How CBD Can Relieve Your Headache

By Yes.Life | 13 September 2019 | 5 min read

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What is CBD?

CBD – the short name for the chemical Cannabidiol – is growing in popularity. After recently being granted full legalization in the United States, it is quickly proving itself popular for those seeking a natural remedy for aches, pains, and even emotional distresses. Some people use CBD for sleep, others for anxiety, and others still to help with inflammation. It has natural pain-killing properties1, and some evidence suggests it works even better in the presence of its companion chemical out of the hemp plant.2

How exactly does CBD deliver its many effects? One major pathway is through something called the Endocannabinoid System (or ECS). This is a system of receptors, enzymes, and other cells in the body designed to make, use, and degrade general cannabinoids, a broad class of chemicals that the hemp plant is especially known for. CBD is just one of many cannabinoids, and humans make two on their own as well: anandamide and 2-AG. While CBD doesn’t interact with the two ECS receptors (called CB1 and CB2) much on its own, it does raise levels of the human cannabinoid anandamide.3,4 Anandamide goes on to interact strongly with the CB1 receptor.5

Anandamide and its role in the ECS are known to have at least some benefit to people, such as providing the runner’s high.5 It appears to play an active part in anxiolysis: the lowering of anxiety.5 It may also help fight depression and general psychosis.4,6 Research is still ongoing into the exact benefits the ECS provides people, but CBD’s potent abilities aren’t just a result of raising anandamide levels.

CBD has many beneficial properties past the ECS, including antioxidant, neuroprotective, immunosuppressant, and analgesic effects.7,8,9,10 The mechanisms for these things vary, but on the topic of headaches, one is very important: analgesia, or pain relief.

Can CBD Help Headaches?

CBD ordinarily provides pain relief by interacting with a class of cell receptor known as a TRP – a “Transient Receptor Potential.” These TRP channels are gateways into the cell – when activated, they open up, allowing electric charge to flow through, beginning some kind of signal in the nervous system. Different TRP channels will propagate different signals, but a common one is pain.

CBD can help dull pain by desensitizing TRP channels: they stop the pain at the signal’s source.11 With the TRP channels unable to keep working (as long as CBD is bonded to it) the body simply stops getting the message of “Ouch!” and thus does CBD provide pain relief. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) the body has lots of redundancies built into it, and as a result, getting rid of all pain is difficult. CBD can provide relief, but don’t expect it to make a broken bone feel like new.

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So, what about headaches? Can CBD provide relief? It is commonly reported that Cannabis can provide headache relief.12 When people speak of Cannabis, they typically mean marijuana – a breed of the plant Cannabis sativa that includes a concentration of THC above 0.3%. Hemp, by contrast, is a breed of Cannabis s. that – legally – may contain only up to 0.3% THC by dry weight.13 Why does this matter? Because THC – despite its psychoactive properties – is also a powerful analgesic, and hence the use of “Cannabis” for headaches does not immediately implicate CBD.

With that said, to understand whether CBD can help headaches or not, we ought to understand the science of headaches. There are many kinds of headaches, and many experts are still figuring out the exact nature of them. However, two major types of headaches are classified: vascular and tension.14

Vascular headaches seem to involve the blood vessels in the face and head swelling up and interacting with nearby nerves. The exact nature of this interaction is still not known, but the result is known well: migraines. Can CBD help this? It’s a little unknown. Anecdotes suggest CBD can help, which might further suggest the presence of TRP channels for CBD to quiet down in headaches. TRP channels are broad, and found in both the peripheral nervous system (like the nerves around your body) and central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). CBD may be able to help vascular headaches, although little research has been performed.

As for tension headaches, these tend to be caused by spasms in the muscles of the neck near the jaw.14 CBD may be able to desensitize some of the TRP channels found in these muscles, leading to a more relaxed state, and thus allowing the headache to dissipate. While more research for CBD and headaches is needed before a scientific consensus can be made, anecdotes and pre-clinical trials suggest it may very well be a great remedy for the terrible throbbings in our heads.

