CBD for Headaches

Brie Lowrey

Headaches…. Woof, am I right? So many people have been afflicted with headaches, even if it has just been once or twice. Finding a respite for your headache so you can get on with your routine is usually the first thing people try. Most people turn to pain-relieving medicines that are pretty harsh on their organs. What if you could use something natural and even naturally-occurring in your body already? Taking CBD every day or as needed for headaches can be helpful. Let’s take a deep look at headaches, CBD, and how you might find benefits from CBD.

What is a Headache Exactly? 

headache diagram

Like any working adult, I have definitely had my fair share of headaches. Also, like most adults, I don’t know squat about headaches other than they completely disrupt my day and emotions. What might surprise you is that there are over 150 types of headaches. Can you believe it? 150 TYPES OF HEADACHES! That is at least 150 ways your head can hurt and incapacitate you in some cases. Pretty crazy, right? These headaches can stem from a disease or sickness. Headaches can also be situational (exercise, weather changes, stress, allergies, sensitivity to new medications, etc.) or even genetic (thanks mom and dad). Pair this information with the fact that approximately 35 million Americans (according to The Migraine Institute) suffer from headaches each year and you’ve got reason to look for ways to treat some of those painful symptoms or even squash the potential for a headache early.  

Headaches can occur whenever and I mean whenever. Headaches can be recurring for no reason or can only hit you once in a blue moon. When you get a headache, of any type, the blood vessels in your brain swell and fluctuate. This is what causes the pain you feel in your head. The symptoms that follow are just offshoots of your head pain (induced by) and pretty much how the rest of your body is reacting since your brain is “out of whack”. There are a plethora of headache symptoms, no matter which type of headache you are suffering from. These are some of the most common headache symptoms; 

  • Mild to severe pain
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness 
  • Sleep problems

The vast majority of headache sufferers don’t seek medical care for their migraines, cluster headaches, tension headaches, and the like. Though headaches can be dangerous, most people self-diagnose and self-treat. This can also be dangerous. A person suffering from a bad headache can potentially give themselves too much pain relief medications and wind up injuring their internal organs in the quest for any amount of relief. 

Along with pain-relieving medications, one group of medications that are given to headache-sufferers are called Triptans. Triptans, and other pain-relievers, are used to help reduce and control the symptoms of headaches by shrinking those swollen blood vessels in your brain. All of these medications are not the “be-all, end-all” for headaches, they are simply working to relieve some of those symptoms you feel from the headache. Unfortunately, you most likely have to take multiple types, or groups, of medicine in order to fight multiple symptoms. For example, you may take acetaminophen for the throbbing pain but then you’ll have to take an acid-reliever for your nausea. Another issue is that some higher doses of medicine you may need depending on how severe your pain is, you might have to get prescribed by a doctor, which could take any amount of waiting time for you to get relief. Furthermore, these medications can come with terrible side effects, especially if they don’t play well with other types of medications you might already be taking. 

CBD or Delta 8 products can be your one-way ticket to relieving some of that headache pain without irritating your organs any further, waiting for an expensive doctor-prescribed medicine, or creating your own medicine cocktail in hopes of hitting all of the symptoms you are experiencing. 

How CBD [and Delta 8] Work

CBD (Cannabidiol) and Delta 8 THC are both cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found naturally in plants such as hemp (a form of cannabis). Now, Cannabinoids can also be found elsewhere in nature, say… in the human body. Every person has an Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This system in your body helps with regulation in order for you to feel your best. However, a lot of things can throw it off such as stress, diet, exercise, and other factors (situational, environmental, genetic, etc.). 

Your ECS has two types of receptors; CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors can be found in the nervous system, connective tissue, and quite a few organs. CB2 receptors are found in the immune system, bones, blood vessels, endocrine glands, and reproductive organs. These receptors can interact with cannabinoids whether the endocannabinoids that are already in your system working to regulate your body or the ones you can introduce through CBD and Delta 8 THC.  

Types of CBD

broad spectrum diagram
full spectrum diagram
isolate cbd diagram

There are three main versions of CBD extracts available when you purchase CBD products; Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolate. Isolate CBD products are strictly CBD. Full Spectrum contains all of the extracts that are naturally found in the cannabis plant, including flavonoids, terpenes, and other cannabinoids. This creates something called “the entourage effect” which simply means all of the compounds are working together so you can get the full spectrum of benefits that CBD and the other cannabinoids have to offer. Finally, Broad Spectrum contains CBD and some (but not all) of the extracts that are naturally found in the cannabis plant, including flavonoids, terpenes, and other cannabinoids. Broad Spectrum is right in the middle of Isolate CBD (includes no THC) and Full Spectrum (includes THC). 

