Can CBD Be Helpful For Cluster Headaches?

Can CBD Be Helpful For Cluster Headaches

One of the most popular alternative health treatments in the market today is CBD, a compound from the cannabis plant known to help health problems including neurological disorders, mood disorders, sleep disorders, problems with blood pressure, rare types of epilepsy, as well as chronic pain including headaches and migraines. This article will let us know why CBD is a good alternative and how it works for pain relief.

What is a cluster headache?

Cluster headaches are severe headaches that often occur in the middle of the night. Patients with cluster headaches often report intense pain in or around one eye on one side of the head. These headaches can come suddenly and bouts of frequent attacks or cluster periods can last from weeks to months.  

Many people think that cluster headaches and migraines are the same. Although both cause severe pain in and around the forehead, temples, or sinuses, they act differently. A migraine is severe throbbing pain, typically on one side of the head. Whereas cluster headaches are shorter in duration but recur in a few months and are followed by a remission up to a few years. People with cluster headaches tend to get them during the same season each year.   

How do cluster headaches impact people’s lives?

Cluster headaches can hinder your ability to work or spend time with your family as they can be very painful. A cluster headache strikes without warning and usually comes with nausea and aura like migraine attacks. People with cluster headaches are likely to have sensitivity to light and sound usually on one side. It can also cause symptoms like:

  • Restlessness
  • Excessive tearing
  • Redness of the eye on the affected side
  • Stuffy or runny nose on the affected side
  • Pale skin or flushing on the face
  • Forehead or facial sweating
  • Swelling around the eye on the affected side
  • One-sided pain
  • Pain to other areas of the face, head, and neck
  • Drooping eyelid on the affected side

A cluster period can last for several weeks or months and each period might be consistent from period to period. The headaches during this period usually occur every day, sometimes several times a day and a single attack can last from 15 minutes to 3 hours. 

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol or CBD is an active ingredient in the cannabis plant. It is a compound directly derived from the hemp plant, the cousin of marijuana. CBD is known to treat a wide range of health issues such as stress, anxiety in children with post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, pain,  high blood pressure, inflammation, and two rare forms of epilepsy.

Since CBD provides many health benefits, people have grown to love it. CBD has also become popular in recent years due to its non-psychoactive effects. This means that CBD will not cause the adverse effects that people can experience with THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana.

Cannabis and Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are debilitating, and in many cases, inadequately managed by existing treatments. Early reports of cannabis for the treatment of headaches appear to be positive, with many patients reporting a decrease in frequency and intensity of their headache episodes. Currently, there are no placebo-controlled clinical studies examining the use of medical cannabis for headaches. Nevertheless, other studies have been published that give insight into its therapeutic benefits.

A study on Nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid mimicking THC has been shown to decrease analgesic for medication overuse-headache (MOH). 26 patients were given Nabilone or ibuprofen for 8 weeks.  The results of the study showed that Nabilone was a more effective treatment in reducing pain intensity, analgesic intake, and medication dependence, as well as improving quality of life. This study suggests that THC could play a role in the treatment of headaches due to its psychoactive properties.

Another study was conducted wherein 121 patients were given medical cannabis for migraine treatment, among whom 85.1% of them reported a reduction in migraine frequency. The results indicate that cannabis may be an effective treatment option for migraine sufferers. 

Although there are several clinical trials on the use of cannabis for a lot of health concerns including neuropathic pain and have shown promising results, the research on its use specifically for headache disorders is still lacking.

How Does CBD Work For Cluster Headaches?

Studies on CBD have shown that it can help reduce chronic pain and inflammation by interacting with the receptors (CB1 and CB2) in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is known to regulate bodily functions including pain, mood, appetite, memory, and sleep.

More research is needed to further understand how CBD may affect the body but studies suggest that CBD may prevent the body from metabolizing anandamide, which is a compound associated with pain regulation. CBD is also said to limit inflammation within the body to help reduce pain and other immune system responses.

What does the clinical research say about CBD for pain relief?

The exact cause of cluster headaches is unknown but cluster headache patterns suggest that abnormalities in the body’s hypothalamus play a role.

According to, a 2017 study of people suffering from chronic migraines found that 200 mg of a compound with CBD and minimal traces of THC reduced their pain by 55% and reduced the severity and length of their headaches.

Another study published in Cephalalgia wherein 139 cluster headache patients with a history of cannabis use filled out questionnaires on the effectiveness of medical cannabis for their headaches. 25.9% of the patients indicate that cannabis could have value in treating cluster headaches. However, 22.4% of them reported negative effects and that cannabis provokes their cluster headache attacks.

What is the best way to take CBD for cluster headaches?

CBD is available in many forms which allow people to tailor their method of use depending on their needs. Here are the most common forms of CBD to help cluster headaches:

CBD oils and tinctures

These liquids are oils infused with CBD and usually taken sublingually. Using a dropper, place 2 to 3 drops under your tongue for at least 30 seconds before swallowing. 

  • Pros: easy to do, produce long-lasting effects
  • Cons: results may vary from person to person, pure oil has an earthy taste that some people don’t like

CBD vapes

Vaping or smoking CBD oils is the fastest way to experience the effects of CBD as the compounds are absorbed directly from the lungs into the bloodstream.

  • Pros: delivers a high concentration of CBD and the maximum beneficial effects, easy to regulate the dosage
  • Cons: vaping and smoking can cause a dry mouth and throat, you’re prone to vaping a higher concentration than you need

CBD gummies

Ingesting CBD gummies is the most popular way to take CBD as they are affordable, discrete, and very tasty.

  • Pros: very discrete, can mask the earthy taste of the CBD
  • Cons: it would take 30 to 45 minutes for the effects to kick in

What dosage of CBD should I Use?

There is no correct CBD dosage so you should start low and slow. Depending on how concentrated your oil is, the usual dosage will be 25 mg of CBD for cluster headaches. Wait for 20 minutes for the CBD to kick in, and if there are no results, you can repeat the dose. CBD is completely safe. However, note that a higher CBD dose can make you feel sleepy and drowsy.

Why Choose ZenBears?

Zenbears UK offers CBD gummies that are vegan-friendly, THC-free, and organic. Our gummies are pharmaceutically coated with CBD so that you can get the sublingual benefits. Zenbears gummies are extremely tasty and packed with fruity flavours making them irresistible.