Can CBD Oil Help With Cluster Headaches?
Cluster headaches are a neurological condition of which the primary symptom is an excruciating headache usually on one side of the head. The term “cluster” refers to how these headaches tend to occur and subside spontaneously. These headaches typically last for between 15 minutes and 3 hours, with those affected experiencing extremely intense pain. Cluster headaches affect approximately 0.1% of the population, and their cause is currently unknown. So can CBD oil help with cluster headaches? We’ll explore this question below.
Characteristics of Cluster Headaches
Unlike normal migraines, cluster headaches typically start rapidly without any preliminary signs. Some affected people, however, report feeling shadows of the impending pain before the headache attacks. Although cluster headaches almost exclusively affect one side of the head, they may switch sides between attacks.
Cluster headaches cause a pain around the eye that’s markedly sharper than that from the most severe migraines. In fact, some medical experts have suggested that cluster headaches may be the most painful condition known in the medical field — even more severe than childbirth. Some analogies often used to describe these headaches include a red-hot rod getting poked into the eye or having your leg amputated without anesthetic. A 1939 paper on cluster headaches describes patients whose pain was so severe that they had to be put on suicide watch—hence the condition’s nickname, “suicide headaches”.
Cluster headaches are also nicknamed “alarm clock headaches” due to the near-exactness of their onset and their ability to wake sufferers from sleep. The headache may be accompanied by a runny nose, pupil constriction, blushing, a drooping eyelid, or tearing. Those affected by cluster headaches also tend to have an aversion to loud noises and bright lights. Some successive symptoms include exhaustion, restlessness, and depression. Patients may avoid scheduling plans during the times that the headaches usually attack, which may lead to social isolation.
Prevention and Treatment of Cluster Headaches
Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and paracetamol generally provide no relief at all from cluster headache pain. And unlike other headaches such as tension headaches and migraines, cluster headaches seem not to respond to biofeedback. A wide range of prophylactic medication is currently in use against cluster headaches, but the patient response isn’t consistent. Some of this medication includes the calcium channel blocker, verapamil and steroids like prednisolone. Alternative treatments include lithium, methysergide, and the anticonvulsant, topiramate. Intravenous magnesium sulfate has been shown to be effective in 40% of patients, while melatonin significantly improved the condition of close to 50% of patients. However, rather than completely eliminating cluster headaches, these medications typically reduce the active period of the cluster headache and prevents it from reaching its peak intensity.
CBD and Cluster Headaches
A small number of medical reports and surveys have established the potential benefits of using CBD to treat cluster headaches. While such benefits are plausible, given the known pharmacological effects of CBD, rigorous studies to prove this notion are still lacking. However, when asked, “can CBD oil help with cluster headaches?” numerous patients tend to answer in the affirmative. As such, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that indicates that CBD oil is an effective treatment for cluster headaches. As some experts have linked the onset of cluster headaches with extreme stress or anxiety, CBD oil may work as a prophylactic due to its anti-anxiety effects.
How to Take CBD Oil for Cluster Headaches
So, can CBD oil help with cluster headaches? What’s guaranteed is that it’s a great way to reduce pain and stress. It’s efficacy for cluster headache pain, however, seems to differ between patients. If you’re looking to try CBD oil as a treatment for cluster headaches, some of the easiest ways to take it include vaping, tincture, or oral spray. All these methods rapidly deliver CBD into your system and help you find near-instant relief. CBD edibles and pills take a bit longer to kick in, but the effects may last throughout the day. It’s vital to get proper medical advice before taking CBD oil to ensure it’s the best route for you so your progress can be monitored.