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thc cbd migraine topical cream

However, not all headaches are created equal. For example, tension headaches often start at the base of the skull where neck muscles tighten, sending up an inflammatory response. Kuprowsky says a cannabis topical could theoretically be helpful for the muscle tissue, which could in turn reduce headache pain.

But before slapping CBD oil onto your forehead, know that there’s a catch: cannabinoids are not so easily absorbed into the bloodstream through skin, and most headaches are caused by blood vessels in the brain running amok. While there are promising pre-clinical trials for transdermal patches which breach the bloodstream, it’s not known whether they can treat headache pain.

Kuprowsky suggests that a cannabis ingredient might enhance other medicinal ingredients present, so you wouldn’t feel the cannabinoids per se, but could theoretically benefit from their ability to strengthen everything else. “If you combine CBD [with other ingredients], then you may have a synergistic effect. And if the CBD isn’t helping on its own, it’s complementing the other herbs.”

Headaches are more than skin-deep

Kuprowsky adds that a range of migraine symptoms—including pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound—could be mitigated by CBD, which he says may potentially act like triptans, a commonly prescribed migraine drug. Pre-clinical studies are promising, but we need clinical trials to confirm.

If peppermint oil rubbed onto the forehead, neck or temples can provide headache relief, couldn’t a cannabis topical go the extra mile and dissolve the pain altogether?

Cannabis has a well-documented entourage effect, meaning the cannabinoids in the plant work synergistically with each other, and with the plant’s terpenes, flavonoids, and other botanical components. Cannabis can boost active compounds in other ingredients, too, as when mixed into an ointment or cream.

But he does warn against placebo effect, which he says people in pain are very susceptible to. “Placebo effect is actually a very effective treatment for pain,” he explains. So when it comes to CBD, he cautions that the hype may be responsible for some of the enthusiastic feedback regarding its ability to mitigate pain.

Consider a CBD cream that includes lavender and peppermint. Research has found that lavender helps partially or completely relieve migraine attacks in a large number of patients and it can even prevent migraines from occurring in the first place.[24] [25] [26] Peppermint is absurdly powerful for migraine relief, which you can read about here.

The nerves responsible for triggering migraines are the trigeminal nerve, which spreads throughout the face, and the occipital nerve, which is located on the back of the neck and head. Notice that the image of where to apply CBD targets the trigeminal and occipital nerves (images above). Tension in the neck, shoulder, and back as well as total levels of stress in the entire body can also affect these nerves. People with jaw pain are more likely to suffer migraines and people with neck injuries are nearly five times more likely to suffer migraines than the general population. [1] [2] While pain in the area of these nerves can trigger migraines, migraines can also inflame these same nerves. [3] It’s a vicious cycle and part of the path of a migraine detonating, even in those who don’t have jaw or neck pain.

CBD is a breakthrough in migraine treatment. You can absorb CBD from vapor, capsules, and edibles as well as sublingually and topically. This article discusses topical CBD, a lesser-known method of CBD absorption that will provide a powerful new option for migraine prevention and relief.

Bonus Tip

Actually, we jumped the gun a bit here. You’ll want to keep reading to understand why topical CBD is competing with the strongest migraine medications.

We know that the release of CGRP may trigger migraines. But why are the nerves associated with migraines releasing CGRP in the first place? CGRP is released as a result of exposure to inflammation and from something called oxidative stress.[8] If you’ve visited before or read my new book, you know all about oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is the universal migraine trigger—it increases the risk of migraines and is associated with nearly all migraine triggers.[9]

Just make sure the hemp or marijuana cream you select contains large amounts of CBD. Cannabis researchers note that the advantage of a CBD cream is that “topical absorption is much higher than oral CBD absorption.”[19] To give you an idea of just how well CBD absorbs through the skin, topical absorption of CBD is 10 times higher than the topical absorption of THC. [20] If you apply CBD cream on your face and neck, it will quickly and efficiently absorb into your skin to soothe the nerves that trigger migraines and their surrounding muscular tissue.

CBD creams may prevent or relieve migraines when applied to the forehead, temples, jaw, neck, and shoulders by soothing the nerves associated with migraines. You can also apply CBD to any area of pain on the body because the nerves that trigger migraines can be influenced by the body’s total levels of stress and inflammation.

There is no scientific evidence or research on CBD as an effective treatment for migraine—in large part because it has not been formally studied. However, it may still be a viable topical option for some patients with joint and muscle pain associated with migraine. “If you have a lot of neck pain or soreness, it is perfectly reasonable to use CBD oil. It may even prevent nausea and vomiting,” Dr. Silberstein says.

Dr. Silberstein also cautions against CBD oil or marijuana in use in adolescents, as it may affect the developing brain. “In general, it should be avoided by adolescents until more research has been conducted,” he adds.

The Effects of CBD

In an effort to understand the benefits and risks of using CBD oil for migraine, we recently spoke with Dr. Stephen Silberstein, director of the Headache Center at Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.

For patients interested in CBD oil for the acute treatment of migraine, Dr. Silberstein says it is important to ensure that you are using a pure product. You are likely to receive a pure and safe product in states where CBD oil is legal and grown. Local dispensaries will also be of use in determining origin and quality.

Despite the fact that CBD oil does not elicit the same response as marijuana, it is not legal in all 50 states. So one side-effect could be the legal ramifications of partaking in using CBD oil in a state where it is not permitted by law. To determine if it is legal in the state where you reside, visit Americans for Safe Access.