CBD & The Human Body
Science & Health
How CBD Oil Can Be Helpful For Migraines?
Approximately more than 38 million people in the United States have migraines on a regular basis, and over 75% people who are impacted by migraines are women.
Below we’ll cover the factors that cause migraines, medical prescriptions to treat them, and natural alternatives, like CBD oil, that can be used to reduce their debilitating effects.
What Is A Migraine?
A migraine is an intense kind of headache that is also known for creating other kinds of negative side effects. Some of these include: nausea, vomiting, difficulty speaking, numbness or tingling, and sensitivity to light and sounds. Unlike with normal headaches, a migraine is a neurological disease that involves both nerve pathways and chemicals. When a change in brain activity occurs, this affects the amount of blood in the brain and its surrounding tissue, which can contribute to creating the symptoms listed above.
Who Experiences Migraines?
Unfortunately the likelihood of having a migraine runs in families. Although a child may not experience migraines if one of their parents does, parents should keep an eye on their child’s possible migraine symptoms. Migraines can affect people of all ages, so even young children can experience them. In fact, children as young as 18 months can have a migraine. You’re most likely to have your first migraines in your teens though. Typically people experience the most pain from migraines in their 30s and then they can start to become less severe later in life.
Gender also plays a role in who is most likely to experience a migraine. Women are approximately three times more likely to experience migraines on a regular basis. Since women make up more than 75% of the migraine population in the United States, some research believes that female reproductive hormones, mainly estrogen, is believed to play a central part in the creation of migraines. After menopause, the ratio of women who experience migraines drops, with only twice as many women as men having migraines. This change is believed to happen because hormones play less of a factor in a women’s system after menopause.
Why Do Some People Start To Experience Migraines In Their 50s?
Although it's most common for people to first experience migraines in their younger years, this isn’t always the case. It also isn’t true for everyone that migraines will become less frequent or less intense as they get older.
People who are experiencing a migraine after 50 for the first time in their life will want to meet with their doctor immediately. It’s possible that an underlying disease could be responsible for the sudden headaches. This isn’t always the cause, but scheduling a type of brain scan with your doctor to rule out any type of abnormality will help your physician decide the seriousness of the situation.
There’s also a possibility that a new medication you’ve started taking could be causing headaches. Headaches may not start on the first day that you take the medication, but could begin to develop within the first couple of weeks. If you’ve suddenly begun to experience migraines after starting a new prescription, consult your doctor about possibly shifting to a different medication.
Daily Routine Changes Can Lessen Migraines
Although migraines are unpredictable, there are several factors you can adjust in your daily life to lessen the risk that you’ll experience them. Following some of these changes could allow you to rely less on medication for migraine treatment.
- Avoid certain foods - for about 10% of people who experience migraines, food triggers are the cause. Below are some of the main foods that can cause migraines.
- Baked goods with yeast, such as sourdough bread, bagels, doughnuts, and coffee cake
- Cultured dairy products (like yogurt and kefir)
- Fruits or juices such as citrus fruits, dried fruits, bananas, raspberries, red plums, papayas, passion fruit, figs, dates, and avocados
- Nuts and nut butters
- Soy products (miso, tempeh, soy sauce)
- Vegetables like onions, pea pods, some beans, corn, and sauerkraut
- Drink water - not being hydrated properly can also cause headaches for people.
- High levels of stress.
- Sudden change in sleep pattern or a lack of sleep.
- Watch your caffeine intake - try limiting your caffeine intake to 200 milligrams a day. If you drink a lot of caffeine at the moment, don’t quit it suddenly because this can cause headaches too. Instead you’ll want to lessen your intake over time.
- Exercise - this will help you release endorphins and could help to lessen your migraines.
- Don’t drink too much alcohol - it's possible for ingredients in alcohol to cause chemicals and blood vessels in your brain to act in an unusual way and trigger a headache. You don’t need to be drinking all night for this to happen. For some people, one alcoholic drink can be enough to trigger a headache.
