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Medically Reviewed By:
Nidra Sidhu, M.D. Integrative Medicine
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    Delta 8 For Migraines – Effectiveness, Benefits, & Side Effects

    Man with migraine on blue background

    Migraines are one of the most common headache disorders in adults. According to research, migraine attacks are the world's sixth most disabling medical condition. 

    Migraines are usually self-diagnosable with symptoms like throbbing or frequent headaches, dizziness, sensitivity to light or sound, distorted vision and blind spots, nausea, or vomiting. Symptoms can last for hours to days and in that period, it can be difficult to live a normal life. 

    Unfortunately, migraines can be difficult to treat with prescription medications or other conventional treatments, which compel migraine sufferers to look for alternatives like cannabis products. 

    This article looks at how cannabis can be used for migraine treatment.  We delve specifically into whether delta 8 can be considered as an alternative for migraine relief.

    What Is Delta 8 THC?

    Before we dig deeper into the science of THC and migraines, let's take a quick look at what delta 8 is exactly.

    Delta 8 is a variant of tetrahydrocannabinol or what people usually refer to as delta 9 THC. It is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in hemp and cannabis plants. However, since it is found in very few quantities, extracting a significant amount becomes almost impossible.

    Luckily, hemp-derived CBD or delta 9 THC can be converted to delta 8 gummies in the lab through a series of chemical processes. This makes it possible to get the delta 8 compound in larger quantities for commercial purposes.

    Delta 8 THC Vs. Delta 9 THC

    Delta 8 and delta 9 are similar in many ways, from sharing the same chemical formula to interacting with the human body. The major difference between these two is that they have different chemical structures. Both of these compounds have a double carbon bond, but delta 8’s double carbon bond happens on the eighth carbon while delta 9’s is on the ninth carbon. This difference might seem subtle at a glance, but it is what causes delta 8 and delta 9 to have similar but not the same effects on the body.

    Delta 8 can bind with the same cannabinoid receptors that delta 9 THC binds to - CB1 receptors. These cannabinoid receptors are mostly found in the brain and are responsible for producing psychoactive effects leading to delta 8 also inducing a high. Since delta 8 interacts with the body similarly to delta 9, it produces almost identical therapeutic benefits. We can thus expect delta 8 to respond to conditions that are responsive to delta 9 THC.

    In some cases, delta 8 THC may even be more useful than delta 9 THC. For instance, a study conducted on the use of delta 8 THC as an antiemetic found that delta 8 was more of an effective cannabinoid in treating nausea than delta 9 THC. It also revealed that delta 8 had little adverse effects as compared to delta 9 THC because delta 8 was about 50-70% less potent.

    Based on the similarities in these two compounds, it's reasonable to look at the available research on delta 9 THC to better understand the therapeutic potential or benefits of delta 8 THC.

    Delta North

    The Science Behind Cannabis For Migraines

    Delta 8 is a relatively new cannabinoid and more research is still being conducted to fully understand its medical benefits. Currently, there is no specific research on delta 8 as a migraine treatment, but available studies suggest that traditional THC products or medical marijuana may reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. 

    In 2016, an observational study was conducted on the effects of medical marijuana on migraine headache frequency in adults in Colorado.

    It was found that migraine sufferers who used medical marijuana saw a reduction in the number of times they suffered migraines in a month.

    On average, migraine headache frequency decreased from 10.4 to 4.6 per month.

    It was also observed that patients reported drowsiness and an intense high as the most common negative effects experienced by using medical marijuana. This is because delta 9 has a higher potency, producing more intense psychoactive effects.

    Similar research on the short and long-term cannabis effects on headache pain intensity and migraines found that people experienced a 50% reduction in their headaches and migraines after using cannabis. The study also revealed that men reported significantly more migraine relief and were more responsive to cannabis products than women.

    Other clinical studies have found that an oral dose of 200mg THC and CBD combined was equally effective at preventing migraine as a 25mg dose of the drug amitriptyline. It was concluded that delta 9 THC could be an effective treatment for migraines.

    The above clinical and observational studies observe positive results for medical cannabis use or delta 9 in preventing and reducing migraine frequency. Since delta 8 and delta 9 interact with the body in a similar manner, delta 8 may have the same effects in treating migraine symptoms but possibly without the negative side effects since it is less potent.

    Types Of Delta 8 THC Products For Migraines

    When you are experiencing the terrible discomfort of a migraine, all you want is to be able to stop it or ease the pain somehow.  It is not surprising then to want a product that will help you achieve that quickly. 

    Delta 8 offers different means of doing this through its range of products on the market. Each one produces a different effect.

    Delta 8 Edibles

    Delta 8 edibles are food products that contain delta 8 THC.

    Examples include delta 8 THC gummies 100mg, cookies, candies, chocolates, or beverages. When you eat delta 8 edibles, they are metabolized by your liver before entering your bloodstream hence they take longer (up to 2 hours) to show effects, but their effects last longer than other products. Migraine sufferers who take edibles for their migraine tend to experience longer-lasting effects.

    Delta 8 Tinctures and Oils

    These are natural oils that have been infused with delta 8 THC. Tinctures and oils offer precise dosing benefits with their dropper lids. They usually take up to 30 minutes to show effects after being absorbed into your bloodstream; effects can last up to 4 hours. Tinctures and oils give quicker relief to migraine sufferers than typical gummies.

