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Massive Migraine? How CBD Can Help

Monster migraine? Brain pain? Jabs and jolts?

In the past 10 years, research on the effects of cannabis on human subjects has become of increasing interest to scientists, researchers, and medical professionals. A derivative of the cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis, commonly known as CBD, has been explained to have a reduction in pain and migraines. Furthermore, meaning that CBD has been shown to help treat migrainesMigraines affect more than 10% of the world’s population, thus, accounting for approximately 700 million “migraineurs” around the world. Whoa.

There is a continuing accumulation of research being done analyzing various therapeutic effects and benefits of cannabidiol, especially in the treatment of pain, which may also apply to the treatment and management of migraines. Cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) sciences are quickly evolving within the research and medical industries, with increasingly regulated production and protocol standards. However, further research is needed to optimize the use of cannabinoids for potential user effects and specific symptom-targeted therapies.

Ready? Let's get to it.


Despite the lack of studies in migraine and headache treatment with cannabis and cannabinoids, there are many well-designed prospective placebo trials and controlled trials suggesting benefits to cannabinoid use in the treatment of pain. 

So where do we start? The ECS. 

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) encompasses both the central and peripheral nervous systems. The ECS is involved in pain and inflammatory responses and processes, and also plays a role in regulatory and physiological processes across organ systems. The endocannabinoid system works alone as well as alongside other systems. For instance, the ECS works to bind molecular targets within major pain circuitry systems. The efficacy of cannabinoids in the treatment of chronic neuropathic pain, for example, is partly attributed to the ECS modulation of the descending inhibitory pathways.

The ECS works somewhat like a mail person - taking in entering mail, putting stamps and modifications on the entering mail, then sending off the updated and modified mail with the mail person’s input on it. Simple, right? 


According to a research article in Neurology, the synaptic effects of cannabinoids do have a part in synaptic regulation in the CNS. Although the body has its own endogenous cannabinoids, plant-derived cannabinoids have been researched as a potential therapeutic option in a variety of areas and conditions due to their modulation of the ECS. Thus, the cannabinoid system provides a potential therapeutic target, with a leading interest in the use of CBD for the management of some neurological conditions.

In short, CBD has been shown to reduce neuropathic pain by targeting specific receptors within the endocannabinoid system.


Cannabis research studies in the areas of human utilization and application in the past decade have been extremely small in numbers. However, recent studies have begun to show promise in the research, focusing on human interventions with CBD. The medical literature regarding the treatment of headaches and migraines shows supporting evidence for cannabis/cannabinoids in the treatment of chronic headaches and migraines including chronic migraines.

A 2015 systematic review on the effectiveness of cannabinoids in the management of chronic neuropathic pain concluded, from cannabis studies, that many traditional medications used to treat chronic pain provide little therapeutic value and have adverse side effects. 

CBD may provide more therapeutic value compared to traditional medications. 

In a 2017 prospective trial, cannabinoids were used to treat acute headaches and migraines. Seventy-nine migraine subjects partook in a randomized, cannabinoid trial. Subjects were randomized between oral doses of either THC+CBD (200 mg per day) or verapamil (480 mg per day). The researchers concluded that the THC+CBD group (200 mg per day) led to a 40.4% decrease in pain versus the verapamil group (480 mg per day).  

A combination of THC/CBD may lead to less pain compared to other traditional medication. 

In a 2018 mini-review from Frontiers in Pharmacology, the author discussed the important and emerging role of endocannabinoids in migraines. In summary, the authors suggested that cannabinoids – due to their analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects – present a promising class of compounds for the treatment of migraine pain. 

Cannabinoids may help with migraine pain because of its anti-inflammatory effects.

Recently published in Current Opinion Neurology, a 2019 review paper discussed the alleviation of migraine pain with the implementation of CBD oil. The review points out that  CBD reduces inflammatory pain through the modulation of numerous receptors. The review further suggests that CBD suppresses cytokines and chemokines release, leading to less inflammation. 

The findings reported in this review article suggest that CBD oil for pain may help in reducing pain in the treatment of migraines. 


Migraines are severe, debilitating headaches that are usually paired with intense throbbing or pulsing. Luckily, many of these medications are accessible over-the-counter without a doctor’s prescription. Common drugs for pain relief of migraine symptoms are as follows:

  • Aspirin
  • Naproxen
  • Ibuprofen
  • Tylenol
  • Frova
  • Amerge
  • Axert


A big drawback of using the below medications is that taking them daily can make the headache worse due to an overuse of medication. They are potential adverse side effects of using these medications too. 

