How Much CBD Do I Take for Migraine Prevention and Relief?
There is no one-size-fits-all dose since there’s not enough migraine research on CBD to know a perfect dose for the average migraine sufferer. Also, the CBD dosage depends on the changing needs of each migraine sufferer’s endocannabinoid system.
That being said, the ideal dosage of a full-spectrum hemp extract is likely to fall between 15 mg and 100 mg per day for migraine prevention and relief. There is a way to find a CBD dosage that may prevent your migraines, but there are some things you need to know about hemp first because there are many ways to screw this up.
16 Things You Should Know About Hemp Dosages for Migraine
Some of the information below comes from my book Hemp for Migraine. If you want to learn more about the information presented here, please take a look at the book.
16. The Endocannabinoid System and Migraine
Researchers have found a problem in the endocannabinoid system of migraine sufferers. The endocannabinoid system is a natural system in the human body that controls your overall health, and it’s kind of a big deal. The endocannabinoid problem in migraine sufferers was so bad that one study, published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease, found that chronic migraine sufferers had an endocannabinoid system that only functioned at 50 percent of what it should.
The best CBD products for migraines
15. The Endocannabinoid System and CBD
A new theory published in a 2016 study suggested that an endocannabinoid deficiency may be the origin of migraine. Cannabinoids like CBD or THC increase endocannabinoids in the body and may fight migraines by increasing endocannabinoid levels. Just think of it as fueling up with something that the body already makes naturally.
14. Endocannabinoid Levels and Migraine Triggers
Nearly all migraine triggers increase something called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress depletes endocannabinoids. This suggests that the more migraine triggers that you are exposed to on any given day, the more CBD you will need to boost endocannabinoid levels.   So you may need more CBD on a stressful day because stress will deplete endocannabinoids. You are fueling up a natural system, and you will need to add more fuel (endocannabinoids) when migraine triggers deplete them.
13. Endocannabinoid Levels are Unique to You
Endocannabinoid levels represent your overall health. Things that hurt the human body, such as migraine triggers, deplete the body’s natural endocannabinoids. Because your health and endocannabinoid levels are unique to you, the dosage of cannabinoids needed to boost endocannabinoids for migraine prevention is also unique to you. The CBD doses that work for others may not work for you and vice versa.
12. Your Migraine Triggers Make a Difference
The things that trigger your migraines are unique to you, and CBD may reduce those triggers in different ways. For example, CBD used to control a migraine trigger like anxiety is different from CBD used to help reduce the symptoms of a migraine trigger like a neck injury. In the case of anxiety, CBD may help you eliminate the source of the migraine trigger, whereas in the case of a neck injury, CBD might relieve the pain and migraines that come from a neck injury without eliminating the neck injury itself.  Because CBD targets migraine triggers in different ways, the ideal dosage will depend on the types of triggers you have and the severity of those triggers.
11. How You Absorb CBD Makes a Dose Difference
There are different ways to absorb CBD, such as inhalation, oral, sublingual, or topical creams. Each method has different advantages and absorption rates. This article will focus on hemp extracts that you take sublingually or orally. I’ll have a detailed article for the use of topical hemp creams later, which is thoroughly described in the book Hemp for Migraine.
As you can imagine, treating neck pain with a topical hemp cream to sooth the nerves associated with migraine will have a different dose of CBD compared to a sublingual dose of hemp extract that you take to increase total endocannabinoid levels throughout the body. The quality of a CBD product and its ingredients will also make a difference.
10. CBD for Migraine is Popular
Extensive surveys by the medical marijuana industry in California and the Brightfield Group have found that migraine patients report some of the highest levels of relief from CBD-rich cannabis. Migraines also top the list of the reasons why people are purchasing CBD-rich hemp extracts as well as CBD-rich marijuana products.  The benefit of CBD-rich hemp extract is that it has low amounts of THC and ideally will not get you high. The question everyone should have is, “why are so many migraine sufferers spending their hard-earned money on CBD products?”