    Delta 8 Flower and Vapes

    Inhaling or smoking cannabis is still the preferred choice of most people because of the fast onset of its effects which can be great for when you want relief from a severe migraine more quickly. Inhaling usually takes up to 15 minutes to take effect since it enters your bloodstream directly but the effects don’t last long. 

    Delta North

    Things To Consider When Buying Delta 8 For Migraines

    When shopping for delta 8 for migraines, it is important to check some safety boxes so you can get the right products to help you treat or prevent your migraine.

    High-Quality

    Irrespective of the type of product you decide on, quality cannot be compromised. Without high-quality products, you may not be able to experience the benefit of delta 8, so it is important to scout the market and get your hands on high-quality products.

    Third-party Lab Testing

    All reputable cannabis brands in the industry add their third-party lab results to their website so their customers can know the content of the products they are consuming are safe. 

    Third-party lab results must be Farm Bill compliant, meaning their THC content shouldn’t exceed 0.3%. Checking if the product is Farm Bill compliant keeps you on the safe side of the law and it also prevents you from experiencing adverse effects from consuming too much delta 9 THC.

    Checking the content of the products also keeps you from consuming toxic by-products created during the delta 8 manufacturing process since the lab results will verify if the product is free from such residual by-products.

    Customer Reviews

    Customer reviews are also quite important because they will give you a fair idea of how the product might affect you. It is advisable to buy your product from online brands so you can see their reviews before you make a purchasing decision.

    Ingredients

    Some users believe that only the cannabis flower gives one full benefit. However, edibles can also give you the full benefits of hemp since they can contain useful terpenes and other cannabinoids like CBD. Such edibles are referred to as full-spectrum edibles and when components like terpenes and other cannabinoids work in synergy, they produce what is termed the entourage effect.

    Side Effects of Delta 8 THC On Migraine Symptoms

    Studies and anecdotal reports show that delta 8 THC has little to no side effects, even when consumed in higher doses. Generally, overdosing on delta 8 THC and medical cannabis products is quite impossible but there have been a few cases where the following negative side effects have been noted:

    • Dry mouth 
    • Red eyes
    • High heart rate
    • Low blood pressure
    • Extreme hunger
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Paranoia

    Sometimes, dosing on an amount your body cannot handle may cause these negative side effects, as well as mixing your delta 8 THC with other prescribed medication. It is, therefore, always advisable to seek physician guidance before using delta 8 for headaches or migraines.

    How To Use Delta 8 For Migraine Relief

    When you decide to use delta 8 as an alternative to typically prescribed medications for migraine symptoms, the first thing you should keep in mind is that delta 8 THC experience and benefits are different for everyone. Everyone responds to THC in a different way but you can still use these tips to get the best out of using delta 8 to ease your migraine symptoms.

    1. Choose what works for you based on your migraine headache frequency

    One of the studies mentioned earlier revealed that delta 8 THC concentrates may work better than the cannabis flower, possibly because of its longer-lasting effects. However, using delta 8 is more about preference. Some prefer to smoke the flower and it's absolutely fine, provided it works for you. If you are not sure which consumption method or product type to settle for, you can experiment with them until you find what works for you.

    2. Start with a smaller dose

    Taking more THC than your body can handle will cause adverse effects, so as a rule of thumb, start with a smaller dose and work your up slowly. Over time, you will know how much delta 8 gives you the best results.

    3. Take a tolerance break

    Our bodies develop a tolerance for substances that are introduced to them with time and one of the studies on cannabis use for migraines confirmed this. Migraine sufferers developed a tolerance for medical cannabis due to frequent use. If you use delta 8 THC for migraines, you may sometimes have to take a tolerance break, so your body doesn’t become irresponsive it.

    Delta North

    Delta 8 For Migraines - Key Takeaways

    Traditional THC products have a good reputation for reducing the frequency of migraine attacks and treating severe attacks. Since delta 8 is similar to delta 9 in many ways, including its therapeutic benefits, it is fair to say that delta 8 may also treat or help prevent migraines. 

    Delta 8 is less potent and is known to have fewer side effects compared to medical cannabis, therefore migraine sufferers who use delta 8 THC may get relief from their discomfort without adverse side effects such as an intense high or paranoia. Delta 8 is a great alternative relief from migraine pain if you don’t have full legal access to medical cannabis. Though future research will be needed to understand more.

    There are different types of delta 8 products on the market but getting their potential benefits starts with finding which one works best for you as well as buying high-quality products.

    If you are in search of high-quality delta 8 products to relieve you from the discomfort of severe headaches or migraines, we recommend you start by experimenting with our delta 8 gummies 1000mg

    Legal Disclaimer: You should still consult an attorney for the best legal advice regarding medical cannabis in your state, as the material shared here is for informational purposes only. Please consult with a doctor before taking delta 8 THC with any medical conditions, low blood pressure, prescription medication, or as a natural alternative to your current regime. 

    author avatar
    Clayton McCall

    Clayton is a Senior Content Specialist, researcher, and holistic healthcare practitioner. Having been in the supplement industry for more than 15 years, Clayton brings a wealth of experience to the delta 8 space. His publications include alternative therapy, stress and coping, and alternative health.

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