This story was updated with new reporting and data on September 3, 2019.
Headaches are extremely common for adults — in fact, according to the World Health Organization, one in every 20 of us experience some kind of headache each day and one in seven suffers from more debilitating migraines on occasion. For many, headaches seem to appear at the worst possible time — the first day at a new job, your kid’s birthday, the start of a vacation, or just before a long-anticipated social event. Headaches are common and inconvenient, which leaves most of us searching for both a cause and relief.
When a headache becomes unbearable, we’re most likely to turn to common, conventional pain killers to bring relief. But as the CBD market expands — and as CBD becomes more widely known and accepted as a natural pain reliever — more and more patients are using it to treat minor aches, discomforts, and thumping headaches as well.
However, recently, an online debate among CBD users (and headache sufferers) emerged: What if CBD is actually causing our headaches in the first place?
It’s not as crazy as it sounds. While CBD is generally considered safe, with few to no side effects, there are a slew of reasons why the cannabinoid could be causing your headaches instead of helping them. They include: The quality of the product you’re using, how trustworthy the seller is, the percentage of CBD inside the oil, incorrect dosage, and if you’re taking other types of medications at the same time.
CBD oil is a health and wellness product, so making sure that it’s of good quality can make a huge difference in how it affects your body. Unfortunately, there’s currently no federal regulation of CBD products which means many are either not what they say — or include things they shouldn’t.
With a dizzying amount of CBD brands available, it’s easy to fall for scams. While there are documented medical values of CBD oil, companies will try to take advantage of consumers.
Due to lack of regulations, “It’s anybody’s guess what can be in these [CBD products]. And so they can claim that it’s 30 percent cannabidiol and otherwise pure. But if it’s not independently tested, it may have other pesticides, toxins, heavy metals”. Karen Muack, M.D, an internist and co-author of a Mayo Clinic guide to CBD (cannabidiol) and hemp oils for clinicians told Inverse.
And if your CBD isn’t what it seems — if it’s filled with chemicals, instead of CBD oil — it could potentially be causing your headache, rather than treating it. The most common signs that a CBD product isn’t high quality include low price (authentic CBD oil is expensive to produce), questionable reviews, and outlandish health claims. Ultimately, the best way to find a safe, top-notch CBD product is to only purchase items that have been independently tested by a trusted lab.
If you take too much of anything, you’re bound to feel the side effects. The right dosage is crucial to obtaining a healthy amount of oil, and how it travels around your bloodstream.
So many people are left unclear about how much CBD is actually being absorbed. In a study published by Elsevier Inc on Epilepsy Behavior, neurologist at Oregon Health and Science University, Dr. Lia Ernst, found that only two patients out of 39 understood the dose they were taking: “Sometimes it was an amount of actual flower that they were smoking or sometimes it was an amount of oil, or a droplet or something like that … But they didn’t actually know the content of that — like exactly how much marijuana, either THC or CBD was going into their bodies.”
If you’re small in height and weight, then taking the dose of a much larger person is not the right way to use it. Start small, and work your way up.
If CBD oil is giving you headaches, it’s most likely because the product either doesn’t agree with you, or you’ve been sold a dud. Sometimes it is a simple case of your body rejecting the product. In the same way that alcohol can give you a headache after a night out (top tip: water is your friend), and some research suggests too much coffee can lead to migraines.