These days we are seeing all the seemingly miraculous benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) pile up. But what about the side effects? Read this in-depth guide to learn about side effects of CBD oil and if it can cause headaches. We want to dive into why and how CBD oil could cause headaches, the reasons behind each type of headache CBD oil might have the potential to cause, and much more. Let's dig into the big question at hand: Can CBD cause headaches?
CBD Oil Side Effects – Can it Cause Headaches?
These days we are seeing all the seemingly miraculous benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) pile up. But what about the side effects?
Perhaps you’ve heard anecdotal stories of CBD causing fatigue, diarrhea, and even headaches.
We must keep these stories in mind because for everything we put into our bodies we must first balance all its potential pros and cons.
In this article, we will set the record straight by thoroughly examining the side effects of CBD, specifically if it can produce headaches.
CBD at a Glance
Despite its use in alternative medicine for 3,000 years, the cannabis plant has been illegal for decades.
CBD was only first discovered and isolated in the 1940s at which time its benefits were unknown.
But with the legalization of medical marijuana in some parts of the country, the cannabis craze was officially ignited.
Following suit, the legality of hemp-derived cannabidiol was passed by way of the Farm Bill of 2018.
Due to its only recent legalization, we are just now developing detailed clinical research surrounding the cannabis plant and its many cannabinoids.
CBD is federally legal if it contains less than 0.3% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound that is prevalent in the illegal substance marijuana.
Since the hemp plant is lower in THC, CBD is most often derived from this variety.
Cannabidiol combines with terpenes and other cannabinoids including low amounts of THC to create full-spectrum CBD oil products .
These oils have hit the health and wellness market, where they are celebrated for their possible benefits for anxiety , pain, and inflammation relief.
Potential Side Effects of CBD Oil
The effects of CBD oil are quite mild. The most common side effects that are reported by CBD users are tiredness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite.
These effects may seem minuscule when compared side-by-side with some prescription medications.
Comparable drugs used to treat the same conditions can have much worse and debilitating side effects. That being said, some people should avoid using CBD:
– People with liver disease should use CBD oil with caution.
– Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid CBD due to the possible risk of babies’ development.
– Someone who is planning to drive or use heavy machinery when using full-spectrum CBD, especially when first starting treatment or trying a new brand.
– If you have problems with low blood pressure or high blood pressure or are taking blood pressure medications.
Talk to your doctor if you are thinking about taking CBD oil to treat any medical conditions you may have.
This will decrease the risk of side effects occurring. So now that we know who shouldn’t be using CBD, let’s determine what side effects we may expect.
Side effects vary from person to person. Here are the symptoms that clinical research has discovered:
– Changes in appetite/weight: CBD can either increase or decrease appetite. This can result in fluctuations in weight.
– Diarrhea: This is a common unfortunate effect of some CBD oils. This is typically not caused by the CBD itself, but because of the carrier oil (coconut, grapeseed, olive, or hemp oil).
If possible, try not to consume CBD oil on an empty stomach. It may also help to eat some protein with the dose to help reduce how quickly your body absorbs it.
If this still doesn’t help, try CBD capsules, gummies, or topicals to avoid the oils.
– Dry mouth: This 2006 study showed that CB1 and CB2 receptors are present in salivary glands. The receptors are activated with CBD, after which the saliva production decreases, which causes the mouth to dry. Not considered dangerous, this condition will simply prompt you to drink more water.
– Fatigue: Since CBD may be used as a sleep aid for insomnia-sufferers, it makes sense that high doses can cause fatigue and drowsiness. If this is the case for you, don’t take CBD before driving or operating a vehicle.
– Nausea: For some people, ingesting CBD oil can cause mild nausea . This is in direct conflict with CBD helping relieve nausea in some people, as well as increasing appetite. Nausea should go away quickly. If this occurs for you, decrease your dosage.
– Lower blood pressure: Taking CBD in high amounts may cause a small decrease in blood pressure for some people. It happens at the time CBD enters the system, but will not happen to everyone. It may cause a feeling of lightheadedness.
– Dizziness: The feeling of lightheadedness or dizziness is typically associated with a drop in blood pressure. It should pass on its own, or it may help to lay down for a few minutes or snack on something with a cup of tea.
