Can CBD Oil Cause Headaches? Its Side Effects & Quality

The side effects and quality of CBD oil for treating headaches

Your Headache & CBD Oil

Headaches are a painful and common issue that everyone has experienced at some point in their lives. There are many different causes of headaches such as self inflicted (alcohol induced hangover), genetics/illness (glaucoma/brain tumor), poor diet (dehydration), addiction (pain medication) as well as many others.

CBD is known for its medical potential but little is known about its side effects which can also bring on some unwanted irritations (headaches). In a way, it can be compared to many modern medications, for example paracetamol is good for headaches but it can also create headaches too. In this article we delve deeper into “How CBD is effective as a natural treatment” and “What are the causes of its unwanted side effects?

The CBD Potential

CBD oil is frequently in the news because of the wide array of medical uses. CBD seems to cure the symptoms of just about anything you might be suffering from. CBD oil has been studied with positive results for treating medical complaints from eczema to depression to Parkinson’s to breast cancer.

Conditions that have been studied for the medical use of CBD.

  • Acne, eczema, and other skin disorders that involve inflammation and itching.
  • Mental, anxiety and trauma disorders such as PTSD, phobias and depression.
  • Movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.
  • Painful conditions such as joint pain, arthritis, migraines, and headaches.
  • Blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
  • Cancer symptoms, including breast cancer.

Is There A Down Side To CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in the cannabis plant. CBD has no psychotropic effect, in fact it can counteract the psychotropic effect of another cannabis compound, THC. CBD is one of nearly 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis or hemp plant. CBD oil that is made from the hemp plant usually contains little or no THC.

Anciently, cannabis was used to treat medical conditions such as pain and headaches. With recent discoveries about the endocannabinoid system in the body and how that system affects nearly every organ in the body, interest has grown in using cannabinoids to regulate that system to treat other medical conditions. Cannabinoids such as CBD regulate the endocannabinoid system by interacting with cannabinoid receptors in the body, CB1 and CB2.

THC binds with the CB1 receptor, causing the high. In general, CBD binds with CB2, with results including pain relief and relief from nausea. In this way, CBD can also be used to treat the reaction and addiction of THC, other drugs, and cigarette smoking. Researchers have found that activating these receptors can have widespread effects for treatment of many diseases. Because this is a current hot topic, research to study CBD oil and disease are proliferating, and companies that sell CBD oil are proliferating as well.

If you choose to try CBD oil for medical use, it is important that you are aware of any risks or side effects. Some of these side effects may be specific to a condition that you have.

Common Side Effects

The most commonly reported side effects, reported both clinically and anecdotally, are dizziness, fatigue, headache and dry mouth. It is interesting that some people report headaches with CBD use, as one of the most common uses of CBD is to treat migraine headaches. This may be due to many factors: Dosage, quality of the product, other medications, etc. The most common side effects are noted by clinical researchers to be relatively mild, and the benefit gained by the treatment usually outweighs the side effects.

Other side effects found in research studies are low blood pressure, slowing of brain function, and lightheadedness. Other less commonly reported side effects are diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, increased or decreased appetite and possible allergic reaction, although most of these reactions are reported anecdotally.

Clinically, CBD studies have revealed a few additional specific side effects that it is important to be aware of. According to a clinical review titled “Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol,” CBD can inhibit (or prevent) hepatic drug metabolism. This means that CBD interferes with enzymes in the liver which metabolize some prescription drugs. This can prevent the prescription drug from working properly, or the dose may need to be adjusted. The review also mentions that CBD is linked to “alterations of in vitro cell viability, and decreased fertilization capacity.” Because the studies are very preliminary, more study is needed, but if you are taking prescription medication it is important to talk to your doctor about CBD so that the function of the prescription medication can be monitored.

Another study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience reported that although CBD has been used successfully to treat the tremors and involuntary muscle movements of Parkinson’s patients, some patients showed an increase in their tremors. Dosage played a role, as the increasing tremors occurred in patients given more than 300 mg of CBD. It is not known for sure why some patients found relief with CBD use, and some patients had increased symptoms, but the presence of THC in the CBD treatment is one theory.

At least one study showed that cannabinoids such as CBD and THC have potential to be used as an anticoagulant or blood thinner. This could be a positive discovery for people who need a blood thinner, but there is a potential down side as well. People who have hemophilia or other blood clotting disorders should be very cautious when using CBD, as the anticoagulant effect of the cannabinoids could be dangerous.

Secondary Risks

An article by the National Center on Addiction and Substance contains warnings of a more secondary nature. As CBD oil, marijuana and other cannabis products become more common in households across the country, it is critical to remember that ingesting or smoking cannabis products can be harmful to small children and adolescents. The article reports that 91% of calls to poison control for small children ingesting cannabis-related products are from states in which marijuana is legal. Additionally, medical research has shown that cannabis use in teenagers can increase their risk of mental disorders and addiction. It is important to be aware that CBD oil and other cannabinoids are drugs, and as with any prescription drugs, safety should be a high priority around children and adolescents.

Although there are side effects associated with CBD oil, clinical studies overwhelmingly show few or mild side effects, and in most cases the therapeutic benefits outweigh the side effects. Additionally, CBD products are well tolerated in higher doses, even up to 1,500 mg a day, making it difficult to ingest a dose that is too high. One idea that is up for debate is why some people experience side effects while others have no side effects or very mild side effects. In many of the anecdotal cases of side effects with CBD use, the cause of the side effects can be traced back to the quality of the CBD product.

Product Quality and Source

As we mentioned before according to online posts, various online communities and forums, CBD users do report headaches, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting when they begin using CBD. In many cases, however, they link these side effects to a poor quality of CBD oil. There are multiple difficulties with finding a quality source of CBD oil:

  • Many products are made outside the United States with little or no regulation.
  • CBD oil is made from plants that are grown in different areas with different exposure to chemicals in the dirt and the air.
  • Different strains of plants contain different amounts of CBD.
  • There are no regulations for labeling CBD products, making it difficult to know exactly what you are getting.
  • Cannabis products are still illegal in many states, and illegal trade is even harder to regulate.

If you are considering using CBD oil to treat a medical condition, do your research. Get as much information as you can before you use any product. Pay attention to reviews, and any tests or documentation by a third-party lab. Be aware of any warnings on the label, and if you have questions don’t be afraid to speak to a medical professional.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
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