Choosing the right type of product is important, especially if you’re looking for different strengths. For more information on CBD, Broad Spectrum, Full Spectrum, Delta 8 THC, and our Endocannabinoid System, check out our multitude of blog posts here and check out our education center for a better understanding of the different types of CBD here

CBD For Headaches

Now that you understand how CBD works with your internal Endocannabinoid System, let’s link that to headaches. Your ECS includes your blood vessels which, during a headache, will swell and fluctuate, causing that head pain. This is one of the ways that a headache can throw your ECS out of whack causing the other symptoms that come with a headache. 

CBD (and other cannabinoids such as Delta 8 THC) can help with headaches by interacting with your ECS. CBD has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties. When CBD (a cannabinoid) is introduced into your system, it will interact with your CB1 and CB2 receptors relieving the inflammation of the blood vessels in your brain, thereby helping smooth out and regulate your system overall. This should help reduce the severity of the symptoms of your headache. Though CBD is working on the blood vessels in your brain, this specific cannabinoid isn’t psycho-active, meaning, you won’t get the head high experience you would with other cannabinoids such as Delta 8 THC or Delta 9 THC (marijuana).

Research is still being done on CBD in general, not to mention CBD for specific ailments. The research, though, that has been done and the success stories that have followed, have shown that CBD can lead to relieving headache pain through its anti-inflammatory properties. CBD isn’t merely an anti-inflammatory, it can help directly with other symptoms of headaches as well. CBD is beneficial in relieving stress, helping with sleep troubles, reducing chronic pain, and can help relieve nausea and vomiting. 

How to Stop Headaches

I get it - this is a lot of information to take in, especially if you already have a headache. You’re here for tips on how to get rid of this nightmare. Don’t worry, I gotchu. 

couple on a hike

Getting rid of your headache doesn’t have to be hard or even super complex. Here are some top tips in relieving (and preventing) your headache; 

  • Take CBD or Delta 8 products daily or as needed
  • Get enough exercise
  • Get quality sleep
  • Reduce stress
  • Eat well
  • Drink plenty of water

Keeping a healthy lifestyle is definitely a huge key in preventing the majority of headaches, but sometimes even that won't stop them. By using CBD to help with headaches, you are not only helping to improve your general health, but can also help reduce headache pain.

Treating headaches with CBD is completely simple; just choose your product! Now, there are quite a few different types of CBD products out there. Since CBD overall is an anti-inflammatory, choosing the product is up to you in terms of which type that would best suit you and your lifestyle. Below, I will take you through the different types of products to choose from that will help with your headaches and can help prevent headaches in the future. 

*Please note that I left out vape products and flower as smoke inhalation can be debilitating to a person with a headache, especially severe. 

CBD Oil & Tinctures

Using an oil or tincture is one of the quickest ways to get the effects of CBD. With oils and tinctures you can either take sublingually, which means “under the tongue”, which would be the quickest way for the CBD to get into your bloodstream. Another way is to add the oil into your food or drink. To add an oil into your food, just add it into the recipe wherever liquids would go. To add an oil into your drink, even an alcoholic one (though an alcoholic drink is probably the last thing you want when you have a headache), just add it right in. Remember, sublingually will let you feel the effects quicker than adding the oils to your food and drinks. 

Another thing to think about when deciding to take oils and tinctures for your headache is the flavor. There are oil options that don’t have actual flavors or you can choose from a variety of other flavors like Chocolate Mint, Blood Orange, French Vanilla Mocha, and many more. You could be highly sensitive to flavors during a headache, so make sure you purchase with that in mind. 

CBD Edibles and Capsules

CBD edibles can be a little tricky when it comes to headaches. While chewing gummies might not be the best feeling with a headache, there are other types of edibles that are a little easier to chew. There are fruit tarts (flavors include Mango, Orange Pineapple, Raspberry Lime, and Strawberry Lemon) and chocolates that are better edible (and still tasty!) options for people suffering from headaches. 

While these edibles are delicious, the mouth strain from chewing plus the sharp tastes of the flavors could, in fact, worsen your headache and your headache symptoms. This is where CBD capsules come in. Capsules are super easy to take, as if you’re taking another one of your vitamins. Capsules also don’t come in a variety of flavors, you just swallow the capsule with water and get on with your day. These might be the best option for someone suffering from headaches. 

CBD For Stress Management

Managing stress can immensely help relieve your headaches, especially stress-induced or situational headaches. When it comes to stress management, obviously one thing isn’t going to fix all of it. Make sure in addition to introducing CBD into your daily routine that you also manage other factors such as diet, exercise, sleep, etc. 

Choosing CBD products for stress could include daily capsules, gummies, or oils, like we previously mentioned. Relieving stress can also look like self care in terms of relaxation. Relaxing at the end of a long day or week is extremely important to stress relief. Why not try a soothing bath with CBD bath bombs and a CBD face mask

Another aspect of stress relief comes in the form of mental health. A lot of people suffer from anxiety and depression. These things definitely contribute to stress which could potentially lead to headaches. Since your Endocannabinoid System is also linked to your mood, which is involved in anxiety and depression symptoms, cannabinoids, such as CBD and Delta 8 can help relieve some of that. CBD has been shown to have antidepressant and neuroprotective properties. When using CBD for these disorders you can either use products daily or as needed. 

