Get in the zone with a free pair of SONY Noise Cancelling Headphones from Bloom&Oil! Enter Now

Win a pair of SONY Noise Cancelling Headphones from Bloom&Oil! Enter Now

CBD For Headaches

CBD For Headaches: Does It Work?

Headaches are an almost universal experience, but for those with headache disorders, the situation is exponentially worse. After all, we can all live with the occasional headache, but when it becomes a chronic experience, headaches become a threat to well-being.

So let’s cut to the chase. Will CBD for headaches help?

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 Headaches girl wearing red sweater lying grey sofa

What Causes Headaches?

More than 37 million Americans alone suffer from headache disorders but the causes of headaches are a topic of hot debate in the scientific community. (1)

First, it’s best to be clear that we’re talking about “primary headaches,” which are not a symptom of underlying disease.  The most common primary headaches are:

● Cluster headache


● Migraine with aura

● Tension headache

A combination of genetic and environmental factors most likely play a role in determining who will deal with chronic headaches. A history of trauma, for example, increases the risk of headache). (2)  But common triggers of headaches include stress, sleep disruption, hormonal shifts, weather changes, or even certain foods and drinks.

What Evidence Supports the Use of CBD for Headaches?

There’s a lot to learn about how (or if) CBD could be used as a reliable treatment for headaches, but here we’ll delve into some of the research that pertains to specific types of headaches.

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)

CBD For Cluster Headaches

When a group of researchers investigated the efficacy of cannabis for cluster headaches, the results were (very) mixed:(8)

“The therapeutic potential of cannabis for cluster headaches is to be considered on a scientific basis, but mixed results observed by patients suggest that structured trials with synthetic, selective cannabinoids should be the way to investigate this topic further.”

That means that the research just isn’t there yet on individual cannabinoids like CBD oil for cluster headaches. And the researchers involved in this particular examination suggested further research into individual cannabinoids rather than cannabis as a whole.

However, we do have anecdotal evidence, which shouldn’t be ignored (even though we obviously can’t treat this kind of evidence with the same level of confidence as a peer-reviewed study).

So what are people saying about CBD for cluster headaches? Well, from an unscientific perusal of cluster-headache Reddit threads, it’s a mix (which actually reflects the results of the aforementioned findings). Some people experience no benefit, while some find that CBD may help prevent an attack or even dial down the agony.

CBD Oil For Migraines

There is a lot of scientific discussion about whether CBD oil helps with migraines. However, we’re still short on solid evidence that it works (or, for that matter, that it doesn’t work).

The most recent inquiry, published in 2019, found that cannabinoids do play a key role in pain control and “may be relevant for migraine via multiple mechanisms.” (9)

The study reviewed the growing preclinical evidence on endogenous cannabinoids (like anandamide) and plant-based cannabinoids for migraines. CBD, they found, reduces inflammatory and neuropathic pain via multiple mechanisms. Their conclusion?

“Many believe it is effective for migraine and headache, but controlled clinical trials are missing. Anecdotal information does not provide THC and CBD content or the amount and type of terpenes. Cannabis is effective for pain, we still need to know if it is effective for headache.”


What Kind of CBD Should I Use for Headaches?

When it comes to CBD for headaches, quality is what you’re looking for. Don’t worry about the bells and whistles, but do look for a company that has a reputation for transparency and accurate dosing. (Hint: look for third-party lab reports!)

For more information on great companies, check out Bloom & Oil’s list of The Best CBD Oils You Can Buy. Whether you want full spectrum or zero-THC, there’s probably a tincture for you.

What Kind of Topical Should I Use for Headaches?

If you want to try a CBD topical for your headache, you need to find a pure, potent CBD topical. We recommend Spruce CBD’s topicals because they solidly check both these boxes. The list of ingredients in their salve is short (and readable) and at 1,000mg of full-spectrum CBD in a 0.87-ounce jar, this is one of the most potent CBD topicals on the market.

Another good topical to try is Endoca’s salve. This is a high-dose CBD salve that includes a limited number of nourishing ingredients like coconut oil and beeswax, as well as cannabis oil, vanilla, and Vitamin E.

How to Apply CBD Oil for Headaches

If you want to try CBD oil for headaches, one popular way to use it is as a topical. Because the myofascial tissue is involved in some headaches, it’s possible that topically applied CBD could help with that kind of pain. (6)

To apply your CBD topical, take a small amount on your (clean!) fingertips and massage into your temples. Some people also massage the CBD across their forehead. You don’t want to rub so hard that you damage the skin, but you do want to make sure that as much as possible is absorbed. Plus, a little massage never hurts when you have a tension headache!

Cautions About Taking CBD Oil For Headaches

CBD is recognized by the scientific community as having a good safety profile. It’s not psychoactive and any side effects (if you experience them at all) are mild. But that doesn’t mean that it’s for everyone.

The more complex your medical situation is, the more important it is to talk to your medical practitioner before using CBD. If you’re taking other medications (particularly ones that are metabolized by the liver) or if you’re pregnant or nursing, this advice definitely applies to you.

And remember, the CBD industry is unregulated. So do your homework on companies before buying from them. Look for organically grown hemp and up-to-date third-party lab reports. Keep in mind that the cheapest CBD may not be the best option. (Though you don’t have to buy the most expensive either!)

The information provided is for informational purposes only. We do not claim to treat or cure any health ailment or condition. Please consult your doctor or healthcare provider before trying any new product. We are not responsible for any adverse reaction(s) you may have to any of the products featured on this site. See our T & C for more information.

  1. The American Headache Society. Why Headache Medicine? 2021.
  2. Defrin R. (2014). Chronic post-traumatic headache: clinical findings and possible mechanisms. The Journal of manual & manipulative therapy, 22(1), 36–44.
  3. Russo E. B. (2016). Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Reconsidered: Current Research Supports the Theory in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel, and Other Treatment-Resistant Syndromes. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 1(1), 154–165.
  4. Cupini, L. M., Bari, M., Battista, N., Argirò, G., Finazzi-Agrò, A., Calabresi, P., & Maccarrone, M. (2006). Biochemical changes in endocannabinoid system are expressed in platelets of female but not male migraineurs. Cephalalgia : an international journal of headache, 26(3), 277–281.
  5. Leweke, F. M., Piomelli, D., Pahlisch, F., Muhl, D., Gerth, C. W., Hoyer, C., Klosterkötter, J., Hellmich, M., & Koethe, D. (2012). Cannabidiol enhances anandamide signaling and alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. Translational psychiatry, 2(3), e94.
  6. Lochte, B. C., Beletsky, A., Samuel, N. K., & Grant, I. (2017). The Use of Cannabis for Headache Disorders. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 2(1), 61–71.
  7. Nitecka-Buchta, A., Nowak-Wachol, A., Wachol, K., Walczyńska-Dragon, K., Olczyk, P., Batoryna, O., Kempa, W., & Baron, S. (2019). Myorelaxant Effect of Transdermal Cannabidiol Application in Patients with TMD: A Randomized, Double-Blind Trial. Journal of clinical medicine, 8(11), 1886.
  8. MDedge: Neurology. Is Cannabis Effective for Cluster Headache? 2010.
  9. Tassorelli, C., Greco, R., & Silberstein, S. D. (2019). The endocannabinoid system in migraine: from bench to pharmacy and back. Current opinion in neurology, 32(3), 405–412.

you must be at least 21 to view this website

Sorry, you have to be of legal age to visit this site.