New Discoveries about the Cause and Treatment of Migraine Headaches

A recent article published in August 2017 in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences reports new findings about how the kynurenine system and the endocannabinoid system interact. Future studies regarding these two systems might offer new insight into migraine headaches and possible new therapies used to treat them.

The dysfunction of the endocannabinoid system in the body has been proven through research to have a role in neurological disorders, inflammatory disorders and disorders that cause involuntary movement such as Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, and multiple sclerosis. Migraine headaches are the most common type of neurological disorder.

Studies have shown that these disorders can be treated with cannabinoids such as CBD which may decrease pain, nausea and tremors. CBD is one of nearly 100 cannabinoids or compounds from the cannabis plant which has multiple medical uses as documented by clinical studies. It can be beneficial in relieving pain, nausea and inflammation that occur with migraines. Cannabinoids bind with the receptors in the brain CB1 and CB2 which is thought to regulate the endocannabinoid system, resulting in a lessening of symptoms. Cannabis has been used as a pain reliever, particularly for migraine headaches, for years. This has been documented with both clinical and anecdotal evidence.

The kynurenine system (or pathway) is also thought to be involved in neurological symptoms, including migraines. Dysfunctional or blocked parts of the kynurenine pathway in the body are associated with genetic diseases like those listed above such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, multiple sclerosis, and possibly migraines as well. The endocannabinoid system and the kynurenine pathway may be linked in the way they work with certain receptors in the body, and with enzymes produced in both systems.

Currently, there are no studies that explain exactly how the kynurenine system and the endocannabinoid system work or communicate with each other in the body. But evidence shows that the two systems do overlap on several levels, and that is the area of interest for future studies aimed at treating migraine headaches. Studies targeting these systems and how they interact with regard to neurological symptoms may shed light on both the cause and treatment of migraines.


Can CBD Oil Cure a Migraine? What You Need to Know

CBD has recently been in the news with people reporting it cures everything from acne to cancer. What are the facts? And can CBD oil really help patients suffering with migraine pain? Here are a few things that you need to know.

What exactly is CBD oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is an oil extracted from a marijuana plant or a hemp plant.  CBD is one of nearly 100 compounds found in the cannabis plant. CBD oil that is extracted from a hemp plant is legal for medical use, but oil that is extracted from the marijuana plant is not legal in all states. The compound in the cannabis plant that causes an altered mental state is THC. CBD does not cause the user to get “high” and in fact, the hemp plant from which the CBD is extracted is usually very low in THC. Users of CBD oil have found the compound to improve symptoms of many medical conditions, which has made CBD a popular topic of discussion and interest with pharmacological researchers as well as with the general public.

How are migraines different from regular headaches?

Migraine headaches are different from other headaches in several ways. Migraines can last several days and unlike regular headaches, are usually not cured with over-the-counter medication. Additionally, migraines come with other symptoms that make it difficult to carry out activities of daily living. Some of the symptoms of migraine headaches are nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and to sound, dizziness, seeing spots or an “aura,” or temporary loss of sight.  Some people can tell days in advance when a migraine is coming on with symptoms such as neck stiffness, yawning, and depression. Because migraines can be so severe and debilitating, it can be difficult for someone suffering from migraines to work, resulting in a lot of lost work days. The Department of Health and Human Services reports that 29.5 million Americans experience migraine headaches. Patients suffering from migraines take prescription medications for inflammation, nausea and pain. Unfortunately, if these medications are used for more than 10 days a month they can have a rebound effect and cause additional headaches.

What is the benefit of using CBD oil for migraines?

Most information we have about how CBD oil works for migraine sufferers is anecdotal, meaning it is based on personal, first-person accounts. However, there is some research showing that cannabinoids actually block the receptors in the brain which cause nausea and pain. Researchers also believe that migraine sufferers are deficient in endocannabinoids which normally calm parts of the brain that could trigger a migraine. If there are not enough endocannabinoids to level out the symptoms caused by triggers such as bright light, sound, hormones, or a certain smell, then the result is a migraine. If migraines do in fact result from a deficiency of endocannabinoids in the brain, that could explain why using CBD would fill that gap, provide the cannabinoids, and result in fewer symptoms and potentially fewer migraines. CBD has also shown to be linked to better sleep patterns which would be beneficial to migraine sufferers who have migraines triggered by lack of sleep.

Is there anything I need to know before I try it?

As with any kind of alternative medicine, having your doctor on board is important. Very early studies show that there may be some drug interactions that need to be monitored when using CBD oil for migraines, especially if you are using prescription drugs. If you use CBD oil made from hemp, it is unlikely that it would be found on a drug test as hemp has very little or no THC, but it is possible. It is a good idea to be aware if your employer has a drug testing policy. Also, be sure that your source of CBD oil is reputable. The actual amount of CBD in the oil varies widely between companies that produce the product, and you may not get a good result if the oil you use does not contain the stated amount of CBD.