9. Migraine Research
Several studies have found cannabinoids helpful for migraine prevention and pain relief, which explains why people have used cannabis for thousands of years for headache and migraine relief.      CBD is found in some cannabis and hemp strains that people are using for migraine relief, but there have been no clinical studies on the use of hemp extract (with high-CBD and low-THC levels) for migraine prevention.
8. Fake Hemp
According to research published in the journal Epilepsy and Behavior, only 2 out of 24 products tested by the FDA in 2017 contained the amount of CBD listed on the label. The problem of fake CBD products or products with the wrong amount of CBD is rampant. This cannot be overstated. The FDA does not currently regulate CBD products, and many, if not most, people are using hemp products that are fake.
7. Why is There so Much Misinformation on the Type of CBD and the Dosage for Migraine?
It starts with manufacturers. Many products from large CBD companies and third-party testing facilities have failed to show accurate amounts of CBD and other cannabinoids when tested according to the rigorous standards of the FDA, consumerlabs.com, or research published by reputable journals such as JAMA.  Most CBD companies and testing facilities are making claims that are not accurate. So, most migraine sufferers are using products that have inaccurate amounts of cannabinoids or even no cannabinoids at all.
There are many migraine sufferers that have had success with certain CBD products, and unfortunately, that information doesn’t mean anything unless we know what product it was and the actual amounts of CBD, other cannabinoids, and terpenes in the product. In addition, the reputable CBD companies that have this information cannot tell you what is working for migraine sufferers because the FDA prohibits companies from marketing to any disease. This means a company can have hundreds of migraine sufferers telling the company that a specific CBD product has eliminated their migraines, and the company won’t be able to let the world know.
With limited research, poor testing methods, and silent companies, the internet is filled with misinformation on hemp for migraine.
6. The Entourage Effect Makes a Dose Difference
Here’s the definition of the entourage effect from my book:
“The entourage effect is what researchers refer to as the synergy of multiple nutrients found within the hemp plant that increases medicinal benefits, counters side effects, and maintains benefits at high doses.”
The entourage effect refers to the combination of CBD, low amounts of THC, numerous other cannabinoids, terpenes, healthy fats, and other nutrients that are found within premium hemp extracts. This combination may provide increased benefits for migraine sufferers when compared to isolated CBD or THC.  Hemp extracts with the entourage effect are often labeled as “full-spectrum hemp.”
Because a hemp extract with the entourage effect may be more effective than isolated CBD, your dosage should be significantly less. Isolated CBD is cheaper than a full-spectrum hemp extract and may also be useful, but you may require higher doses and may not get all the benefits of the entourage effect.
Most hemp companies list inaccurate quantities of CBD and as expected, very few products that claim “full spectrum” or “entourage effect” contain accurate amounts of these other cannabinoids, terpenes, and nutrients. Make sure the hemp company is reputable and their third-party testing facility is also reputable.
5. CBD Doses Used in Research
High doses of isolated CBD (100 to 600 mg per day) have been used in research to treat insomnia, anxiety, epilepsy, and other conditions. Even doses of up to 1500 mg of CBD per day have been deemed safe and well tolerated by humans. Isolated CBD is a lot cheaper than a full-spectrum hemp extract and some migraine sufferers prefer to take higher doses of a pure CBD rather than low doses of a full-spectrum hemp extract.
Although CBD is safe at high doses, you should always check with your doctor before taking any supplement that may interact with medications or your specific health conditions.
Remember that isolated CBD usually requires a higher dose than a full-spectrum hemp extract. However, some studies have shown benefits from low doses of isolated CBD (5 mg to 100 mg of CBD per day) and many people report benefits from low doses of isolated CBD.
Most of the studies that reported benefits from CBD at low doses (5 mg to 100 mg of CBD per day) include a CBD product with other cannabinoids and nutrients that you would find in a full-spectrum hemp extract. Most CBD companies recommend a dose from 5 mg to 100 mg of a full-spectrum hemp extract. Most CBD reviewers claim this dose range helps with various conditions.
4. CBD Dose in Migraine Research
Migraine research has not identified a specific CBD dosage for the relief of migraine.