Pro tip: If you’re experiencing migraines on a regular basis and have a meeting set up with your doctor, start to keep a “migraine diary.” Here you should outline how many days a week you’re experiencing a migraine and the exact symptoms you’re having. You can also mark down the intensity of the migraine and its symptoms. On top of that, you can include the food items you ate that day along with any other habits you may have performed that caused your migraine. This will help you and your doctor to detect a pattern and set you up on a proper treatment plan.
How To Determine If You’re Experiencing Migraines
To be diagnosed with migraines, meet with your normal physician and discuss with them the kind of symptoms you’ve been experiencing on a regular basis. That information, along with your and your family’s clinical history will help your doctor diagnose you. Your doctor will also run tests to rule out other possible options for the symptoms you’re experiencing. Unfortunately, there isn’t a specific test to determine if you’re having migraines, so eliminating other options is one of the best ways to narrow in on your diagnosis.
Your doctor may want to run a CT scan or perform a MRI to rule out:
- Brain tumors
- Abnormal brain structures
Different Phases Of Migraines
Migraines aren’t something that take place all at once. In fact, there are normally different phases of migraines.
1. Prodrome Stage
Surprisingly, some of the symptoms that are associated with migraines can begin one to two days before you start to experience the headache itself. These pre-migraine symptoms are known as the prodrome stage. Usually this phase features painless, although annoying, symptoms These symptoms can include moodswings, food cravings, stiffness of the neck, and a lack of energy.
2. Aura Phase
People also tend to experience two main kinds of migraines. As you and your doctor meet, they’ll determine if you’re experiencing common migraines or classic migraines. Auras refer to sensory disturbances that occur before or during a migraine. Auras can affect a person’s vision, touch or speech, though not everyone who suffers from migraines experiences auras. Examples of auras include blurred visions, blind spots that expand over time, numbness in the arm, and slurred or jumbled speech.
- Classic migraines - these migraines take place with “aura.” Aura refers to sensory disturbances that can occur before or during a migraine. An aura could impact a person’s vision, touch, or speech.
- Common migraines - people who have these kinds of migraines do not experience “aura” although they might experience other symptoms that’re listed in the prodrome stage.
3. Headache Phase
The third phase that people who have migraines experience is the “headache phase.” This is when the most intense part of the migraine tends to occur and when people tend to experience a headache. For people who have classic migraines, the headache phase of a migraine can also take place during an “aura.”
The length of the headache phase can vary - even for the same person. Sometimes a migraine will last a couple of hours and other times it can last for a few days. Symptoms of the headache phase can vary from person to person, and can also vary between what one specific person experiences each time.
However some of the most common symptoms include:
- Heightened sensitivity to light and sound
- Dizziness or feelings of being faint
- Head pain
4. Postdomal Phase
Finally, after a person moves out of the attack phase, they’ll move into the postdromal phase. The most common symptom during this phase involves shifts in a person’s emotions. These emotions can fall on a broad spectrum - some people may feel euphoric while others may feel fatigued and apathetic. It’s also not uncommon for people to move quickly from one end of the spectrum to the other. You might also continue to have a dull headache for a time period while you are in the postdrome phase.
The amount of time that it takes for you to move through each phase, along with the severity of symptoms you might experience at each phase can vary to different degrees and they can shift from migraine to migraine. Sometimes, phases will be skipped and then the next time you have a migraine, you might experience every phrase. Despite common belief, you can experience every part of a migraine and not ever have a headache.
What Are Treatment Options For Migraines?
There are multiple kinds of medicines that treat migraines that could be prescribed to you. Some of these could be bought over the counter, but you’ll need a set prescription to have access to most of the medications listed below. Be sure to consult with your doctor about your exact symptoms and the other medications you’re already taking before adding a new medication to your routine.
Medicines To Help Relieve Migraine Symptoms
- Pain relievers - over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers would include aspirin or ibuprofen. Although helpful in the short term, when they’re taken over a lengthy period of time, these pain relievers might cause medication-overuse headaches.
- Triptans - these prescription drugs are used for migraine because they block pain pathways in the brain, but might not be safe for those at risk of a stroke or heart attack.
- Dihydroergotamine - these are most effective when taken shortly after the start of migraine symptoms for migraines that tend to last longer than 24 hours. The side effects can include migraine-related vomiting and nausea to become worse. People who have any kind of coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, or kidney or liver disease should avoid dihydroergotamine.
