglycerides), full-spectrum CBD hemp extract (aerial parts)/CBD isolates
USDA-certified organic hemp oil, full-spectrum hemp extract
Organic extra-virgin olive oil (carrier oil in natural & mint-flavored variants), organic MCT (carrier in lemon & orange flavors, cannabinoid-rich hemp extract, terpenes (humulene, myrcene, and β‑caryophyllene in all flavored variants), and organic essential oils (in all flavored variants).
Citrus, Mint, Natural, Berry & Vanilla
Natural (hempy), Mint, Orange, Berry (plant extracts)
Flavorless or natural, i.e. hempy
Natural, Tranquil Mint, Summer Lemon, Orange Bliss
PIXIS Labs, Botanacor Services, Green Scientific Labs, PhytaTech Metrics & Solutions, and Cloud Labs (depending on batch)
$39 – $129 ($0.05/mg – $0.13/mg)
$29.99 – $339.99 ($0.05/mg – $0.10/mg)
$19 (250mg THC-free) – $240 (5000mg full-spectrum) ($0.05/mg – $0.08/mg)
$38.50 – $439 ($0.09/mg – $0.16/mg)
$29.95 – $99.95 ($0.07/mg – $0.13/mg)
Migraines: The Condition, Causes & Symptoms
Migraines don’t pose a life threat, but it can have very disruptive effects on our moods, relationships, overall wellbeing, and life in general. They are very painful and often prevent the body and mind from functioning properly.
According to the American Migraine Foundation, such headaches affect the lives of over 36 million Americans today (around 12% of the country’s population). However, only one in every three patients actually takes it up with a medical practitioner. Incidentally, like most other pain-related issues, women are more susceptible to such attacks than men – in fact, three times more!
For most people, a migraine attack affects only one side of the head. For others, it’s felt on both sides. Although there is no specific age limit for migraines, it’s usually observed just before or during the onset of puberty and seems to dissipate once one crosses the age of active sexual life, putting those between 15 and 55 years of age at higher risk of experiencing such attacks.
These headaches are quite unpredictable. They may appear at any time of the day, but they mostly start in the morning. The symptoms aren’t always the same for everyone; some suffer from migraines once to thrice a week, others may not experience it more than once a year.
Common Symptoms of Migraine
The usual symptoms include:
- Intense throbbing or dull aching pain on one both side(s) of the head, sometimes accompanied by weakness and fatigue in one side of the body
- Pain that worsens with physical activity, loud noises, bright light, strong smell, or other triggers
- Nausea and/or vomiting and upset stomach
- Blurred vision, flashing lights, or blind spots & other vision disturbances (aura)
- Fatigue and/or confusion
- Stiffness or tenderness on neck and shoulders
- Feeling cold or sweaty, or even a fever (rare)
- Anxiety and/or depression
People who frequently suffer from migraines generally (not always) experience them in phases. If one can figure out a pattern and identify the phases and their symptoms, these attacks are preventable.
Phases of Migraine
- Prodrome: This premonitory phase is a forewarning of an impending migraine attack. Although considered as the first phase stage/phase of migraine, not everyone experiences this phase. This starts a few hours to a few days before the actual headache. The telltale signs include:
- Mood swings
- Depression, anxiety, irritability
- Difficulty focusing
- Stiffness on the back of the neck and shoulders
- Fatigue (may or may not be accompanied by yawning)
- Hypersensitivity to light, sound, and smell
- Digestive issues
- Craving for some specific food items
- Unusual thirst & frequent urination
- Aura: Auras are sensory disturbances that also act as warning signals for some people. It’s experienced by only of migraine patients and not always a precursor to a headache either. It may occur…
- without a headache
- during a headache
- not occur at all before a headache
These warning signs can gradually change over time and last for around 60 minutes (over 60 minutes for 20% of migraine patients).
The usual signs are:
- Blurry vision or temporary vision loss
- Flashing, shimmering, or dancing lights
- Blind spots in one or both eyes
- The appearance of geometric patterns in front of your eye(s)
- Trouble expressing thoughts in proper sentences or completing the train of thoughts
- Forgetfulness and/or inability to register or focus on things and people around them
- Tingling sensation in the face and hands and even numbness
- Headache: This is the main phase of a migraine attack. It’s marked by the pain of varying intensity on either or both sides of the head of an individual. It may persist for at least several hours to even 3 – 4 days. Besides headache, other symptoms include:
- Nausea and/or vomiting, along with an upset stomach
- Anxiety and/or depression
- Unnatural sensitivity to light, sound, and smell
- Postdrome: Often called “migraine hangover”, it’s experienced by about 80% of people with migraines. It exhibits issues like:
- Lack of focus
- Hypersensitivity to light, sound, and smells
Exposure to the usual triggers may aggravate the condition, and can even result in another wave of a migraine attack.
