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Potential Role of CBD in Migraine Treatment

Authored by Bak Basics
March 23, 2020

Frontiers in Pharmacology in April 2018 reviewed several publications on the mechanism of migraines as it relates to the effectiveness and safety of cannabinoid migraine treatment.  The occurrence of a migraine is multifaceted. However, it is believed that the initiation of a migraine is caused by lowering the nociceptive signal processing in response to release of pro-inflammatory agents.

Endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a comprehensive signaling system present in virtually every cell type and plays a critical role in maintaining body homoeostasis. It functions to reduce pain and to alleviate neurodegenerative and inflammatory damage. The ECS signals are relayed by two primary types of receptors: Type 1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1) and type 2 cannabinoid receptor (CB2).

The most abundant cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) function at the level of these receptors (CB1 and CB2) which correct the improper anti-inflammatory effect of cytokine production. The abundance of CB1 receptors in the brain and CB2 receptors in the immune tissue/peripheral nervous system makes them an attractive target for migraine treatment by reducing enhanced cortical excitability and inflammation, respectively. This suggests that the anti-inflammatory potential of cannabinoids represent a promising target and therapy to counteract migraine.

CBD does not have the intoxicating and psychoactive effects linked with CB1 receptor activation as caused from THC use. Since CBD is non-psychotropic and has a better side effect profile than THC, CBD therapy is the best initial choice for migraine prevention/treatment from a cannabinoid therapy standpoint. Full spectrum CBD products which contain very small amounts of THC (less than 0.3% THC) are the most appropriate choice of CBD in this setting if the patient is not concerned of THC drug testing.


Emerging Role of (Endo)Cannabinoids in Migraines - Frontiers in Pharmacology April 2018


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