- Anti-nausea drugs - these can help if your migraine with aura is accompanied by nausea and vomiting, and they’re normally taken in conjunction with a type of pain medication. Since these prescriptions affect everyone differently, you may have to try out a couple of different anti-nausea drugs before you find the one that works best with your body.
Opioid medications - these will sometimes be prescribed when people who have migraines aren’t experiencing relief with any of the other medications. Since opioids are so addictive though, medical professionals are usually hesitant to prescribe them.
Can Migraines Be Completely Cured?
Unfortunately, migraines aren’t something that can be completely cured in a majority of people. With the proper treatment options, the intensity of migraines may begin to lessen or may occur less often.
A treatment plan can be influenced by a large number of factors, including:
- Your age
- The frequency of your migraines
- The kind of migraine you usually have
- How intense your migraines are, how long they last, and the amount of pain you have
- How debilitating the migraines are - such as how often they keep you from going to school or work, getting errands done, or spending enjoyable time with your family.
- The symptoms you normally experience
- Any other health conditions you have and the other medications you take on a normal basis.
What Are Natural Treatment Options For Migraines?
As listed above, there are multiple medical options that can help to treat migraines and their various symptoms. However, not everyone wants to take a prescription on a regular basis in an attempt to alleviate their migraines, especially since many migraine medications have negative effects if taken long term or they can affect the medications you’re already taking.
If you’re looking for natural alternatives to a regular medical prescription, there are multiple options available.
1. Essential Oils In Aromatherapy
Essential oils are highly contracted liquids that are produced by removing the liquids from the leaves, stems, flowers, bark, or root of a certain kind of plant. Aromatherapy works in conjunction with essential oils so you inhale the healing benefits that the plants provide.
Some oils, like lavender, are often used to help relieve stress and promote relaxation. A 2013 study found that breathing in lavender can also help reduce pain for people who are experiencing a migraine. The effects can begin as quickly as 15 minutes after you start to breathe in the lavender scent.
2. Acupressure/ Acupuncture
Both acupressure and acupunture has been found to help relieve migraine nausea. A 2012 study found that acupuncture alleviated the severity of migraine-affiliated nausea as quickly as 30 minutes after treatment. The study also found that nausea continued to lessen four hours after treatment. Acupressure is similar to acupunture since the same specific points are being targeted, but this technique involves firm pressure instead of needles.
3. Adding More Vitamins To Your Diet And Avoid Trigger Foods
Some people’s migraines become worse due to a lack of necessary supplements in their diets. As a result, some people who suffer from migraines have found that adding more vitamins and minerals into their diet has helped to lessen the severity they experience from their migraines. You should meet with a migraine specialist to discuss if this is a treatment option for you, but some of the supplements your doctor might prescribe include:
- Vitamin D - adding this vitamin to your diet might reduce how often you have a migraine attack, according to this medical review.
- Vitamin B - a study by the European Journal of Neurology found that taking Vitamin B everyday over the period of a couple of months helped to reduce the number of migraines that people experienced each month.
4. Massage Treatments
During a massage, your body releases endorphins, increases serotonin levels, and reduces your stress levels. Seeing a massage therapist on a regular basis can help to relieve both physical and emotional tension, which can result in you experiencing migraines less often.
5. CBD Oil For Treating Migraines
Research has found that CBD oil can be beneficial to treat multiple kinds of chronic pain, including pain that’s associated with migraines. The American Migraine Foundation recently reported that CBD oil is seen as a promising treatment for migraines, although they also acknowledge that more research needs to be done to determine the exact effects CBD will have on people with migraines after a long period of time.
Below, you’ll be able to learn more about how CBD oils might be an effective treatment option for migraines along with its general effectiveness.
How Does CBD Oil Help Treat Migraines?
CBD comes from the cannabis plant and is one of more than 100 cannabinoids that can be found in the cannabis plant. CBD isn’t the same thing as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the element in cannabis that will make you high. Since CBD is a completely different cannabinoid, there’s no evidence that it’ll produce a high for you, but studies have found that it can help relieve pain and inflammation in the body.
