Let’s face it, for many reason’s we can all agree that there is no permanent cure for a headache. A headache can be a sign of stress or emotional distress, or it can result from a medical disorder, such as migraine or high blood pressure, anxiety, or depression. It can lead to other problems. People with chronic migraine headaches, for example, may find it hard to attend work or school regularly. The very act of existing alone causes us as humans to experience shifts within out stress levels, sleep levels, and various other conditions that makes having the occasional headache pretty much inevitable. In a situation such as that, the best we can do is find the most comfortable , safe, and natural ways possible to treat those inevitable headaches that come and go.
Think about it: you can get a headache from stress, tooth pain, from drinking too much (i.e. a hangover), from not drinking enough (i.e. dehydration), from skipping out on your morning coffee, from tumors, from concussions, from getting too much sun, and so on and so forth – there are loads of physiological (and even emotional) reasons why we get headaches.
Its a fact that our brains themselves can’t even feel the pain of a headache. Taking this into consideration, how is it even possible to get a headache? And what is a headache? Where does the pain come from?
Doctors believe the physical pain from headaches is the result of inflamed tissue and blood vessels in the cranial region, and/or changes in the release of neurochemicals that stimulate nerves and produce pain signals in the central nervous system. Thus, it’s not your brain that’s hurting during a headache – it’s the network of blood vessels and fragile tissues that surround it.
What’s the first thing you reach for when you get a headache? If you’re anything like most people, it’s probably an advil or something similar.
Medications like ibuprofen (which include the brand names Motrin, Advil, and Aleve) are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) that have non-addictive analgesic (pain-relieving), anti-pyretic (fever-reducing), and anti-inflammatory effects.
Functionally, the drugs work by blocking the production of prostaglandins, which are inflammation-inducing substances produced by the body that are released as a response to illness or injury. (This is why ibuprofen is also a good fever-reducing OTC medication).
However, in addition to blocking the release of prostaglandins at the site of inflammation, drugs like Advil and Aleve also block/inhibit protective prostaglandins that have a functional role in the stomach and kidneys. This is why it’s very important to always take ibuprofen with food – if you don’t the prostaglandin inhibition will likely result in stomach bleeding.
The reason CBD makes a great alternative choice is the lack of potentially fatal side effects. In terms of how cannabis works to alleviate headaches, we need to understand the basic functioning of the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is a massive network of cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors that exists naturally in the human body. Everyone has a functional ECS, even if they’ve never taken cannabis or smoked marijuana a day in their lives.
Cannabinoid receptors have been found to exist in virtually every single cell and tissue type in the human body, including the vast network of nerves, muscles, and soft tissues in the cranial region. When you use cannabis (whether it’s smoking flower, taking CBD oil drops, rubbing topicals into your skin, etc) the active cannabinoids in the plant (THC and CBD) will interact with and manipulate natural receptors in the ECS, thereby promoting homeostasis on the whole-body level.
Thus, in the case of headaches (which remember is the result of inflammation in structures of the head and neck), CBD interacts with localized ECS receptors to either A) revert neurochemical release back to appropriate levels, or B) reduce headache-inducing inflammation in acute muscles, tissues, and blood vessel networks.
Also, during a presentation at the 3rd Congress of the European Academy of Neurology this past summer (July 2017), one cannabis-based clinical trial showcased active cannabinoids to be more effective than opiate painkillers at reducing chronic migraine pain. The study, which included 127 participants suffering from frequent migraine, portrayed that CBD-containing medications cut migraine pain among all subjects by approximately 43.5%, compared to 40.1% in the corresponding opiate medication. More importantly, however, was the fact that the cannabis-based medication produced far fewer (essentially zero) side effects.
For headaches we recommend “CBD oils” which are the most potent form of CBD medication, as the carrier oil can contain more active compound by volume than natural flower. Also, CBD is a legal product because it’s produced from the hemp plant — NOT the marijuana plant. Even though they both come from the same species (Cannabis sativa L), hemp is drastically different because by definition it contains less than 0.3% THC. In other words, it’s a type of CBD-rich cannabis that does not produce a psychoactive high.
Take a look at these hemp oil products and get more detailed information on product options!