CBD has gained popularity all over the world for its beneficial properties. It is a much-discussed compound in the health sector. This compound is extracted from the hemp plant or Cannabis sativa. Unlike THC, it does not provide any ‘high’ or psychoactivity thus making it preferable for medicinal use. This is not habit forming and in the right dosage, it is found to be pretty useful in treating various medical conditions.
Chronic headaches can be defined as frequent headaches occurring almost half of the days in a month, for more than three months. Studies have found compound CBD beneficial in treating people suffering from chronic headaches. It is found to interact with ECS (Endogenous Cannabinoid System) to provide relief to this pain. Headaches can really mess up day-to-day activities and having an all-natural solution that does not cause any addiction would be good.
What Are The Symptoms And Causes Of Chronic Headaches?
When you have short-term or long-term headaches for up to 15 days a month and if this continues for more than 3 months, you can say that you have chronic headaches. These aren’t usually caused by any other conditions and can be observed in all age groups from children to adults.
Symptoms of Chronic Headache
- Sensitivity to light, smells, and noises.
- Nausea, vomiting
- Runny nose, nasal congestion
Causes for Chronic Headaches
- Inflammation and other problems in the blood vessels inside the brain
- Meningitis and other infections
- Brain tumor
- Brain injury
- High or low intracranial pressure
How CBD Helps With Chronic Headaches
CBD is known to interact with a neuromodulatory system in the body called ECS or endogenous cannabinoid system. This interaction helps in reducing pain and inflammation. Studies conducted on the effects of CBD on people have found it beneficial in treating chronic headaches. It is known to relieve pain and improve sleep. CBD is known to interact with cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, which have an effect on the immune system. CBD could prevent the metabolization of anandamide, a compound that has effects on pain regulation and thereby reduces pain.
It is hard to determine the cause of headaches and CBD is known to reduce pain and inflammation through different methods. It is known to reduce nerve pain by attaching to glycine receptors, which control the speed of nerve signals between cells.
Is CBD Safe To Use For Chronic Headaches?
CBD does not provide any psychoactive effects like THC provides, this makes it non-habit forming or non-addictive. WHO considers CBD to be generally safe, that it does not have any effects of ‘high’, and that there are no reports of health concerns from people who used pure CBD. If you are planning to use CBD on a regular basis you should let your doctor know about that. FDA has approved a CBD product called Epidiolex that is used to treat seizures.
It has shown side effects like nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, drowsiness, and changes in appetite and mood. It is also known to interfere with other medications so it is necessary that you consult with a doctor before starting on supplements. There are some adverse effects caused by CBD like liver damage, fertility issues, and slowed brain functioning.
How To Prevent Chronic Headaches
Though it is difficult to determine the exact cause behind chronic headaches, there are measures one can take to help prevent getting chronic headaches.
- Jot down your triggers and avoid them – keeping a note of what triggers headaches for you can help a lot in avoiding them. Keep details of each headache like what might have triggered it, how long it lasted, and what you were doing.
- Get good sleep – an adult requires around 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night. It will be good to maintain a pattern or order by going to bed and waking up at a particular time each day. Sleep disturbances and snoring should be consulted with a doctor as these are risk factors for chronic headaches.
- Avoid frequent use of OTC medicines – taking medicines more often may increase the frequency of headaches. It is necessary to consult your doctor before taking such medicines more often and this should be reduced or stopped to prevent side effects.
- Exercise more often – it is necessary to exercise regularly for your mental and physical well-being. This helps in reducing stress. You can choose any activity like walking, cycling or running. This would help in improving your overall health.
- Maintain a proper diet – try to eat at a regular time. Do not skip meals as it might trigger headaches. Limit food and drinks that might be causing headaches to you.
- Don’t stress – it is not good for your health both physically and mentally. It is considered a common trigger for headaches. Have a proper schedule, talk to others, exercise, relax, and always try to keep a positive attitude.
- Limit caffeine – this compound is being used in medications to treat headaches but it can also worsen the situation. If you consume too much coffee you should reduce it and drink during the first half of the day.
How CBD can be used for Chronic Headaches?
There are so many types of CBD products available on the market in various forms. There are gummies, tinctures, capsules, sprays, lotions, ointments, and patches. The first step in using CBD for headaches is to decide on which way to take CBD. Taking it orally or applying topically are the two most common ways.
- Topical CBD
Topical CBD includes lotions, ointments, patches, and creams. Applying this on the skin where it hurts will let the compound sink in through the skin and bind with receptors to block the pain signals. It can also help in reducing swelling and inflammation. This compound interacts with CB2 receptors to relieve pain and it’s mainly used to treat arthritis pain, inflammation, swelling, and soreness.
- Oral CBD
There are two ways to ingest this orally, sublingually, or by ingestion. It can be prescribed by your doctor. Sublingually means under the tongue technique, where a few drops of the tincture is placed beneath the tongue and held there 30 to 60 seconds before swallowing. This lets the CBD gets absorbed through the capillaries in the mouth and reaches the ECS receptors through the blood. This technique is considered the best in terms of bioavailability as it is delivered directly into the bloodstream through mucous membranes.
Ingestion is the process of directly swallowing CBD in the form of pills, gummies, or by other edible means. The CBD molecules will go through the digestive system to the liver, where they will be broken down. This process has lower bioavailability when compared to the previous process of consumption.
The second step is to determine the dosage required. This is calculated based on a variety of factors like weight and rate of metabolism. It is recommended to start low and then increase gradually according to tolerance level. Since this can be different from person to person, the dosage required will also be different. It can also vary according to the severity of your headache. After taking the CBD medication you can evaluate its results, whether it’s working or not. If you are not noticing any changes for a couple of hours, you might want to increase the dosage.
Alternative treatments for chronic headaches
There are several techniques and therapies that were developed over the years to help treat headaches. You need to be cautious while doing these alternative treatments as many haven’t been studied well enough for their effects.
- Massage – This is found to be helpful in reducing headaches. It helps in relaxing tight muscles, increasing blood flow, reducing stress, and relieving pain. Massages are well known for their relaxation effects on the body and mind.
- Biofeedback – It is the process of consciously controlling certain bodily responses like muscle tension, heart rate, skin temperature, and breathing. This can help in reducing headaches, pain, and stress.
- Acupuncture – It is an ancient medical technique in Chinese traditional treatment where hair-thin needles are inserted into the pressure points in your body. This triggers the nerves to release certain hormones like endorphins. It is known to relieve headaches and migraines.
CBD, a compound obtained from hemp plants, has gained the attention of the world for its beneficial effects in reducing pain, stress, anxiety, depression, and several others without posing any habit-forming threats. The non-habit forming property is a major factor as THC is known to produce high psychoactive effects and addiction in users. CBD is widely used these days and is found in a variety of products like toothpaste and food. The pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties of this compound are beneficial in treating chronic headaches. There are several products available on the market from tinctures and ointments to patches that let the compound directly sink into the body. Start off small and then increase the dosage according to your requirements. It is necessary to get the advice of your doctor for using CBD as it is known to interact with other medications.
Dr. Edward Zelman
Dr. Edward Zelman works as a Neurologist with the expertise of over 15 years, helping more than thousands to get back in complete health through his research-proven treatments. He earned his Masters from Harvard University and completed his Ph.D. from Columbia University. Dr. Edward Zelman is one of the notable names in the medical industry for his work in pain management, chronic disorder, and so on. He is also a former faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At present, Dr. Edward Zelman is researching safe and effective natural remedies that can restore as well as maintain the youthful functioning of the body.
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