Does CBD Cause Headaches When Taking Too Much of It?

Posted on March 20th, 2021

With the increased popularity in the CBD industry throughout the U.S., we can find people using it more frequently to help manage several conditions. These may include enhancing a more stable mood, relieving neuropathic pain, and as an anti-inflammatory agent. Although evidence remains mostly anecdotal, a fast-growing community now swears by CBD and incorporates it into their usual routine. However, as you should know, when you take something daily, it’s not uncommon to notice unexpected side effects – regardless of how minor they might be.

Although CBD products appear to be generally beneficial both according to sciences and enthusiasts, some potential side effects might appear. These may include drowsiness, a fluctuation in blood pressure, or, based on some reports, headaches. Many enthusiastic users still contest the latter passionately despite a growing minority still suggesting it. Thus, that is the crux of this article. Does CBD cause headaches after all?

Let’s dig into this big question at hand. Look at what CBD is, how it works, how it is different from THC, and it does give you a headache. Strap in.

What Are Cannabinoids?

They’re naturally occurring compounds that interact with receptors present throughout your body to achieve specific physiological effects. Scientists already discovered 100+ different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. However, the ones you will mostly hear about are cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Humans, and all other vertebrates such as birds, fish, cats, and dogs, produce endocannabinoids in their own bodies. Their structure’s a bit similar to that of neurotransmitters, and they adhere to the receptors. The resulting interaction impacts sleep, appetite, mood, pain, and various other functions. Meanwhile, exogenous cannabinoids aren’t created by the body. However, they can be found in marijuana as CBD, THC, and various other compounds. When cannabinoids come from plants, like CBD and THC, they go by the name of phytocannabinoids.

What Is CBD? What Is Its Source?

Cannabidiol (or CBD) is one of the most popular cannabinoids, and it comes from the Cannabis sativa plant. Generally speaking, these cannabis plants comprise over 500+ compounds, including this cannabinoid. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC) is an even more well-known cannabinoid. It’s famous for being the responsible agent that induces the powerful psychoactive effects or the ‘high’ feeling of cannabis. Nonetheless, unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive. Thus, it will never get you high. However, it ,ay deliver therapeutic benefits.

CBD and THC may be present in all cannabis plants, but they’re each in different amounts. Furthermore, particular varieties of Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica have substantially higher THC quantities and low CBD quantities. If you ever heard the acronym CBD then you most surely also heard of the hemp plant, but why is that?

Well, this is a non-intoxicating variety of the Cannabis sativa. In general, the 2018 Farm Bill acknowledges that for a cannabis plant to classify as hemp, it must have 0.3% THC levels or lower. Today, the average hemp plant usually consists of up to 18% CBD. It’s also worth recognizing that CBD’s chemical composition and effects are the same even if extracted from hemp or a different variety of cannabis like marijuana. However, if extracted from the latter, it will come attached to high THC levels, which require further processing for removal. Leaving said THC in place would make it very likely for the CBD to be able to make you high after all.

What Is THC?

As previously stated, THC is another cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. Generally, it acts as the primary psychoactive compound. Typically, THC binds to CB1 receptors mainly distributed in brain sections associated with perception, memory, and movement.

Furthermore, it binds to CB2 receptors found throughout the immune system and does manana pain sensation and inflammation. Bone cells, immune cells, spleen, and liver cells also have CB2 receptors. It’s strong binding to both CBD receptors; it’s the prime reason why THC induces such strong physical and psychological effects.

What Is the Difference Between THC & CBD?

As you’ve learned so far, THC & CBD are both cannabinoids sharing the cannabis plant as their home. However, they’re different in numerous ways that might play a role in your next dispensary purchase. A simple way to look at it is that THC is well-known for the high that it gives you, while CBD’s effects resemble only the therapeutic side of THC’s.

The integral distinction is that, unlike its counterpart, CBD won’t intoxicate you. More so, it addresses one of the most popular reasons that individuals opt to use CBD – pain management. Additionally, CBD can inhibit some of the intoxicating effects of THC. By adhering to CBD receptors beforehand, it will prevent THC from triggering those receptors. Ultimately, this leads to a less powerful psychoactive effect.

In most cases, high CBD doses provide you with a profoundly relaxing experience. Just like stepping out of your hot tub, your body might feel relaxed and tingly, and your mind might clear up.

