Can CBD Reduce The Effects of Migraines?

If you suffer from migraines, you know that they are not your common, everyday kind of headache. The American Migraine Association describes them as “a disabling neurological disease with different symptoms and different treatment approaches compared to other headaches.”[1]

Some 39 million Americans live with migraines. It’s the third most prevalent illness in the world.[2] If you aren’t sure if you what you are experiencing is a migraine, the following checklist from the American Migraine Association should help:[3]

  • Your head pain may be hard to endure and may be unbearable.
  • The pain may be on one side or the head or both. It could be in the front or in the back.
  • Your head pain causes a throbbing, pounding, or pulsating sensation.
  • Your head pain gets worse with physical activity or any movement.
  • You experience nausea and/or vomiting
  • You are sensitive to light, noise and/or smells.
  • A migraine attack lasts anywhere from four hours to several day 

CBD and Muscle Pain from Migraines

CBD is one of the over 60 cannabinoids or naturally-occurring chemicals found in industrial hemp and marijuana. Cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is made up of endocannabinoids or neurotransmitters that send chemical messages between neurons, the cells that transmit nerve impulses to affect pain response, lower inflammation and aid injury recovery as well as control other functions of the body such as sleep, appetite and immune response. The American Migraine Association says that CBD might be a viable option for patients who suffer from joint and muscle pain associated with migraines.[4]

Non mind altering or habit forming, CBD from industrial hemp is absorbed through the skin where it binds to the body’s own CB2 receptors. It then connects with these receptors to provide anti-inflammatory pain relief. CBD products, which have the ability to work their way deep into the tissues, are great for musculoskeletal and joint pain relief. CBD products now are considered part of advanced clinical care and increasingly taking their place at the table of massage therapists as well as chiropractors and other medical professionals.

Survey of Migraine Users Indicates CBD Impact

While there are no formal studies to date that CBD is an effective treatment for migraines, a clinically validated survey[5] conducted last year found that an overwhelming majority of headache users reported decreased headache impact after taking a specific formulation of CBD oil.  

The Headache Impact Test (Hit-6™) 30-day survey included 105 participants with migraines. Condition severity of survey participants varied, including low-frequency to high-frequency episodic migraine, as well as chronic migraine.  Chronic migraine sufferers are defined as people who experience 15 to 29 headache days over a 30-day period. At the end of the 30-day trial period, 86% of respondents reported decreased headache impact.

During the trial period, users of the specifically-formulated CBD oil experienced an average of 3.8 fewer headache days when compared to before they used the oil, for a 23% reduction. The number of participants experiencing daily headaches was reduced from 15 at the beginning of the study to 10 by the end of the study — a 33% drop.

More studies are necessary to assess the impact of CBD on migraines, though surveys such as these indicate promising results. 


[1] “What is a Migraine,” American Migraine Foundation, January 21,2020.
[2] Migraine Research Foundation, Accessed June 27, 2021.
[3] “What is a Migraine,” American Migraine Foundation, January 21,2020.
[4] “Migraine and CBD Oil, American Migraine Association, December 7, 2018.
[5] “Survey Shows CBD Has Positive Impact on Migraines,” Press Release, December 16, 2020.