As with any substance that has even the slightest psychoactive effects, CBD can cause headaches if consumed the wrong way.
CBD has been known to assist with soreness management with headaches and migraines, but in certain circumstances, it can actually have the opposite effect.
So the answer is a complicated one, yes and no.
Let’s review the scientific causes for a headache in general, then discuss the scenarios in which CBD can backfire and cause a headache after consumption.
There are multiple forms of headaches, ranging from tension to migraine headaches, and many different causes and scientific processes cause one to have a headache.
What is the general scientific reason that causes people to have a headache?
In the simplest terms, a headache is caused when soreness receptors lying around the brain become stimulated to the point of causing soreness.
Because there are so many different types of headaches, this is a simplification of the process that happens within the body to cause soreness.
Imagine the blood vessels within your head and inside your brain as tiny rivers that carry pumped blood throughout them in a steady flow stream.
As this river moves throughout the brain it can contract and expand much like an actual riverbed does. Due to all the multiple causes of a headache, these symptoms can cause the health risk to become exponentially more serious as the quality becomes lower.
A list of symptoms that can cause any form of headache include
- muscular tension
- dental or jaw problems
- eye problems
- hormonal influences
- certain medications
- disorders of the ear, nose or throat
- disorders of the nervous system
- injury to the head, neck or spine
- high blood pressure
- poor posture
- hangover from abuse of alcohol or illegal substances
- temperature (hot or cold)
- loud noises
- temporal arteritis arthritis
As you can see, any of these symptoms that are listed can cause a headache either on their own or paired with each other.
Exploring the resulting effects that cause CBD to turn on their user and cause headaches can be summed into the misuse of the substance itself.
Let’s break down what CBD is before we move into the reasons as to why it may cause a headache within its users.
What is CBD?
CBD (or ‘Cannabidiol’) is one of more than a hundred compounds (‘cannabinoids’) within the Cannabis plant (or “hemp plant, cannabis sativa”) that gives the herbal supplement its large varieties of comforting relief results.
Each of these compounds has a unique effect that adds to the many properties of cannabinoids, but there isn’t enough research available yet to know all the individual properties of each one.
This cannabinoid is considered to be a very minor psychoactive substance that has many benefits and recreational uses that make it quite popular (especially among mothers) but despite its purported safety and the fact that it is almost virtually impossible to become injured or overdose on the substance, there can still be negative side effects if used incorrectly.
What are CBD edibles?
The CBD cannabinoid can be processed by the body in multiple different ways, depending on the method of consumption used.
The compound can be absorbed through the lungs, skin, sublingually, or digestive system.
Each consumption method has a unique processing system that carries the CBD compound throughout your body and past the brain-blood barrier that produces its various beneficial effects.
However, because the human body has its own separate system for handling cannabinoids, each method of consumption transfers the compounds in unique ways that affect how it enters this mechanism within your central and peripheral nervous system.
Inside hemp industry terms, an edible is any form of a food item, most commonly found in the form of a snack or sweet treat, that is infused with either full spectrum, broad-spectrum, or pure isolate CBD forms so that when you finish eating them it carries the compounds towards your digestive system so that they will be carried past the brain blood threshold after going through a person’s large and small intestine.
What makes CBD edible absorption different from the rest?
After the CBD compounds are broken down and absorbed from the digestive process of the intestinal system, they will then finish their processing through the liver.
Here it will be broken down to filter any byproducts that the human body deems useless or harmful.
Compared to all the other aforementioned intake methods, the digestive route takes longer since it must pass through the allotted time it takes for normal food.
Once in the liver, it will be further broken down into usable chemical compounds by a series of enzymes that are responsible for the filtering and purification of everything that is eaten or drank by someone.
However, since CBD edibles are in fact carried through the liver’s enzyme processing operation, the cannabinoid CBD compounds are a little different since they have been chemically manipulated ever so slightly by the filtration aspect.
Knowing what CBD cannabinoids are and the scientific reasoning behind each of the different methods one can select when using each product is critical to understanding why and how CBD products, specifically edibles, can cause headaches under the wrong conditions.
How CBD edibles can cause headaches.
When taken properly, CBD edibles will have a very low chance of causing headaches as one of their side effects. Just like with any other substance, the proper precautions must be taken to ensure that users only experience the beneficial results of CBD cannabinoids.
For example, Ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or antacid tablets (Tums) are all over-the-counter medications that are perfectly safe and effective in combating certain ailments when taken the right way.
If there is any form of misuse which would cause a person to ingest the wrong dosage or if any type of quality control mishap would inadvertently add unwanted and dangerous impurities alongside the proper compounds that are normally found.
It can cause severe negative side effects that will only ensure disastrous consequences instead of the opposite effects intended for their users to relieve the adjoining ailments.
Although way less dangerous than the examples mentioned above, the same principle is true for CBD edibles, which is why educating yourself before trying them is so important to achieve the desired and positive results.