– Vomiting: Although CBD can potentially help reduce nausea and vomiting in chemo patients, it is also said to cause vomiting as a side effect. Unfortunately, some people have trouble digesting CBD oil.
– Anxiety: Even though CBD oil may be helpful in the treatment of some anxiety disorders , it has been also found to increase anxiety in some cases.
– Headaches: It is possible that CBD oil can cause headaches. However, the majority of clinical trials and user experiences do not have headaches as a side effect. More evidence is needed on how and why headaches may occur.
Reasons for Headaches Caused by CBD
Though headaches can be caused by CBD, they are a relatively rare occurrence, compared to other possible side effects listed above.
If you do have a headache when taking CBD, first make sure to rule out other possible factors like:
– Lack of sleep
– Caffeine withdrawal
– Sensitivities to food and drinks, including alcohol
If you do experience a headache caused by CBD, however, it may be from one of the following reasons:
– Taking the wrong dosage for you: Side effects often occur due to taking the wrong dose of CBD. This can happen by overestimating the amount you need, or not monitoring how much you are taking.
For this reason, it is important to always start with a small dose to judge your sensitivity to CBD use. If you start with a low dose, you can gradually work up to the level that works best for you, causing minimal side effects.
It is important that you get the dosage right , and that you are consistent. This will allow for the best results.
– Low-quality CBD: The only FDA-regulated CBD drug on the market today is Epidiolex, a purified CBD extract for two forms of epilepsy.
Due to the lack of FDA regulations in this brand-new industry, there are some producers and dealers out there who just want to make a buck.
As a result, they cut corners when it comes to producing a good quality product. This has created a surge of products on the market filled with harmful chemicals and synthetic substances.
Products that don’t contain organic CBD oil may cause side effects like respiratory problems, allergies, and headaches. Switch to a high-quality CBD oil that is hemp-derived instead.
– The product contains harmful contaminants: The low-quality CBD products can contain solvents like ethanol and isopropanol, or chemicals such as mercury or lead.
Because cannabis is grown and produced all over the world, it can contain different toxins depending on how and where it was grown, and how it was processed.
Not practicing safety protocols or being careless during all of these processes could result in contaminated or diluted CBD.
These products could impact your health with things like headaches, respiratory diseases, and sometimes even death.
– Product hasn’t been third-party lab-tested: Having a product that hasn’t been lab-tested by an unbiased third party will increase the likelihood that it contains ingredients harmful to your health.
On the other hand, testing that is independent and regulated will produce a report of exactly what it is in the product.
This will allow you to see the quality and potency of the CBD. The tests will also give warnings of the use of any chemicals, bacteria, or pesticides that may or may not be in the product.
In this way, you can easily select the CBD oil that has been created with all the best practices in mind.
– CBD may not be for you: Everyone’s body is different and the effects of CBD may vary.
The way your body responds to the dosing could cause a headache if it doesn’t jibe well with your internal chemistry.
That is why it is always strongly recommended to consult your doctor to determine if CBD is right for you.
Pay Attention to Drug Interactions
Another reason to talk to your doctor before taking CBD is to determine whether it can safely interact with any medications you may be taken.
These interactions may increase the severity of CBD side effects. The reason for these negative interactions may be due to CBD’s inhibition of the enzyme cytochrome P450, or CYP450.
This is an enzyme some drugs use for metabolization. As a result, CBD can either increase the drug’s toxicity or decrease its effectiveness.
Some of the medications that negatively interact with CBD may be:
– Blood thinners like warfarin
– Heart rhythm medication like amiodarone
– Thyroid medication like levothyroxine
– Seizure medications like clobazam, lamotrigine, and valproate.