Medical professionals believe that CBD can alleviate the amount of pain and inflammation one experiences in the body because of the unique effect it can have on specific receptors in our brains. These receptors belong to the endocannabinoid system, which plays a vital part in controlling both pain and inflammation in the body.
While more research still needs to be done on how CBD oils can affect patients who have migraines, research has already found that CBD oil can help people who have the same symptoms as people with migraines.
Some of these symptoms include:
- Pain relief
- Easing nausea
- Reducing inflammation
- Anticonvulsant - an anticonvulsant effect would suppress the excessive firing of neurons that happens during seizures.
CBD oil can also act as a positive supplement for you to add to your daily routine because it may be less likely to affect a medication that you’re already taking for other things. Talk to your doctor about the possible side effects that CBD could have on your current medications before adding it to your diet though.
How CBD Oil Treats Migraines: Directly & Indirectly
Migraines are a complex health issue that are more severe in some people than others. Researchers are still working to determine some of the exact factors that can make migraines so debilitating for some individuals while they tend to be more mild than others.
As explained above, current research has shown that migraines are caused by multi-faceted factors. As a result, CBD oil could help to reduce the number of migraines people experience through treating some of these other factors.
How CBD Oil Lessens Migraines Indirectly
Improved sleep - people who don’t get enough sleep, or don’t sleep deeply throughout the night, are more likely to have intense migraines than individuals who receive 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. A 2012 study that compared CBD with a prescription sleep aid found that a high-dose of CBD at 160 milligrams can help to increase a person’s duration of sleep.
Lessen stress - another trigger for people who experience migraines is stress. This could be the case for people who experience high levels of stress on a regular basis. A migraine might also take place in a person if they experience a high level of stress on a specific day due to external factors. A recent 2020 study found that CBD was helpful in relieving stress for people and also helped to lessen the effects of depression and anxiety, two emotional obstacles that people with migraines also tend to experience.
How CBD Oil For Migraines Lessens Their Effects
Although more research still needs to be done on the effect that high-quality CBD oil can have on people who experience migraines, one of the most promising benefits of CBD oil is the effect it can have on people who experience chronic pain.
Multiple studies have found that CBD is beneficial for helping relieve the symptoms of other chronic pain diseases such as MS and osteoarthritis. CBD oil can also help to relieve migraine symptoms and chronic pain due to the way it interacts with our endocannabinoid system as stated previously.
What is the endocannabinoid system?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a signaling system that works to help your body remain balanced. It's been linked to affecting both physical and mental conditions, such as anxiety and depression, energy levels, sleep, and appetite. If any of these items fall out of balance in your system, they could act as a triggering mechanism for your migraines.
Unfortunately, though, our bodies don’t always produce enough of the endocannabinoids we need for our ECS system to do its best job. That’s where CBD can be helpful to get our bodies back on track.
Look For A Broad Spectrum CBD Oil
As you’re searching for a premium grade CBD oil, pick one that is broad spectrum and uses other natural ingredients. The reason for this is due to broad-spectrum CBD products containing a large variety of compounds that are naturally found in the hemp plant. CBD, and its other natural compounds, interact strongly with your ECS network. These cannabinoids can trigger the same receptors as the endocannabinoids that your body produces.
The natural elements found in broad spectrum CBD products are believed to possess positive side effects when taken together and can have a stronger effect on your ECS network than CBD isolate. The additional cannabinoids and the CBD work together to create what many refer to as the “entourage effect.” Each cannabinoid is believed to provide its own unique effects and benefits, but they shift how they impact our bodies when they’re in the presence of other elements. This is why our body benefits when CBD enters our system in the presence of other cannabinoids.
Conclusion: Use CBD Oil For Migraines And Look For Natural Solutions
Unfortunately there is no cure for migraines. However, there are many natural ways to treat migraines and lessen their side effects. This is especially important if you’re someone who’s already taking a large amount of medication.
Talk to your doctor about lifestyle changes you can make to lessen the severity of your migraines and discuss the possibility of using CBD oil to treat your migraines. With few side effects and a large array of possible benefits, CBD oil could be the solution you’ve been looking for all along.
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