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CBD oil for migraine: what does Science say and effectiveness of CBD

Geschrieben von Enecta Editorial Staff am 21.03.2019

CBD oil for migraine: what does Science say and effectiveness of CBD
Many people, each day, fight their own personal battle against migraine, an extremely complex disorder, with a great number of different triggering factors and which can manifest in many forms.

It is this extreme “multifacetedness” of migraine pushing those suffering from migraine to search for new solutions in order to mitigate the disturbing symptoms. Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has captured the attention of those affected by migraine due to the ever growing testimonies indicating it as an effective remedy to alleviate pain.

What is migraine and how does it manifest?

Migraine is a rather complex neurological disorder and its main characteristic is the so-called “headache” – often of great intensity – which can also last for long periods. This headache in many cases is also associated to other symptoms like nausea and increased sensibility to light and noises.   

A third of the individuals suffering from it, experience what is defined as aura: visual and sensorial disturbances occurring shortly before the severe headache starts. The causes of migraine are various and comprise a series of environmental and generic factors.

In general it is treated with analgesics – like paracetamol or ibuprofen – and, in more serious cases, an antiemetic is used to alleviate the sensation of nausea caused by the severe headache attack.

Therapeutic Cannabis and migraine. The first studies

The usefulness of therapeutic cannabis in treating chronic pain, is receiving more and more each day confirmations from the scientific community.  In particular cannabidiol (CBD) – one of the main active principles in the cannabis plant – is increasingly utilised for the treatment of some pathologies associated to chronic pain.
However, despite the effort in various fields, until recently there were very few studies trying to investigate the effectiveness of cannabidiol (CBD) in alleviating pain caused by migraine attacks.  

The first authoritative study, in this respect, was made in 2016 and was coordinated by a team guided by Danielle N. Rhyne from the department of clinical pharmacology at the University of Colorado.

The study examined 121 adult individuals with a migraine diagnosis and to whom it was advised by their physicians to undergo a therapeutic cannabis treatment in the period from January 2010 to September 2014, during which they were subjected to various check-ups.  

Once the results were collected, the scientists observed how, among the cannabis users, the number of monthly migraine attacks had decreased from 10.4 to 4.6.

The study demonstrated how therapeutic cannabis had a distinct “preventive” role on headaches. In other words: taking cannabis as recommended by the physician, the number of times one suffers from a headache decreases.

The researchers, in those days, concluded that it was necessary to further investigate this therapeutic potential of cannabis in order to identify the most correct ways of administration in the specific case of migraine and to better understand its type of mechanism of action.  

The first revision on the benefits of CBD in treating migraine

Some time after, in April 2018, a research published on the pages of Frontiers in Pharmacology reviewed the state of research in the field of the relationship cannabis/migraine.

The revision, handled by the researchers of the Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences at the University of Eastern Finland, summarised the state of knowledge and presented new hypotheses on the role of cannabinoids in controlling the mechanisms at the basis of pain caused by migraine.

According to the study, cannabinoids, due to their anticonvulsant, analgesic, antiemetic and anti-inflammatory effects – present a promising class of compounds for acute and prophylactic treatments of migraine pain.

Their effectiveness in alleviating  pain caused by migraine, lies in their interaction with our endocannabinoid system and with the receptors, denominated CB1 and CB2 characterizing this system. In consideration of the rapid changes in the legal status of cannabis, researching (endo)cannabinoids today is enjoying new energy.

The formal approval of a medicine containing cannabinoids for additional pathologies opens the possibility to the application also in the treatment of migraine.

The abundance of CB1 receptors in the brain makes them a perfect objective for the treatment of migraine blocking the nociceptive traffic both peripherally and centrally: nociception, in fact, is the sensorial process which identifies and transports the signals and the sensations of pain. The CB2 receptors in the immune cells, on the other hand, play a role in reducing the inflammatory component associated with severe forms of migraine.

The revision itself concluded by underlining the necessity to address new investigations at the soonest in order to make the possibility of medical application of cannabis  ever more clear also in this field.

The future of research and the current possibilities

At the moment many individuals use cannabidiol for alleviating the very uncomfortable sensations caused by recurrent headaches. Some inhale cannabis, while others prefer to take some drops of cannabis oil, applying them under the tongue and waiting for them to take effect, in a few minutes.

Depending on the necessities Enecta cannabidiol (CBD) oil is available in three different concentrations – 3%, 10% and  24% – to meet the different needs of anyone.