Types of Migraines
Based on the occurrence of aura, migraines are of three types:
- Migraine with aura or classic migraines
- Migraine without aura or common migraine
- Migraine aura without a headache or silent migraines (the aura doesn’t develop into a headache)
Other types of headaches that do fall under migraines include:
A rare type of migraine that causes one side of the body to temporarily feel weak, fatigued, or even heavy, making it feel a lot like a stroke. These conditions may appear before or after the headache, affects the face, arm, or legs, and usually persists around 24 hours (an hour to even 2 – 3 days at times).
Retinal migraines or ocular migraines
It causes vision disturbances that aren’t related to aura and can lead to temporary partial or complete blindness in one eye.
Other types include menstrual migraines (occurring before or during periods in women and teenage girls), abdominal migraines (involving irregular functioning of the digestive system among children below 14), chronic migraines (with patients suffering for 15 days in a month), and migraines with brainstem aura (due to a problem in the brainstem and can lead to serious neurological issues, like affected speech).
Usual Causes of Migraine
No one has yet been able to clearly identify the actual cause of migraines. Many researchers believe that migraines are caused by hyperactive nerve cells sending out signals (mostly out of turn) and activating the trigeminal nerve that is responsible for controlling the sensations in your head and face.
When this nerve is activated, certain chemicals, like calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), are released. Its secretion leads to the blood vessels on the brain’s outer periphery to inflame, putting pressure on nearby nerves. This causes the release of certain neurotransmitters that result in inflammation and pain.
Nevertheless, some common triggers can be identified among patients.
- Stressful situations that makes one anxious or depressed
- Extreme physical or mental exertion
- Weather changes (temperature, pressure, altitude, etc.)
- Environmental triggers, involving the sense organs:
- Olfactory/Nose: Dust, pollens, strong odors, gaseous fumes & air pollution
- Optic/Eyes: Abrupt or unnatural visual stimulus, like flickering or flashing lights,
- Vestibulocochlear/Ears: Loud noises
- Other environmental issues, like stuffy rooms (lack of sufficient oxygen)
- Smoking or second-hand smoke
- Processed foods
- Food additives
- artificial sweeteners (such as aspartame)
- preservatives (such as monosodium glutamate or MSG)
- Insufficient sleep or sleep pattern changes
- Hormonal changes during the onset of menstrual cycles
- Hormone medications, like birth control and hormone replacement therapies
- Other medications, like vasodilators (like nitroglycerin)
- Family history: It has to do a lot with genetics! Those with parents or close relatives with migraines are more likely to suffer from it. About 90% of migraine patients have a family history.
- Gender: Adult women are at 3 times higher risk of having migraines than men. The opposite is true for children.
- Age: Migraines generally begin when you reach puberty, increase in intensity and recurrence in your 30s and recede in your mid- to late-50s.
Possible Treatments For Migraines
There is no cure for migraines, but there are a few treatment methods. However, they may not necessarily apply to everyone.
- Preventive or Prophylactic Options: Exercise, yoga, lifestyle changes, better diet, adequate water intake, avoiding the triggers, quitting smoking and drinking, as well as preventive medications that address these triggers, like anti-depressants, blood-pressure reducing medications, anti-seizure drugs, etc.
- Abortive, Acute, or Pain-Relief Medications: Regular pain-killers (aspirin or ibuprofen), triptans (prescription drugs), dihydroergotamines sprays, or injections, lasmiditan, ubrogepant, opioids, and anti-nausea drugs.
- CGRP Monoclonal Antibodies: These are FDA-approved monthly injections meant to counter the effects of calcitonin gene-related peptide that is released by the brain, causing a migraine.
- Botox Injections: An injection of botulinum toxin (Botox) into the extracranial sensory branches of the trigeminal and cervical spinal nerves may help when everything else has failed. The FDA approved its use as a treatment for chronic migraine in 2010.
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS: A magnetic device placed on your head when you start experiencing an aura or a headache can sometimes reduce or stop the attack.