Different CBD Effects: Does CBD Cause Headaches?Does CBD Cause Headache - older woman having a headache

Experts truly believe that CBD’s potential when it comes to addressing depression is due to its positive impact on the brain’s serotonin receptors. Research shows that low serotonin levels repeatedly link with depression. CBD does not necessarily enhance serotonin levels. With that said, it might influence how the chemical receptors in your brain respond to the serotonin already in your system.

An animal study in 2014 discovered that CBD’s impact on these receptors induced both anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects. According to a more recent 2018 review of existing studies, CBD possesses anti-stress effects, which might lower depression associated with stress.

Nevertheless, before using any supplement or medication, it would be prudent to investigate potential side effects. The good news is that researchers are a step ahead when it comes to investigating potential side effects from CBD. Based on a 1986 study, cannabis users suffering from tremors might be prone to dry mouth, hypertension sedation, psychomotor slowing, and lightheadedness.

Obviously, there is a catch. These side effects relied on the quantity of the CBD dose. So, does CBD cause headaches? Even when these side effects showed up, the study didn’t find any proof concerning CBD application as a potential cause of headaches.

A different 2017 study documented by Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research claims that CBD might cause weight and appetite problems, as well as tiredness and diarrhea. However, the publication doesn’t mention headaches as a potential side effect of CBD. The mentioned side effects are also mild. That means that the study found no life-threatening risks in the end.

Does CBD Cause Headaches? How About THC?

Generally speaking, medical marijuana application is relatively safe. With that in mind, different marijuana strains have different THC levels. Because of this, dosing in marijuana can be a bit challenging. Marijuana may cause fatigue, drowsiness, lightheadedness, dizziness, dry eyes, dry mouth, and headaches. Other side effects might include increased appetite, increased heart rate, hallucinations, disorientation, nausea, and vomiting.

Excessive use of marijuana impairs coordination, judgment, and attention. Therefore, you should abstain from driving or operating machinery after taking marijuana. In case you’re struggling with a mental health condition, take marijuana with caution. Additionally, marijuana use may deteriorate manic symptoms in patients with bipolar disorder. In case of frequent use, marijuana may enhance the risk of depression or deteriorate depression symptoms. Research also suggests that marijuana consumption enhances the risk of psychosis in patients with schizophrenia.

Typically, smoking marijuana may affect your cognitive and memory function and induce harmful cardiovascular effects – e.g., high blood pressure. More so. Long-term marijuana consumption can deteriorate respiratory complications.

Marijuana possesses a central nervous system depressant effect. Because of this, marijuana consumption together with anesthesia or similar prescriptions may give you an additive effect. Thus, remember to abstain from using marijuana two weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Does CBD Cause Headache - little bottles cbd and thc together

Why Use CBD over THC For Headaches Whenever Legally Possible?

Anxiety and paranoia are some of the worst THC side effects. Although small THC quantities are likely to induce mild social anxiety or paranoia, large doses and edibles may cause some exaggerated side effects – especially if you have a headache. THC appears capable of alleviating anxiety in smaller amounts and increase it in larger doses. That is primarily because of its biphasic effects, which means it may have two opposite effects after a certain threshold. Some people are also genetically predisposed to encounter anxiety with cannabis because of brain chemistry.

To reiterate, CBD is one of 100+ cannabinoids available in the cannabis plant. Its key distinction from THC is that it does not produce a high. In other words, there’s no proof that CBD causes a high. However, it does have some therapeutic effects, which may include reducing inflammation and relieving pain.

CBD might reduce pain since it influences certain receptors in the body. As already mentioned, those receptors are generally part of the wider ECS, which has a significant role in inflammation and pain sensation.

Studies associate cannabis with various effects, which are relevant when it comes to treating headaches. These effects include reducing inflammation, pain relief, anticonvulsive effects, and easing nausea.

Nevertheless, there has been extremely limited research regarding the effectiveness and safety of cannabis, or cannabidiol specifically, for headaches. This is partly because of legal restrictions on studies involving the cannabis plant. Based on a 2017 review, researchers also noted that cannabis might help treat migraines and headaches. Overall, we need more research.

So, does CBD cause headaches? As far as we know today, you are not likely to have a headache from using CBD.

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