– Rifampin-based drugs for tuberculosis
– Opioids like fentanyl and alfentanil
– Antiarrhythmic drugs like quinidine
– Migraine medications like Ergomar (ergotamine)
– Anticonvulsants like Tegretol (carbamazepine) and Trileptal (oxcarbazepine)
– Macrolide antibiotics like clarithromycin and telithromycin
– Antifungal drugs like Nizoral (ketoconazole) and Vfend (voriconazole)
– Immune-suppressive drugs like Sandimmune (cyclosporine)
– Antipsychotic drugs like Orap (pimozide)
– Benzodiazepine sedatives like Klonopin (clonazepam) and Halcion (triazolam)
– Antidepressants like Remeron (mirtazapine)
The interactions of these drugs can be mild and may not require any adjustment to your treatment.
Or, you may be able to switch your medication with an interchangeable drug that will not interact negatively.
There is also the possibility that you may simply separate the dosing of your medications to different times of day to where they will not interact.
Talk to your doctor about any drugs you are taking, not just prescription medications, but also over-the-counter, herbal, and recreational. He or she will be able to better ascertain your situation.
Reduction of Migraines
Despite the rare occasion that CBD may cause headaches, there is also the possibility that it can have the opposite effect.
There is evidence emerging that cannabis may help with the pain of headaches and migraines.
This could likely be due to both CBD and THC ’s ability to reduce chronic pain and inflammation.
CBD has anti-inflammatory effects that may help with migraine headaches. This may be done through its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS regulates a lot of important processes in our bodies including:
– Muscle control
– Immune function
The CBD influences the ECS by interacting with the endocannabinoid receptors.
These receptors regulate pain and inflammation, including TRPV1 receptors, CB1 and CB2 receptors.
THC binds to CB1 receptors that are abundant in the brain and nervous system, reducing the sensation of pain.
Due to the dual effect of both CBD and THC, this may cause added benefits in the treatment of pain.
For this reason, we believe a full-spectrum CBD oil may help reduce the symptoms of chronic migraines.
Though research is still in its early days, there is hope that cannabidiol can become recognized as a safe and effective use for the treatment of these conditions.
May Cause or Treat Headache Pain
Headaches can be a debilitating condition that can greatly affect our daily lives. Finding out what is causing your headaches is important for determining how to treat them.
If you have taken a high dose of CBD oil, or are using a low-quality oil (that has not been third-party tested), these may be possible causes of your headaches.
Though headaches are a rare side effect of CBD oil, the evidence is showing that it can also produce the opposite effect: relief from headache pain.
Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only. It is not provided to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or ailment. It should not be interpreted as instruction or medical advice to displace the advice of your doctor or other medical professionals. We recommend talking to your doctor to prepare a treatment plan for any diseases or ailments.
Can CBD Cause Headaches?
As the CBD industry skyrockets across the US, we see it used more frequently for everything from promoting general wellness and overall health to a wide array of other uses, like anti-inflammatory, relieving neuropathic pain, and stimulating a more stable mood. Though anecdotal, a growing community has incorporated CBD into their daily routine. When you take something every day, though, there are bound to be some unwanted side effects, however minor they may be.
No matter how helpful CBD products may be, there are a few potential side effects involved, like a fluctuation in blood pressure, drowsiness, and – according to some reports and our main topical for today – headaches. While the latter is contested, we want to dive into why and how CBD oil could cause headaches, the reasons behind each type of headache CBD oil might have the potential to cause, and much more. Let’s dig into the big question at hand: Can CBD cause headaches?
what is cbd?
As a quick summary, CBD, or cannabidiol is the second most-abundant cannabinoid in cannabis and the first-most abundant cannabinoid found in hemp. By law, hemp was legalized and rescheduled as a commodity by the 2018 passing of the Farm Bill and as such, CBD products have exploded into mainstream as long as those products are hemp-derived and possess a THC content under 0.3%.
When CBD enters the body, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which helps to regulate other bodily functions to achieve homeostasis.
why does cbd have side effects?
Before we can explore if CBD oil can cause headaches, we first have to look at why it can cause side effects in the first place. Just like any other drug or consumable substance, there can be both positive and negative side effects. The fact that CBD can cause a slight drop in blood pressure or an increase in wakefulness or drowsiness means that some people may just want to be careful with the quantity of CBD they consume at any one time. Additionally, we must always recommend speaking with a physician before you start incorporating CBD into your daily wellness routine.
