Possibly. The research into CBD oil for headaches (of any type) is really still in its infancy, so we don’t have a definitive answer yet. There are studies, though, that offer evidence that cannabinoids like CBD could offer relief to chronic (or occasional) headache sufferers.
CBD For Tension Headaches
As of yet, there are no studies on the efficacy of CBD for tension headaches (specifically). However, there has been some research into the role of the endocannabinoid system – and specifically endocannabinoid deficiency – in the pain of tension headaches. (3)
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is an inter-related matrix of receptors and chemicals (endocannabinoids or endogenous cannabinoids) that help regulate pain, appetite, mood, sleep, and inflammation (and that’s just the beginning).
Cannabinoids like CBD interact with our ECS, but scientists have discovered that endocannabinoids (which are cannabinoids that your body produces) play a huge role.
In particular, a 2006 study investigated the role that the endogenous cannabinoid anandamide (popularly known as the “bliss molecule”) plays in modulating the pain of these types of headaches. (4)
The researchers looked at the level of degradation of anandamide amongst 69 headache patients and found that women had a significantly higher level of anandamide degradation than men. According to the authors of the study, the lower levels of anandamide could help explain the prevalence of headaches in women.
While they were not looking at the role of CBD on these types of headaches, we know from other sources that CBD can enhance anandamide signaling (which could help explain its efficacy for anxiety and other conditions. (5)
Another review, which focused on the use of cannabis for headache disorders, noted that “Tension-type headaches can not only originate in the central nervous system but may also be triggered by myofascial tissue, often developing in response to stress.” (6)
This involvement of myofascial tissue could help explain why CBD topicals seem to be, at least anecdotally, helpful for some tension-headache sufferers. (7)