Furthermore, there are customers that turn to Delta 8 (or Delta 10, which we haven’t covered) in these cases, as they are looking for the “head high” for their anxiety and/or depression. Usually Delta 8 products are categorized by them being either Sativa or Indica dominant. Sativa will help create an uplifting experience while Indica does have the uplifting properties, it’s more of a relaxing high. People that suffer from anxiety and depression turn towards these products as they are stronger. Keep in mind that if you do decide to use Delta 8 or Delta 10 products, that they do contain some amounts of THC. All of our Delta 8 and Delta 10 products contain less than 0.3% THC, which makes it federally legal. 

CBD For Sleep

Speaking of stress management, sleep is important to managing stress AND relieving headaches. On top of that, it’s incredibly difficult to get quality sleep with a major headache. Of course taking CBD daily will definitely help with getting quality sleep regularly, but maybe you need that extra oomph! There are special CBD products that you can find for sleep, but usually they involve Melatonin for a little extra help. If you are sensitive to Melatonin, there are sleep products out there that don’t involve Melatonin. Read our CBD for Sleep blog for more information on how CBD can help you sleep better. 

CBD For Allergies

Unfortunately even allergies can trigger headaches. That makes sense though, doesn’t it? The head pressure, congestion, sneezing, and everything else that allergies cause can irritate your head. CBD products such as CBD inhalers or the daily capsules can help with allergies. CBD is a natural antihistamine, so relieving those allergy symptoms can help reduce allergy-triggered headaches. Read all about CBD and allergies here

Delta 8 Products

While CBD may be more helpful, it’s worth noting that Delta 8 THC, which is another cannabinoid, as stated earlier, can also help reduce headaches and their symptoms. Delta 8 comes in most of the same types of products that CBD does. So if you want the CBD benefits with the psychoactive “head high”, then you might want to consider a Delta 8 product. 

Delta 8 products, while federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, each state has its own laws and regulations around Delta 8. Before buying Delta 8 products, you should check with your state first. 

Delta 8 can provide you with all of the benefits that CBD does, but with the head high we already talked about. The psychoactive properties of Delta 8 products can be enjoyable for some, but for others can potentially be detrimental to their headache, the opposite of what you are looking for. If you are looking to experiment with Delta 8 and your headache, try a low dosage (look at the specific product’s package) and work your way up slowly until you reach the desired effects. Of course, if the high doesn’t feel good with your headache, discontinue the use of the Delta 8 product. 

Is My Product Working?

On the note of experimenting with dosages, products, and brands, you need to understand how to measure your success. I know it can be frustrating, especially when you have a headache, but adding any new medicinal thing to your body needs a lot of patience. The best option is to track your product’s success by checking in on your dosage and symptoms/how you’re feeling. Luckily, we’ve already written this blog on how to track that. 

Figuring out your individual dosage is also very important when it comes to treating specific ailments, such as headaches. The basic rule of thumb for choosing a dosage is to start low (as shown on the package) and work your way up as you need. For more information on dosing (CBD or Delta 8), read our Dosage Guide.

Just remember, write it down and be patient - you’ll find the product and dosage you need to kick some of those symptoms and, hopefully, the headache in general. 

CBD For Pets

dog laying in hammock

While I’m not sure if “pet headaches” is an actual thing, they can definitely contribute to our stress levels as well as headaches with their own anxiety. Which is why CBD for dogs and cats is definitely worth mentioning. Sometimes going after the source of your stress-induced headache works best. CBD can help calm your anxious pets at home daily or during special circumstances like thunderstorms or firework-focused holidays. Calming your pets means less stress noises such as barking and loud meowing, which could mean less situational headaches for you. Who doesn’t win there? 

When you decide to purchase CBD for your dog or cat, there are a few products to choose from. There are oils that you can add to their water or food, peanut butter that can be added to food, homemade treat recipes, or fed directly to your pet, or just get CBD treats. Most CBD pet products say that they are calming versus joint/mobility support. Also, each product and brand will have their own dosage guide. So, keep this in mind when you start introducing CBD to your pets, as it may take a little experimenting to find that sweet spot for their stress levels to reduce. 

Are You Ready To Say Goodbye To Headaches?

happy lady

Anyone that has ever suffered from a headache is sure to benefit from taking CBD. Even if you aren’t very prone to headaches, by taking CBD to aid in balancing your Endocannabinoid System, you can promote a healthy lifestyle that will help repel the possibility of a headache. If you’re already taking CBD for headaches, let us know how it’s going in the comments!

*One thing to remember is that while we aren’t legally allowed to make any specific health claims, we can, however, offer advice from personal accounts and success stories from people around the globe. 

CBD for Headaches
Do you want help with your headaches? Learn how CBD may be part of your solution to prevent headaches and deal with headache symptoms!
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