According to Migraine.com, approximately 37 million Americans are afflicted by migraines; and this condition affects up to 13% of adults. 2-3 million people have ‘chronic migraines,’ and almost 5 million people have at least one migraine a month. The Migraine Research Foundation shows that it is a global problem as it is the world’s third most prevalent illness.
What people don’t realize is the severity of a migraine attack and what it does to a person. It is small wonder that an increasing number of Americans are eschewing traditional treatments and focusing on CBD as a new way to deal with migraines. 91% of migraine sufferers admit that they are unable to work or function normally during an attack.
Whether you find it hard to work or else an attack takes you to the emergency room, keep reading to discover how CBD can help tackle your migraine.
Traditional Migraine Treatments & Their Side Effects
According to the Mayo Clinic, migraine medication falls into two distinct categories.
These are short-term painkillers you are supposed to consume as soon as possible after experiencing a symptom of a migraine. It is normally a good idea to lie down in a dark room and rest after taking these tablets. Common options include:
- Regular Pain Relievers: Well-known medications such as Aspirin or Advil are used for quick relief, and while there are plenty of drugs marketed especially for migraines, they are ineffective when it comes to severe cases.
- Triptans: This medication works by constricting the blood vessels and blocking pain pathways to your brain. Common Triptans include Zomig, Relpax, and Frova.
- Ergots: These are said to be more effective than Triptans and work best in cases where you’ve had pain for more than 48 hours.
Other options include anti-nausea medications, opioids, and glucocorticoids.
A physician may prescribe preventive medication if you have four or more bad attacks a month, if your attacks last 12+ hours if your symptoms include prolonged weakness or numbing or if pain-relieving medication doesn’t work.
These are long-term solutions, but you might not feel the impact for a few weeks. Typical preventive drugs include:
- Cardiovascular Drugs: Beta blockers are capable of reducing the length and frequency of migraine attacks.
- Antidepressants: They can work by impacting the level of serotonin and other brain chemicals.
- Anti-Seizure Drugs: Relevant drugs include Topamax and Depacon, and they can reduce the frequency and duration of migraine attacks.
Other options include Botox and NSAIDs.
There are side effects reported with almost every option:
- Pain Relievers: Ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Triptans: Nausea, muscle weakness, and reactions at the injection site.
- Ergots: Can cause nausea and vomiting to get worse.
- Antidepressants: Weight gain, insomnia, and constipation.
- Anti-Seizure Drugs: Weight loss, diarrhea, memory and concentration problems.
How CBD Can Help With Your Migraines
With such a long list of side effects associated with migraine medication, it is not a surprise to find that more and more people are turning to CBD for a solution to migraines. It is worth remembering that cannabis has been used to treat headaches for thousands of years and in the modern era, people who use it report a reduction in the severity and frequency of their migraine attacks. Best of all, they don’t have to deal with nasty side effects.
One of the most interesting pieces of research relating to migraines and CBD was conducted recently. The findings of the study were reported at the 3rd Congress of the European Academy of Neurology which took place in Amsterdam in June 2017.
The study was led by Dr. Maria Nicolodi of the Interuniversity Center in Italy and was designed to investigate the efficacy of CBD when treating cluster and migraine headaches. It was a two-phase study.
In phase one, 48 adults with chronic migraine received a dose of cannabis which was comprised of two compounds; 19% THC and 9% CBD. Remarkably, patients that received a daily 200mg dose of the THC: CBD compound for three months experienced 55% less pain! Interestingly, patients who received doses of 100mg or less reported little in the way of pain reduction.
Phase two involved 79 people with chronic migraine and 48 with cluster headache. The migraine group received either 200mg of the THC: CBD combination or 25mg of an antidepressant called amitriptyline per day. The cluster headache group received either 200mg of THC: CBD a day or 80mg of a calcium channel blocker called verapamil.
Patients that experienced acute pain were allowed take another 200mg of THC: CBD. Amongst the migraine patients, the THC: CBD combo reduced pain by 40.4% over three months; amitriptyline also performed well with a reduction in pain of 40.1%. Those who took the THC: CBD dose also experienced a 43.5% reduction in pain intensity.
Oddly enough, the THC: CBD dose was only effective in the cluster headache group if they had experienced migraine as a child. The study concluded that cannabinoids are effective when preventing migraine attacks but are less so for people with cluster headaches.
What CBD Oils Should You Use For Migraines?
While research is still relatively limited, it is clear that only oils high in CBD are likely to be effective when treating migraines. We carefully analyze all the old and new CBD providers on the market to ensure they are genuinely creating products with pure CBD and no additives or chemicals. Feel to view our CBD Oil Comparison Table, to see who ranked #1.
Final Thoughts on CBD & Migraines
Early research into the effect of CBD on migraines suggests that it is probably more effective than prescription medications when it comes to reducing the frequency and intensity of migraine headache attacks.
Hopefully, further research will prove the efficacy of CBD as a painkiller as it would enable it to supplant opioids as the pain reliever of choice. As you probably know, the United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic with tens of thousands of people dying from opioid abuse annually. CBD, on the other hand, provides a clean and natural way to fight back against pain.
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