Dependent on the dosage, the effects CBD will have on the ECS can vary greatly, though they typically work in tandem with each other. In some cases, depending on the serving size of the CBD product at-hand, your CB2 receptors within the ECS could relax the vascular system, allowing blood to flow easier throughout the body, which usually results in lower blood pressure.
Likewise, depending on when you take CBD in the day, its effect on your wakefulness can vary. This was observed in a study on rats’ modulated sleep cycles through CBD’s influence. Through the study, researchers concluded that CBD could modulate wakefulness by activating neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRD) and hypothalamus.
Both of these side effects imply at least a modest positive impact on the body; so where does that leave CBD as a cause for headaches? Why might CBD cause them, if it does at all?
can cbd cause headaches?
Here’s the skinny: if CBD was likely to cause a headache, there would be more individual reports on the matter. While the hemp industry makes it difficult to determine the legality and safety of CBD products, it’s harder still to be able to assess individual reports back of the lack of reliability in products across the country.
Since it’s so hard to find individual reports, even though we believe there should be more than we’ve seen, we fall back on clinical trials and other points of evidence. A comprehensive report published in 2017 on the safety and effects of cannabidiol touched on it causing appetite changes, weight gain, drowsiness, diarrhea, dry mouth, hypertension, lightheaded-ness, and the vascular relaxant properties we mentioned above. Nowhere in this well-compiled report does it mention headaches, though lightheaded-ness could be a symptom that leads some users to a headache.
so what would cause a headache?
CBD doesn’t appear to be the cause of headaches. Some people still seem to report that they developed the head pain specifically from CBD oil, so let’s look at the potential reasons for what may actually be causing the headache.
association by proxy
A headache is a vague word for a wide range of intensities and types of pains that could be going on in your old noggin. There are mildly aching headaches, tension or stress headaches, chronic migraines, and many other headaches in between. These could be the result from too much light exposure, not enough food or a bad diet, or even something more serious like a brain tumor.
We have no way of knowing for certain, but what if even a portion of the people that report headaches from using CBD oil were just about to get a headache anyway? Likewise, if you used CBD oil to feel relief from a certain discomfort, the headache may simply still be there even though CBD helped with the rest.
Any type of erroneous association could be the reason people are stating CBD oil gives them headaches even when there are no known reports, studies, or trials to confirm it.
low quality cbd
The second reason your CBD oil may cause you headaches even when these products, in general, aren’t supposed to could just be that you have low-quality CBD oil. Every CBD rband is different, and more than you’d expect, like to cut corners and skimp on quality to make their products more cost-effective. Since the CBD industry remains heavily unregulated, CBD oil can be found in a vast range of different qualities.
Easy ways to avoid brands that don’t focus on the quality of their products is to first look at the ingredients list for the product in-question. It should contain a minimal number of ingredients; the more there are in each product, the more likely they use bulking ingredients to make their products stretch. Beware of cheap ingredients such as solvents as well, indicating a clear red flag that was most likely made during the extraction process.
You should also look at the lab results of a brand before you purchase their CBD. A trustworthy CBD company, such as Envy CBD, will provide detailed Certificate of Analysis (COA) reports that indicate a comprehensive list of what exactly is contained in each product and what is not contained in it. A product needs to not only verify that it is THC-free, but must also be free of pesticides, heavy metals, microbial contamination and any other contaminants that might otherwise prove a health risk upon consumption.
CBD products that are not tested consistently or that contain filler ingredients are often one of the root causes for giving people a headache. It’s not the CBD that is hurting you at this point, but rather, the other ingredients used to dilute the oil and make it less effective overall. Stick with a brand that remains transparent with their process and their ingredients so you can stay confident that you’re consuming a high-quality hemp extract.
Finally, the only other reason we can come up with for why CBD could cause headaches is an unexpected – and unheard of – allergic reaction to the cannabinoid. We won’t rule something that hasn’t been proven yet, but there aren’t any medical studies or trials that indicate a link between CBD and allergic reactions of any kind.
CBD is also not believed to be linked to neither migraines nor headaches, though there are some mild, unpleasant side effects that over-consumption can cause. We recommend using the serving size on the label to ensure you don’t take more than the suggested amount, which further prevents any potentially negative side effects.