A recent study presented at the Congress of the European Academy of Neurology found that a dose of 18 mg of CBD and 38 mg of THC per day was just as effective as amitriptyline, a leading migraine prescription drug. Plus, the cannabinoids reduced migraine pain by 43 percent. Less than 9 mg of CBD per day had no effect.
The problem with the study above is that 38 mg of THC is high and will probably make you feel “high” with side effects. Disruptive side effects from THC may increase oxidative stress and migraines, according to 2018 research published by Washington State University. 
The hundreds of studies I gathered in the book Hemp for Migraine as well as numerous migraineur testimonials suggest that a hemp product (with more CBD and less THC) will be more effective than a cannabis product that uses a high amount of THC. There may not be a perfect dose in research, but there is a way to find your cannabinoid dose for migraine relief.
3. How Do I Find My CBD Dose?
You don’t want to start off with large doses of a full-spectrum hemp extract because large doses may have the opposite effect and end up increasing oxidative stress, inflammation, and possibly migraines.  The small amounts of THC in hemp extract can cause side effects, such as drowsiness, in people that are sensitive.
Most hemp manufacturers recommend starting off with a small dose, such as 5 mg per day, and increasing that dose by 5 mg every week until you feel best. Many migraine sufferers have an endocannabinoid deficiency and may want to try a larger dose, such as 15 mg or 25 mg, and if they feel great, they may want to increase that dose 5 mg every week until they find the desired dose. The dosage should be reduced if you feel any side effects.
It’s recommended that you work with a healthcare professional to find your ideal CBD dose.
2. How Long Does CBD Take to Prevent Migraines?
No migraine treatment is guaranteed to work. Cannabinoids work by promoting the natural endocannabinoid system, which controls your overall health, and that can take time. Most migraine studies that measure natural supplements give patients three months to see if the treatment is effective and that may be a good amount of time to see if a hemp extract works for you. Although some people may experience immediate relief, expect cannabinoids to take time for migraine prevention and consider taking additional measures that promote the endocannabinoid system.
1. What CBD Dose Are Migraine Sufferers Using?
My wife takes two 25 mg doses (one 25 mg dose in the morning and one 25 mg dose at night) of a full-spectrum hemp extract to fight off anxiety and migraines. I believe this dose (50 mg per day) of a high-quality hemp extract will help many other migraine sufferers, but the range will depend on the product and the individual. Based on the migraine sufferers that I interviewed for my book, online testimonials, and research from related conditions, migraine sufferers will likely fall between 15 mg and 100 mg per day of full-spectrum hemp extract for migraine prevention and relief.
There’s a lot more to learn about the endocannabinoid system and migraines. I’ll have more articles coming soon at migrainekey.com, or you can check out my book Hemp for Migraine.
CBD FOR MIGRAINES: A GUIDE
Cannabidiol (CBD) may help migraine relief at an appropriate dosage. CBD for oil migraines has been explained to have a reduction in migraines and neurological pain by targeting specific receptors within the endocannabinoid system. The medical literature regarding the treatment of migraines is showing support and evidence for cannabinoids in the treatment of acute and chronic migraines. CBD for migraines has great potential as a natural and therapeutic option for migraine sufferers.
DOES CBD HELP MIGRAINES?
CBD oil has been suggested to help migraines. A large 2015 systematic review, published in Journal of Oral & Facial Pain and Headache , investigated the effectiveness of cannabinoids in the management of chronic pain .
Researchers concluded that cannabinoids may provide reductions in chronic pain compared to other traditional medications used to treat pain.
Italian researchers presented a prospective study in 2017 where cannabinoids (THC and CBD) were used to treat acute headaches and migraines. In the treatment of acute headache pain, cannabis was shown to reduce patients’ pain intensity by 43.5% .
Researchers determined that cannabinoids can be as effective as current pharmaceutical therapies for migraine pain.
CBD has been described as a viable treatment option for those with chronic pain due to its potential efficacy, safety profile, and non-addictive, non-toxic properties.
WHAT ARE COMMON MIGRAINE MEDICATIONS?