- Acupuncture: Pressure at the right points may help release the pressure on the head causing the migraines.
- Biofeedback: It involves training your mind to learn how to monitor and control your body’s responses to stress. Counseling also helps if migraines are related to depression or anxiety.
- CBD oils: This is fast becoming one of the safest, most non-invasive, and effective methods of treatment, with the least possibility of side effects. Available in different forms and delivery methods, CBD has been seen to reduce most, if not all, of the usual symptoms and issues associated with migraines.
Studies on CBD & Migraines
A study, titled: “Emerging Role of (Endo)Cannabinoids in Migraine”, published in the medical magazine ‘Frontiers in Pharmacy” suggests the use of CBD oil for migraines. However, there is still a dearth of sufficient evidence to support CBD’s efficacy in treating (acutely) and preventing migraines. Some of the relevant scientific studies are as follows:
- According to the researchers of the study “Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs”, published in Future Medicinal Chemistry, both CBD and THC, irrespective of their other effects (and side effects) contribute enormously towards alleviating pain and inflammation and are potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs of the future.
- A 2016 study suggested that medical marijuana may reduce the frequency of migraine headaches among adults. However, this research didn’t specify anything about CBD oil in particular.
- The results of a 2009 study suggested that cannabinoids may have the potential to treat chronic pain in people who want to reduce the use of opioids after their prolonged use.
- Another 2018 study, confirmed that cannabinoids can safely replace opioids as a successful treatment of migraine, headache, arthritis, or chronic pain.
- A 2018 study, titled “Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules”, indicates that cannabinoids, including CBD, can help reduce different kinds of chronic and acute pain. However, the study does not specify migraines.
- At the 3rd Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN), held in 2017, researchers found evidence of CBD’s role in preventing and reducing migraine pain. This was particularly more effective when CBD was administered in combination with THC.
Besides these, there is sufficient anecdotal evidence from users worldwide to support claims that CBD indeed alleviates the effects of migraine attacks.
Best Forms of CBD & Delivery Methods to Treat Migraines
According to the efficiency of CBD and the way it is administered, this non-psychoactive cannabinoid can be effective in curbing and reducing migraine attacks.
The different ways CBD can be used for migraines are:
- CBD Oils used sublingually (advised) or mixed with foods or drinks as edibles
- CBD Capsules used as an edible, i.e. swallowed with water
- CBD Gummies consumed as an edible, like any other candy, is a fun way to consume CBD
- CBD Creams & Salves applied on your forehead or areas where the migraine attack pains occur [best used when complemented with systemic administration]
There are also other forms of using CBD. However, they are not ideal or preferred, like CBD suppositories (pills inserted into the anus) and CBD vape liquids (inhaled with the help of vaporizers).
Can CBD Really Help Treat Migraines?
The Science Behind CBD & Migraines
Even though research in this area is scarce, it has generally been seen to be effective in reducing inflammation and pain. Since the root cause of this kind of headache is believed to be inflammation of blood vessels around the trigeminal and cervical spinal nerves, it’s believed to be effective in the acute treatment of migraines.
Researchers think that CBD limits inflammation within the body, thus reducing pain and other immune-system responses. Besides, it can also be used as a preventive, since CBD, when taken regularly, promotes homeostasis (or chemical balance within the body) and boosts overall health.
CBD is believed to prevent the body from metabolizing anandamide, a compound that regulates the body’s pain sensation. Increasing or maintaining high levels of anandamide in the bloodstream is expected to reduce pain sensations.
How Much CBD To Use For Migraines?
There is no thumb rule for CBD use. Just as the best-suited mode of administration differs from person to person, its required dosage also depends on several factors or variables that are specific to the person taking it.
No matter the kind of condition being treated for, including migraines, CBD dosage depends on these general factors:
- Bodyweight: Heavier users need heavier doses
- Age: Adults need more than the kids or the elderly
- Gender: Women are more sensitive to cannabinoids and hence need less than men
- The Severity or Intensity of the Condition – no matter what the ailment is
- The Extent of the Condition: Localized issues need less CBD than those affecting the whole body
- Usage, bioavailability & safety: Sublingual use (tinctures) are more effective than edibles (both are safe), but the former is less preferred by those who do not wish to taste it. Vape products offer instant impact and are highly effective, but maybe inconvenient to use and have harmful effects on the pulmonary system.