CBD Oil for Headaches – Does it Work?

CBD Oil for Headaches – Does it Work?

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How does CBD oil possibly help headaches?

Headaches are a common ailment that affects millions of people worldwide. While over-the-counter medications are widely used to manage headache symptoms, there’s increasing interest in the potential benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) oil for headache symptom relief. In this article, we will explore how CBD oil may help alleviate headache symptoms and how to use it effectively.

Understanding the Endocannabinoid System and Headaches

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes, including pain sensation, mood, and inflammation. It consists of endocannabinoids, which bind to cannabinoid receptors located throughout the nervous system, particularly in pain-processing areas of the brain.


Research suggests that endocannabinoids target pathways similar to those of traditional headache and migraine medications. This has led to the hypothesis that cannabinoids like CBD may potentially help treat headaches by interacting with the ECS in ways similar to endocannabinoids.

Types of Headaches That May Improve with CBD Oil

CBD oil may help alleviate headache symptoms through several mechanisms, as it interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which plays a crucial role in regulating pain, inflammation, and other physiological processes. Here are some examples of how CBD oil might help with different types of headaches:


  • CBD oil may help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines by modulating pain and inflammation pathways in the ECS. By interacting with the ECS, CBD may help to inhibit the release of pro-inflammatory substances and reduce the activation of pain receptors, thereby providing relief from migraine symptoms.

Cluster Headaches:

  • Cluster headaches involve intense, burning pain around the eyes or temples, and the activation of the trigeminal nerve is believed to play a role in their occurrence. CBD oil might help alleviate cluster headaches by interacting with the ECS to reduce pain and inflammation. Additionally, CBD may have an impact on serotonin levels, which could influence the trigeminal nerve’s activity, resulting in decreased pain sensation.

Tension Headaches:

  • Tension headaches are caused by muscle tension and stress, resulting in mild to moderate pain. CBD oil may help alleviate tension headaches by reducing muscle tension and promoting relaxation through its interaction with the ECS. CBD has been shown to have anti-anxiety and stress-relieving properties, which may help to address the root causes of tension headaches.

While more research is needed to establish a direct link between CBD oil and headache relief, the existing evidence suggests that CBD’s interaction with the ECS and its potential to modulate pain and inflammation pathways may offer potential benefits for those suffering from headaches.

How to Use CBD Oil for Headaches

Choose the Right Form

  • CBD oil is available in various forms, such as tinctures, capsules, and topicals. Each form has its unique advantages and is suited for different situations. Tinctures are generally faster-acting and allow for precise dosing, whereas capsules provide a consistent dose and are more convenient for those who prefer not to taste the oil. Topicals, on the other hand, can be applied directly to the affected area for localised relief. When choosing the form that best suits your needs and preferences, your doctor will consider factors such as the severity of your headaches, your lifestyle, and how quickly you need relief.

Start with a Low Dose

  • When beginning to use CBD oil for headache relief, it’s essential to start with a low dose and gradually increase it as needed. This allows you to gauge your body’s response to CBD and find the most effective dosage for your specific needs. Keep in mind that CBD may take some time to work, and the effects may not be immediate. It is not uncommon for individuals to experience relief after a few days or even weeks of consistent use.

Sublingual Administration

  • Sublingual administration, or placing drops of CBD oil under the tongue, is a popular method for quick absorption into the bloodstream. Hold the drops under your tongue for 30-60 seconds before swallowing to allow the oil to be absorbed through the mucous membranes. This method enhances the effectiveness of CBD oil for headache relief, providing faster results compared to ingesting capsules or applying topicals.

Track Your Progress

  • Keep track of your headache symptoms, frequency, and intensity while using CBD oil. This will help you determine whether the CBD oil is providing relief and whether you need to adjust your dosage. Remember that it may take time for CBD to work, so be patient and give it a chance before deciding on its effectiveness.

Consult Your Doctor

  • Before trying CBD oil for headache relief, you must consult your doctor to assess your headache severity and determine if CBD oil is the right option for you. Your doctor can help you establish a safe and effective dosage, taking into account your medical history and any potential interactions with other medications you may be taking.

By following these steps, you can optimize your use of CBD oil for headache relief and increase the likelihood of achieving the desired results. Remember that everyone’s experience with CBD oil may differ, and finding the most effective dosage and form may require some trial and error.

Disclaimer – medicinal cannabis and CBD oil are unapproved medicines in NZ which means that there is no conclusive evidence for their effect, apart from Sativex. Many doctors do not routinely prescribe cannabis medicines. The above article was written for general educational purposes and does not intend to suggest that medicinal cannabis can be used to treat any health condition. Please consult with your healthcare provider.

MBChB (Otago), BSc (Auckland) - As our tele-medicine doctor and author, Dr. Waseem keeps busy educating both patients and doctors about medicinal cannabis. He also consults with people from all over New Zealand, offering a listening ear and giving the most relevant advice.

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