Common medications for pain relief of migraine symptoms include:
Migraines can be debilitating headaches that are usually accompanied by intense pulsing or throbbing. Luckily, many of these medications listed above are available over the counter without a physician’s prescription. However, there are potential adverse side effects to strongly consider prior to taking these medications.
COMMON SIDE EFFECTS
A major drawback to taking some traditional medications for pain relief is that they may make your migraines worse, due to an overuse of medication. There are potential adverse effects of these pain-reducing pharmaceuticals, including:
- Blurred vision
- Liver damage
- Gastrointestinal issues
CBD for migraines has been described to present a promising treatment of migraine pain, due to their anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing effects.
WHICH CBD PRODUCTS HELP MIGRAINES?
CBD for migraines can cover a wide range of CBD products, including topicals and rubs, pills, and tinctures. Whether you’re wanting to rub CBD directly onto your forehead or temples to help alleviate the pain or you’re wanting to take a CBD tincture oil to absorb into your bloodstream for a full-body relaxation, CBD and migraines is a therapeutic, natural option to assist with your neurological pain.
CBD TINCTURE FOR MIGRAINES: CBD Drops are designed to be used and applied sublingually. This method allows for the CBD oil to be absorbed via the blood vessels underneath the tongue. It also means that the cannabinoids will pass the digestive system, hence, more cannabinoids may make it into the bloodstream. We recommend using a full dropper (1.0 mL) of cannabidiol, applying it under the tongue, and waiting 30 – 60 seconds before swallowing.
CBD PILLS FOR MIGRAINES: CBD capsules may provide numerous therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties, neuroprotective qualities, and pain-relieving attributes.
CBD RUBS FOR MIGRAINES: CBD topicals are designed for direct application to the skin, allowing for cannabinoids to slowly be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. CBD lotion is great for those who are wanting to target specific areas or regions on the body.
We incorporate our cannabidiol-rich formula into each of our selected CBD topical products, setting us apart from our competitors. Taking the time to ensure our CBD creams are consistent and of the highest quality, allows our customers to take full advantage of the cannabidiol benefits.
HOW MUCH CBD TO TAKE FOR MIGRAINES?
The average CBD dosage for migraines is 5 – 10 mg milligrams per day. Currently, there are no formal guidelines for a proper CBD dosage for migraines, as it is not yet an FDA approved cannabinoid.
However, according to the Mayo Clinic’s CBD Safety and Adverse Effects section, 2 studies have shown that doses up to 300 milligrams daily are generally safe for up to 6 months.
If you are new to CBD, we recommend starting low and slow. You can always increase your dosage as you go, depending on what feels right for you. Please consult with your primary physician prior to starting any cannabidiol regime, as it may interact with your current medications and or health concerns or conditions.
* DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is for educational purposes only. It does not exploit or provide medical advice of any kind. Therefore, any reliance you place on the information below is strictly at your own risk. Please check with your medical provider before starting or changing a CBD routine.
Kirsten Thornhill was born and raised in a small farm town in Stanislaus County, California. Kirsten graduated with a Master of Science degree in exercise physiology from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA. She is very passionate about human physiology and the metabolic and nutritional adaptations that occur during exercise in active individuals and athletes. Kirsten has specialized in maximal oxygen consumption testing in athletes and teaching laboratory, clinical, practical, and research applications of exercise testing to college students. She enjoys educating and informing people about the importance of lifetime movement, plant-based eating, and health research and development. Her passion for natural, lifestyle medicine enables her to strive when promoting health and education.
Boychuk DG, Goddard G, Mauro G, Orellana MF. The effectiveness of cannabinoids in the management of chronic nonmalignant neuropathic pain: A systematic review. J Oral Facial Pain Headache. 2015.
Leimuranta P, Khiroug L, Giniatullin R. Emerging role of (endo)cannabinoids in migraine. Front Pharmacol. 2018.
Nicolodi M, et al. Therapeutic use of cannabinoids – Dose finding, effects, and pilot data of effects in chronic migraine and cluster headache. 3rd EAN Congress. 2017.
VanDolah HJ, Bauer BA, Mauck KF. Clinicians’ guide to cannabidiol and hemp oils. PlumX Metrics. 2019.