It may not be a full-blown migraine, but headaches can knock you off your game, too. The pressure along the nape of the neck, temples or eyes may be manageable, but it poses a major health concern and can lead to lost time at work and missing out on family events.
For most people, popping a few Tylenol capsules is the first response to a headache. And that makes sense: You can’t always cancel your plans because of a headache; Your boss still needs that presentation, and you still need to pick the kids up from school.
Over-the-counter headache relief medicines are easily accessible, effective and are safe when taken as directed. But you aren’t meant to consume them in large quantities or consistently over a long period of time. According to the Food and Drug Administration, acetaminophen, the active ingredient in headache medicines, can cause severe liver damage.
If you’ve got liver health and headaches on the mind, could cannabidiol (CBD) be a natural alternative for headache relief?
What Are the Main Types of Headaches?
There are two main types of headaches besides migraines:
- Tension headache: This is the most common kind of headache. You’d be hard pressed to find a single American adult (especially women) who hasn’t experienced one. Physical and emotional stress can lead to tension headaches, but there are other causes that the scientific community has yet to fully understand.
Tension headaches feel like you’re wearing a sweatband of tension around your head, with intense pressure right above the eyebrows that can lead to pronounced nausea. They usually affect both sides of the head and occur sporadically, lacking a pattern.
- Cluster headache: This type of headache is less common, but more prevalent in men in their late 20s. Rather than feeling the pain throughout the head, cluster headaches tend to affect only one side. Specifically, intense pain is felt around one eye. As a result, cluster headaches can cause eyes to tear up and become red.
Cluster headaches, as the name suggests, have more of a pattern than tension headaches do. They typically happen around the same time of day and year, and last for days or weeks at a time. While different from migraines, they can often be just as painful. Thankfully, they don’t tend to last as long as migraines do.
Can CBD Help Ease My Headaches?
Headaches have many causes, but the three main culprits are:
- Inflammation in the brain
- An inflamed neck
- Physical or emotional stress
To understand how CBD—a natural and nonintoxicating compound found in the cannabis plant—could help relieve headaches, it’s important to focus on the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is a complex system of receptors that exists naturally in mammals. Its main goal is keeping the body in balance (also known as homeostasis). CBD interacts with the ECS, acting like a key in a lock to produce physiological changes throughout the body.
And now, many studies show CBD’s effectiveness in helping ease inflammation and pain. Specifically, one study shows CBD’s potential in treating inflammation in acute tissue regions—and that’s the exact type of inflammation thought to cause headaches. And as for stress-related headaches, CBD can help relieve stress and anxiety as well.
RELATED: CAN CBD HELP EASE STRESS?
Try These 3 CBD Products Next Time You Have a Headache
1. Elixinol CBD Hemp Oil Capsules
These capsules are great when a headache creeps in and you need fast relief. Elixinol CBD Hemp Oil capsules are a HelloMD staff favorite for a reason. One team member started substituting these capsules for Advil or Tylenol whenever a headache would set in, and she’s been a convert ever since.
2. Lavender CBD Drops by Select
Adding CBD to your daily routine can help ward off the inflammation that causes headaches, so you can stop them before they arrive. For daily maintenance, these Lavender CBD Drops by Select are a discreet and easy way to consume CBD. And the added lavender essential oils will promote even more stress relief.
3. Verté Essentials Elevate le Rouleau
Do you want a nonedible, noninhaled CBD option to help fight headaches? Try the Elevate le Rouleau from Verté Essentials, a CBD roller ball that you can apply directly to your temples, forehead and neck. The whole-plant, spiced botanical blend will help promote circulation, and relieve the inflammation and tension that can come with headaches. Plus, the roller ball provides the added bonus of a mini head massage.
Photo credits: Finn Hackshaw (main image), Elixinol (Elixinol image), Select CBD (Select image), Verté Essentials (Verté Essentials image)
Want to try CBD, but don’t know where to start? Shop our selection of high-quality, lab-tested CBD products and have them shipped to your door. And if you have questions about CBD, ask them and our community will answer.