What to Expect with CBD and Headaches:

If you are experiencing a headache, you may want to try both a topical product and orally taken one. Each will address the headache differently. Topical products can help alleviate superficial pain and cause of headaches faster, while oral products can get into the blood faster. Given the nature of both blood vessels and muscles leading to headaches, both can help ensure faster relief.

There are three spots to place the topical product: place only the size of a dime on each temple of the head and the base of the neck in back. A good, water-soluble CBD product will take about 20 or so minutes to absorb through the skin and begin providing some relief. This applies to both oral and topical products. The oral products should be kept under the tongue for about 15-30 seconds before swallowing, allowing quick passage into the blood. Rinsing with water afterward is fine. You shouldn’t need more than 2 ml of CBD, even at the 250 mg dose.

So, can CBD help with headaches? Can CBD provide migraine relief? According to the many users of CBD around the country, yes. According to science, possibly. If you’re on the fence about trying it out, look for a free sample such as from Yes.Life. Even better, Yes.Life offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, giving you the peace of mind that you deserve while finding solutions. Whether you like Mixed Berry or Cinnamon, Yes.Life has you covered for flavors that make CBD palatable – a miracle when compared to many other products. If you suffer from headaches, feel free to head on over to www.Yes.Life and order some of the market’s best CBD today!


1 Hammell, D.c., et al. “Transdermal Cannabidiol Reduces Inflammation and Pain-Related Behaviours in a Rat Model of Arthritis.” European Journal of Pain 20, no. 6 (2015): 936–48.

2 Petrocellis, Luciano De, et al. “Effects of Cannabinoids and Cannabinoid-EnrichedCannabisextracts on TRP Channels and Endocannabinoid Metabolic Enzymes.” British Journal of Pharmacology 163, no. 7 (December 2011): 1479–94.

3 Leweke, F M, et al. “Cannabidiol Enhances Anandamide Signaling and Alleviates Psychotic Symptoms of Schizophrenia.” Translational Psychiatry 2, no. 3 (2012).

4 Leweke, F M, et al. “Cannabidiol Enhances Anandamide Signaling and Alleviates Psychotic Symptoms of Schizophrenia.” Translational Psychiatry 2, no. 3 (2012).

5 Fuss, Johannes, et al. “A Runner’s High Depends on Cannabinoid Receptors in Mice.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112, no. 42 (May 2015): 13105–8.

6 Prud'homme, Mélissa, et al. “Cannabidiol as an Intervention for Addictive Behaviors: A Systematic Review of the Evidence.” Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment 9 (2015).

7 Peres, Fernanda F., et al. “Cannabidiol as a Promising Strategy to Treat and Prevent Movement Disorders?” Frontiers in Pharmacology 9 (November 2018).

8 Iffland, Kerstin, and Franjo Grotenhermen. “An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies.” Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research 2, no. 1 (2017): 139–54.

9 Rieder, Sadiye Amcaoglu, et al. “Cannabinoid-Induced Apoptosis in Immune Cells as a Pathway to Immunosuppression.” Immunobiology 215, no. 8 (2010): 598–605.

10 Russo, Ethan B. “Taming THC: Potential Cannabis Synergy and Phytocannabinoid-Terpenoid Entourage Effects.” British Journal of Pharmacology 163, no. 7 (December 2011): 1344–64.

11 Caterina, Michael J. “TRP Channel Cannabinoid Receptors in Skin Sensation, Homeostasis, and Inflammation.” ACS Chemical Neuroscience 5, no. 11 (2014): 1107–16.

12 Lochte, Bryson C., et al. “The Use of Cannabis for Headache Disorders.” Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research 2, no. 1 (2017): 61–71.

13 Hilderbrand, R L. “Hemp & Cannabidiol: What Is a Medicine?” Missouri Medicine, Journal of the Missouri State Medical Association, 2018,

14 Norman, Harden. “What Is a Headache?” Scientific American, 5 Jan. 1998,


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