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Using CBD for Migraine Pain Management

CBD for Migraine

What is the difference between a migraine and a headache?

Let’s be clear from the outset: Migraines are not the same as headaches. Around 50% of adults report getting at least one headache a year, the most common of these are tension headaches, involving pain in the head and neck region and are usually. Typically, a headache is treated with mild pain medication like aspirin, ibuprofen, or paracetamol. Migraines are more severe and generally chronic, whereas a headache can usually pass within a day or so. Our CBD101 guide outlines the current state of the research into using CBD for migraines, with some sources suggesting that CBD works for treating migraines.

Migraines are classified medically as a Primary Headache Disorder, of which we will discuss three: Hemicrania, Tension Headaches, and Cluster headaches.

The familiar tension headache typically feels like a ring of pressure around the head, causing discomfort and pain. With causes as common as bad posture, stress, poor sleep, and even hunger, tension headaches seem to affect around half the population at some time.

Cluster headaches usually feel localized on one side of the head or behind one eye. The “cluster” part of this headache refers to how they occur–in clusters, where multiple headaches occur every day for a few days or even weeks at a time. The NIH has reported that cluster headaches can occur up to three times a day and seem to be seasonal, occurring primarily in the spring and fall months. Cluster headache symptoms to watch out for include: Pain that appears to come from behind the eye, congestion, feeling agitated, rapid changes in heartbeat, extreme pain located on one side of the head and face and, watering red eyes.

Hemicrania is a form of headache which is constant but where the intensity of the pain fluctuates over time. Typically located on one particular side of the head, these headaches have the familiar symptoms we usually associate with the classic ‘migraine,” such as nausea or vomiting, sore and watering, irritated eyes, and sensitivity to light or loud sounds.   

Can I use CBD for migraines?

One recent study seems to indicate that cannabis assisted patients with the overall reduction of migraine headache pain. An interesting finding from this study was how patients used cannabis not just as a form of relief from migraines as well as a migraine prophylactic–keeping migraines at bay. This early finding was seconded in a more recent paper, which attributed the relief of migraine pain and symptoms to the full spectrum of cannabinoids of the cannabis plant. 

From both studies, it seems that a broader spectrum of cannabinoids, rather than an isolated cannabinoid, produced the required pain relief. Although neither research paper compared the use of CBD isolates to full-spectrum CBD for effective migraine treatment, the latter certainly seems to have had a positive effect on migraine symptoms, suggesting that a full spectrum CBD oil like Soulsome might be of great benefit for migraine sufferers who may wish to avoid opiates to treat migraine pain.

cannabinoids… present a promising class of compounds for acute and prophylactic migraine pain treatment.  

The full-spectrum effects of CBD, including analgesic, antiemetic, and anti-inflammatory properties, as the 2018 Leimuranta paper claims, seem to provide a good source of relief from many of the debilitating symptoms of migraine. This has special bearing for those who experience migraines with nausea and/or vomiting and intense pain. Although the field remains young and more research is needed into the specifics of how CBD for migraine treatment works, these initial findings seem to indicate a very positive path forward for using CBD to treat migraine symptoms in the future. Furthermore, a CBD oil like Soulsome’s full-spectrum CBD oil may prove to be especially effective in treating migraine pain due to the “Entourage Effect” of multiple cannabinoids working in tandem to enhance the pain-relief effects of CBD in the treatment of migraine pain.


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