The reasons behind CBD edible causing headaches can be classified as two distinct categories:
- Eating more than the recommended amount suggested, causing an improper dosage that is far higher than a normal health amount.
- Buying unregulated, low-quality CBD edible products that are not subject to the correct quality assurance standards necessary to guarantee an absence of dangerous and harmful byproducts and chemicals.
Learning about all the scenarios which could cause an individual to accidentally fall victim to one of these classifications and why that is can be the single most important thing to preventing a splitting headache instead of the intentional soothing soreness relief and relaxation desired from the CBD edibles in the first place.
The difference between the right dose vs the wrong dose of cannabinoids found in CBD edibles.
Before we break down the proper procedure steps for determining the correct CBD consumption amount necessary for the optimal desired effect, we must state that the chances of overdosing from CBD edibles are virtually impossible.
This is because the amount of full spectrum CBD cannabinoid concentration needed to cause an overdose is impossible to consume orally from a CBD edible, your stomach and digestive system could not handle the volume needed for this to happen.
In the statement above we are referring to the medical definition of a chemical drug overdose, which is important to keep in mind because there are a few select individuals who have high levels of sensitivity when it comes to the consumption of the delta 9 THC cannabinoid, which is found within the full spectrum CBD variety, and these individuals may be subjecting themselves to multiple negative side effects brought on by the strong events of this THC compound.
This feeling is sometimes referred to as ‘greening out’ which can produce a highly uncomfortable feeling that to some may feel as if it is an ‘overdose,’ but instead, it is the overconsumption of full spectrum CBD edibles, rather than a life-threatening medical overdose.
As always, please consult your primary care physician if you have any questions about the consumption of CBD edibles and their interactions with any specific prior medical conditions you may have.
Why should you avoid high amounts of cannabinoid concentrations from eating CBD edibles?
For people who do not have a predisposition to intense sensitivity of delta 9 THC cannabinoid consumption reactivity, eating a higher than the recommended amount of CBD edibles will more than likely not lead to the overwhelming feeling of ‘greening out.’
This is supported by the fact that full-spectrum CBD compounds only have a maximum concentration of 0.3% delta 9 THC within their composition.
The negative ‘greening out’ effects experienced by those with a normal sensitivity tolerance to tetra cannabinol substances are primarily caused by edibles that are not CBD based and instead are mainly full of high concentrations of THC cannabinoids, which have a much more psychoactive & intoxicating substance effect.
Regardless of someone’s tolerance to THC or CBD, an overindulgence in CBD edibles can still result in various negative side effects, such as headaches.
This is why calculating and adhering to a normal quantity level when dosing the amounts of CBD edibles that will be taken.
Too much CBD edibles will result in headaches, amongst other undesired consequences, but not chowing down enough will only have the disappointing outcome of feeling nothing from too little dosage amounts of the cannabinoid traces found within CBD edibles.
How can I figure out the perfect amount of CBD edibles I should eat?
The most careful method of gauging your CBD edible dosage is to divide your body weight (pounds – lbs) by the milligrams each portion contains in CBD edibles.
Generally speaking, a moderate range of 10-20 milligrams per every 100 pounds is a good measuring point to keep you from accidentally taking too much.
However, this formula is best applied to CBD product users that have some experience with taking edibles.
If you are just starting to experience CBD edibles for a couple of instances, or for the first time altogether, it is better to take more precautions and begin by eating the smallest possible quantity of whichever CBD edible treat you may be taking.
So if you purchase a bag of bite-sized CBD edible gummies, the best action plan is to take one gummy unit and adjust your consumption after seeing what effects you feel after your body absorbs it in around one hour.
If you do not feel anything, you may have another gummy unit, then repeat this process to measure what amount is perfect for you.
Since no one is created equal, our body’s internal chemical reactions are different and unique to our lives.
Some may experience the reputed beneficial feelings after just one 10-milligram gummy, while others may require a few extra gummies to reach that same level.
Patience is crucial when determining the right amount of CBD edibles to take after your first dose.
Waiting for your body to process the CBD edible you have eaten is one of the most preventative actions to reduce the chances of headaches.
The time for food to finish processing through the digestive tract is not quick, with average times ranging from 45-60 minutes after swallowing, but could potentially be even longer depending on if you had a full stomach from recently eating before the consumption of the first CBD edible dose.
This significant gap of time lapsing can lead to a false conclusion that the CBD edibles taken do not have any effect. Therefore one may inadvertently take more to reach their ideal dosage.
Although most of the time, the reality is that being impatient gets the best of us, which leads to the decision to increase the dosage before accurately measuring the results from the initial CBD edible amount.
This causes the CBD concentrations within the edibles to “stack” on top of each other within your digestive system before they have enough time to be broken down and absorbed.
Instead of measuring how you are feeling from the CBD effects, it will compound together and digest all at once together.
