Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 120 substances in cannabis. It comes from the marijuana plant, but it contains only trace amounts, if any, of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that produces a high. This means it has no mind-altering (psychoactive) effects.
Still, for people who have yet to find an effective migraine treatment, it may be worth considering.
Anyone who wishes to use CBD should speak with a doctor before obtaining or using it. They should also check that the product comes from a from a reputable source, to ensure safety.
The legalities of cannabis products, including CBD oil, are changing quickly. People may need a prescription to use CBD oil legally in their state. A doctor can give a person advice on whether it is legal to use CBD oil in their area. Anyone wanting to use CBD oil should research the subject thoroughly.
Also, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not yet regulate most of the products that come from the marijuana, or cannabis, plant. This makes it difficult to ensure the quality, purity, and strength of ingredients.
Why would CBD oil work for migraines?
People used cannabis for thousands of years to treat headaches before it became illegal.
There is a lack of scientific evidence about its safety and effectiveness for this purpose, but researchers have suggested that one or more substances present in cannabis may have therapeutic benefit for headaches, including migraines.
It is important to remember that many of the studies may use the entire marijuana plant, and its effects are different than CBD oil.
In a review of studies, published in 2017, researchers saw a useful and effective role for marijuana in treating migraine, but there are not enough studies on using CBD oil specifically yet. Some states have a list of specific conditions that are suitable for treatment with CBD oil, and migraines may not be on that list.
As the studies come in examining the effectiveness and side effects of CBD oil, there will be further changes in laws and recommendations.
Both the causes of migraines and the possible effects of CBD remain unclear. More studies specific to the components of marijuana, such as CBD, are necessary.
What does the research say?
CBD oil may be an option for pain relief.
Authors of a study from 2012 suggest that CBD oil can help to relieve some types of chronic pain. However, the study did not relate specifically to headaches or migraines.
Results of a 2016 study indicate that medical marijuana may reduce the frequency of migraine headaches. This research was not specific to CBD oil. More research is needed to determine what dosage and formulation are most effective.
Authors of a 2009 study found evidence to suggest that cannabis compounds may treat chronic pain in people who have been taking opioids for long periods and want to reduce use.
In July 2018, an Australian study did not find a link between the use of cannabis and a reduction in pain or a lower use of opioids.
However, the results depended on participants reporting their own use of cannabis, and most of this was illegal use. It also focused on the effects of cannabis as a whole, rather than CBD or another specific cannabinoid.