CBD and Headaches: Help or Hinder?
According to the World Health Organization, anywhere from 50% to 75% of all adults aged 18 to 65 worldwide suffer from headaches in the average year. But despite the fact that headaches are among the most common nervous system disorders, they’re often difficult to treat.
CBD has emerged as a possible remedy for a number of chronic and recurring pain conditions, including headaches. But is CBD effective at providing headache relief?
What Causes Headaches?
Aside from the everyday tension headache that most of us have experienced, there are also cluster headaches, migraines, and headaches associated with other medical conditions (known as secondary headaches).
The Mayo Clinic explains that primary headaches with no underlying health concerns result from the “overactivity of or problems with pain-sensitive structures” within the head. However, the possible causes of headaches run the gamut from lifestyle choices to genetic makeup. Some of the most common causes of and triggers for headaches include:
- Food and drink (alcohol, caffeine, spices, skipped meals, dehydration, etc.)
- Emotional stress
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Changes in or lack of sleep
- Strenuous physical activity
- Poor posture
- Nicotine consumption
- Exposure to allergens or secondhand smoke
- Vigorous coughing, laughing, or crying
- Weather changes
- Bright lights or strong smells
- Overuse of certain medications
- Genetic factors
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, these triggers cause a reaction from the brain’s nerve endings, known as nociceptors, that then send messages of a painful sensation from the brain to the rest of the body. These pain sensations are what we perceive as a headache.
Why is Headache Treatment So Challenging?
Headaches may be commonplace, but that doesn’t mean they’re always easy to relieve.
With so many potential headache factors, it can be tough to pinpoint an exact cause for the pain you’re experiencing. In addition, one person’s trigger may never cause a headache for someone else. Headache triggers may also evolve over time or combine to create a “perfect storm.” That can make it hard to predict the onset of a headache or to choose the right remedy for it.
Another challenge is that some people experience headaches that are resistant to conventional treatment methods. Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen may not work for all headaches or be recommended for chronic headache sufferers.
Prescription medications, biofeedback, stress management, massage, stretching, and rest may also be recommended for headache treatment. For cluster headaches and migraines, oxygen therapy, acupuncture, and even injectable treatments are sometimes used.
All that being said, there’s no guarantee that any of these options will cure your headaches. It often falls to the individual to find a combination of treatment methods they can feasibly rely on.
Does CBD Reduce or Relieve Headaches?
More and more, people are turning to holistic treatments and alternative medicine to find the relief they seek. As it’s gained more prevalence in society at-large, CBD has often been recommended for headache treatment. But does CBD actually work to reduce the severity and frequency of headaches?
Several studies have suggested that both medical cannabis and cannabinoids (a category that includes both CBD and THC) may play a role in the management of certain headache disorders.
One analysis states that “cannabinoids appear to modulate and interact at many pathways inherent to migraine, triptan mechanisms of action, and opiate pathways, suggesting potential synergistic or similar benefits.” A second study claims that “phytocannabinoids [including CBD] have been identified as key compounds involved in analgesia and anti-inflammatory effects,” which suggests that CBD may be a viable alternative or supplement to traditional pain management options.
According to a 2021 review, “cannabinoids may have a specific prophylactic effect in migraines… Current research suggests that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in migraine mitigation.” From this, we can infer that the use of cannabinoid products may not only relieve headache pain but could actually be used to prevent it.
While there’s still more research to be done, the beneficial connection between CBD and headaches is becoming clearer. It’s no longer merely anecdotal evidence; there’s real data to suggest that CBD could provide the relief that headache sufferers deserve.
CBD and Headaches: How We Can Help
Any headache sufferer knows that pain can come seemingly out of nowhere. But our CBD Freeze Roll-On Pain Relief makes it easy to have a great on-the-go solution for whenever your triggers strike. To learn more, contact Nirvana Naturals today.