This lack of dosage control can cause the feelings to be too intense all at once with no way to reduce or stop amounts because they’ve already been consumed by the body, bringing along those headaches we wish to avoid.
Simply by waiting for a little extra to be safe and ensuring your body has had sufficient time to digest the CBD edible, it will avoid the unpleasant surprise of being hit intensely all at once with an uncomfortable feeling alongside a headache, and also being powerless to do anything to reduce the effects after that point.
The final category of CBD edible causes headaches can be prevented before you even have the full spectrum CBD product in your hands.
How to research your CBD edible product for the highest quality and purity before purchasing.
Due to the reasonably recent legalization of CBD products through the creation of a valid hemp industry with the passing of the 2018 farm bill legislation, a proper system of checks and balances for the regulation of CBD edibles has yet to be established.
This unfortunate byproduct is the result of a lack of specific declarations outlining the legality of CBD cannabinoids directly, instead, the law dictates the legalization of an industrial hemp industry which also happens to legalize CBD products indirectly.
The effects of this vagueness within the CBD product marketplace are a slew of unregulated and poorly developed CBD compounds inside every kind of product available.
Impure byproducts within lower-end CBD edibles can cause headaches from their toxic properties.
It is hard to imagine that this is the reality of our current CBD edible industry at the time of writing this article since American society has many government divisions dedicated to guaranteeing a certain level of quality for almost every consumer product readily available such as the Food and Drug Administration, Federal Trade Commission, and Environmental Protection Agency.
That is why hemp manufacturers and sellers of CBD edibles are under no legal obligation to conduct quality standards above the absolute bare minimum.
This has flooded the CBD edible marketplace with products that contain very little actual concentrations of CBD cannabinoid traces and/or trace amounts of harmful toxic substances that customers did not ask for inside of their CBD edible treats.
Some of these chemical compounds are significantly harmful to a person’s health, having direct side effects which produce the necessary symptoms listed at the start of the article and cause mild to severe headaches.
Some of these unsafe impurities include, but are not limited to:
- Pesticides & Herbicides
- Bacterial Germs
- Mold Spores
- Heavy Metals
- Industrial Solvents
- Hydrogen Cyanide
Within the items found on this list alone, there are hundreds of sub-categories within each one that have been found in trace amounts from low-quality CBD edibles.
While many products put little to no care or effort into the safety or quality of their CBD edibles, there are ways to evaluate a CBD vendor to determine what the conditional properties of their inventory are.
Differences between low-quality CBD edibles vs. high-quality CBD edibles and how to identify which is which.
The main point of focus that reveals which CBD edible is good quality or not comes down to the level of effort that a vendor invests in their third party; AB testing, overall company transparency with hemp material source origins or manufacturing process, and dedication to long-term customer service policies.
All of these aspects require a significant amount of investment of both time and money from the CBD seller without any legal obligation to do so, which proves that their product is developed with solid and safe operational processes.
Where do bottom-tier CBD edibles come from, and why is it a big issue?
The most significant factor accelerating the spread of these dangerous CBD edibles is the lack of structured regulations within the new law we discussed previously.
Nonetheless, another pressing issue adding to the problem is the scientific growth process that the hemp plant uses.
When being cultivated, the hemp plant has a mammoth-sized level of bioaccumulation, which is a piece of its biological growth process that causes crops to absorb large amounts of chemical compounds from every part of the ecosystem surrounding where it lives.
This becomes highly alarming when the hemp crop harvest is grown within an environment with toxic compounds already within its boundaries.
Many CBD edible items that reside in the lowest levels of hemp quality products are sourced from commercialized collectivizations.
These centers resemble factories more than farms and do not nurture the hemp CBD, but surround it with polluted soil, water, and air, then top it off with the smallest space between crops possible for any growth.
All these tactics are done in the name of higher profit margins regardless of who they hurt. That is why transparency in operations is crucial when it comes to researching the CBD edibles you will potentially buy because you can fact-check the location of where the hemp is forged and what kind of process is used to extract the full spectrum CBD oil that is used within the edibles.
The most crucial evidence to inspect is a certificate of analysis from independent third-party labs that will review the CBD product and its hemp at the molecular level to determine CBD concentrations and purities while also identifying any inactive chemicals which could be harmful toxins if consumed by humans.
CBD edibles that follow the proper conditions of high-value materials will not cause headaches.
As long as CBD edible consumers stick to the guidelines outlined in this article, they will be blessed with a hemp-derived product that delivers all of the reputed benefits of CBD cannabinoids.
Meanwhile, the other CBD edibles classified at lower levels of product and manufacturing quality will have a higher risk of being directly responsible for a headache.
If a migraine brought on by one of these subpar CBD edibles is due to one or more of the symptoms outlined at the start of this text, the underlying health issues causing them may be more serious depending on the adulterants found hiding within their composition.
For this reason alone, moms should be extra cautious when locating CBD edibles to enjoy and should stick to trustworthy sources of products such as Supermom CBD.