  • Blurred Vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Liver damage
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Vomiting


One of our favorite benefits of CBD is the fact that CBD is not a pharmaceutically-driven drug with a long list of potential side effects. WIN. 

In a recent 2019 guide by VanDolah et al., researchers suggested there is “an overwhelming body of convincing preclinical evidence indicates that cannabinoids produce antinociceptive effects in inflammatory and neuropathic rodent pain models.”

Additionally, CBD has been described as an attractive option in chronic pain treatment because of its potential efficacy but also due to its limited misuse and diverse potential and safety profile. 


Quick recap. CBD is showing promise as a natural pain reliever that can have similar effects as pharmaceuticals. Research is in progress to demonstrate that CBD can be effective in treating acute and chronic migraines. 

However, more research is needed to fully determine and assess the efficacy of CBD oil as a treatment for migraines. Large sample size, randomized, controlled trials are needed to better assess the benefits of CBD oil, including their effects on pain.

Until then, the systematic reviews and articles suggesting that CBD helps with migraines hold promise. 

Curious about what Nanocraft Sciences has to offer? Keep reading!

* DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is for educational purposes only. It does not exploit or provide medical advice of any kind. Therefore, any reliance you place on the information below is strictly at your own risk. Please check with your medical provider before starting or changing a CBD routine.


New to CBD? check out the related link to the new user guide.

Cannabinoid Options of Application:

Transdermal (Skin)-Topical Salve: This application is typically used for acute and direct application. Such as an ankle sprain, arthritis, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, and migraines. Full-spectrum salves provide a whole panel of cannabinoids for increased potency.

Edible Application:

Tinctures: Tincture oils are utilized in full-spectrum form (whole plant-derived) and Isolated forms (Pure CBD) that are applied directly under the tongue or mixed in water. This form is typically used for direct application to the central nervous system and the entire body for ailments like anxiety, stress, epilepsy, insomnia, sleep disorders, depression, PTSD, autoimmune responses, ADHD, cancer, systemic inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. All applications are available as CBD isolate, broad-spectrum and full spectrum.

Soft Gels: Full-spectrum soft gels essentially have the same application as tincture oils. The difference is that each soft gel is measured to a specific milligram to provide a consumer with a perfectly measured dose of CBD. This would be used for any ailments one might use CBD for, including all the ones listed above.

 Superfood powder: Superfood green powder has a broad range of greens, phytonutrients, vitamins and of course CBD. This application is great to give some nice, clean energy boost before a workout or just to get your day started naturally with improved focus.


  1. Benarroch, E.E. Synaptic effects of cannabinoids: complexity, behavioral effects, and potential clinical implications. Neurology. 2014.
  2. Boychuk DG, Goddard G, Mauro G, et al. The effectiveness of cannabinoids in the management of chronic nonmalignant neuropathic pain: A systematic review. J Oral Facial Pain Headache. 2015. 
  3. Donvito, G, Nass, SR., Wilkerson, JL, et al. The endogenous cannabinoid system: a budding source of targets for treating inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2018.
  4. Leimuranta P, Khiroug L, Giniatullin R. Emerging role of (endo)cannabinoids in migraine. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2018. doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.00420
  5. Nicolodi et al. Therapeutic use of cannabinoids - Dose finding, effects and pilot data of effects in chronic migraine and cluster headache abstract. 2017.
  6. Tassorelli C, Greco R, Silberstein SD. The endocannabinoid system in migraine: From the bench to pharmacy and back. Current Opinion Neurology. 2019.
Nanocraft Sciences
Content Writer x Physiologist x Researcher
Kirsten Thornhill was born and raised in a small farm town in Stanislaus County, California. Kirsten graduated with a Master of Science degree in exercise physiology from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA. She is very passionate about human physiology and the metabolic and nutritional adaptations that occur during exercise in active individuals and athletes. Kirsten has specialized in maximal oxygen consumption testing in athletes and teaching laboratory, clinical, practical, and research applications of exercise testing to college students. She enjoys educating and informing people on the importance of lifetime movement, plant-based eating, and health research and development. Her passion for natural, lifestyle medicine enables her to strive when promoting health and education.

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