The reality is, we don’t know for sure how CBD oil works in the brain to ease migraines, but other than potential drug interactions patients report few negative side effects from using CBD oil to treat migraines. According to Bonni Goldstein, MD, in her book Cannabis Revealed, “Unfortunately, little research exists that proves the mechanism by which cannabinoids alleviate migraines, despite the overwhelming anecdotal reports from patients suffering with them.” But because of the overwhelming anecdotal reports, more and more clinical research will be done to confirm the results migraine patients are already experiencing.


Writer’s Bio:

Darrik Cheney

Darrik Cheney is a content crafter, marketer, and anthropologist who grew up in D.C. and  Minnesota. He studied Socio-Cultural Anthropology at Brigham Young University, and seeks to continually apply the study of culture in presenting relatable and relevant content. Follow him on Twitter @darriklc.

CBD oil for Migraines

According to the Migraine Research Foundation and, not only do 37 million Americans suffer from migraines but it’s the 6th most disabling illness in the world. With symptoms known to cause depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances and many others. Can CBD oil for migraines become the new “natural” alternative for our current prescriptions we currently have available?


It was a Friday night. Like every other college student, I was getting ready for a night on the town with the friends. As I waited for my pants to finish drying I noticed a blind spot develop in my peripheral vision. Immediately I assumed the worst. Was it a brain tumor? Cancer? A blood clot? I laid on my bed pondering my next move on the brinks of my first panic attack. With sweaty hands and a tight chest, I decided to call a doctor but could no longer see my screen. After what seemed an eternity my vision returned but what came next was something I had once suffered with on a weekly basis. Vomiting and excruciating pain behind my eyes which would last for well over a few hours. Growing up I’ve witnessed far too many friends fall victim in becoming dependent on prescription pills so that was never going to be an option for me. After nearly a decade of suffering, I was finally introduced to CBD oil for migraines. The effectiveness of the product has reduced the severity and frequency of the migraines drastically. What was once a weekly debilitating trial has now dropped to roughly a once a month episode if not less and not to mention, the pain and nausea have dropped dramatically.


What is a migraine?

According to

“A migraine headache is caused by abnormal brain activity. This activity can be triggered by many things. But the exact chain of events remains unclear. Most medical experts believe the attack begins in the brain and involves nerve pathways and chemicals. The changes affect blood flow in the brain and surrounding tissues”.


According to a recent study presented on, Over 127 participants who suffered from chronic migraines were given a mix of both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). There were two phases to the study. In the first, they were given 200mg of a various dose of both CBD and THC. After just 3 months the majority of participants noticed a 55% decrease in pain. Migraine sufferers were given either the THC-CBD drug or 25 milligrams of amitriptyline, an antidepressant medication often used to treat migraines. The cluster headache sufferers were given either the THC-CBD drug or 80 milligrams of verapamil, a calcium channel blocker med often prescribed for cluster headaches.

The results showed that THC-CBD was slightly better at reducing the frequency of migraine attacks than the commonly prescribed med (40.4 % versus 40.1%, respectively). And the THC-CBD drug was very effective at reducing migraine pain, cutting it by 43.5%.


What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of at least 113 active cannabinoids identified in cannabis. It is a major phytocannabinoid, accounting for up to 40% of the plant’s extract. When people hear the word “marijuana” they generally think of a plant that gets you high. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that produces effects such as feeling “high” or feeling anxious or paranoid. CBD is non-psychoactive so won’t get you high and studies have suggested that CBD actually counteracts the anxiety or paranoia that can be caused by THC. Since CBD hemp oil products have no or only a trace amount of THC, a person using them is highly unlikely to test positive for THC in a standard drug test.


How does CBD prevent pain?

In our brain and in other parts of our bodies we have cannabinoid receptors which are tiny loops of protein that affect how we feel pain. Marijuana contains natural compounds called cannabinoids. When ingested these cannabinoids search out the receptors in our bodies changing how they work as well reducing the pain signals.


Due to political and legal reasons, there hasn’t been as many tests ran as we’d like to see but there have been quite a few surveys done all telling us that CBD has a greater effect on reducing pain and preventing migraines than your standard prescription given to you by your local doctor.


According to, Here are a few basic facts we know about CBD


Fact #1: CBD is one of 113 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids that are all found in the cannabis plant.

Fact #2: CBD products will not get you high. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that produces effects such as feeling “high” or feeling anxious or paranoid.

Fact #3: CBD products come in several different forms, including drops (tinctures), capsules, vape oils and dabs.

Fact #4: The effectiveness of CBD as a treatment option for diseases and medical conditions has not been scientifically proven by U.S. FDA standards. CBD products are also not currently regulated by the FDA.

If you’re familiar with migraines than you know the pain can be utterly excruciating. It can leave you bedridden for days. To some, the pain is unbearable. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for some people to become dependent on their prescription pills. The downside to this is not only the addiction factor it creates but it’s short term and long term side effects. Fortunately, we are moving into a new direction. Finding healthier options dealing with life’s painful medical issues we all face as human beings.

Sources:, Migraine Research Foundation,


Writer’s Bio:

Aaron Murphy

Aaron Murphy is not only a well known writer in the community of his parents house, but an avid Cannabis user in the basement.