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Can CBD Cause Headaches?
CBD Education

Can CBD Cause Headaches?

Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is a natural compound that's been skyrocketing in popularity over recent years. This compound, found in the cannabis plant, has been linked to a myriad of potential benefits, making it a staple in wellness routines across the globe. But, as with any trending wellness product, it's crucial to understand how it interacts with your body and whether it might have any side effects. So, can this wellness-supporting cannabinoid cause headaches for some users? We’re here to unravel the connection between CBD use and headaches, offering an in-depth look at what the research says, how CBD interacts with our bodies, and much more. Let’s dive in.

What Is CBD?

CBD is one of over 100 compounds, known as cannabinoids, found in the cannabis and hemp plant. It's non-psychoactive, meaning it won't get you "high" — that's the job of another cannabinoid known as THC. CBD has garnered significant attention due to its potential to support wellness and is available in various forms, including oils, capsules, balms, and gummies.

What Types of CBD Are There?

There are three main types of CBD on the market: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate.
  • Full spectrum CBD – full spectrum CBD contains all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds found in the cannabis plant, including trace amounts of THC.
  • Broad spectrum CBD – broad spectrum CBD also contains multiple compounds but has had all traces of THC removed.
  • CBD isolate – as the name suggests, CBD isolate contains only CBD and no other cannabinoids or plant compounds.

How Is CBD Extracted From the Hemp Plant?

CBD extraction and manufacturing processes play a key role in the final product's quality. The most common method of extraction is CO2 extraction, which uses pressurized carbon dioxide to pull CBD from the plant. This method is generally the favorite, as it leaves no residual chemicals in the product and preserves the full range of cannabinoids and terpenes. However, it's important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. The market is currently unregulated, and as such, the quality of CBD products can vary greatly. Some products may not contain the amount of CBD they claim to, while others could be contaminated with pesticides or other harmful substances – but more on that below.

How Does CBD Work Within the Body?

The human body is a complex network of systems working together to maintain balance or homeostasis. One such system that has recently become the focus of scientific exploration is the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This intricate system, which was discovered in the late 20th century, is made up of a series of receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids — our body's naturally-produced cannabinoids. These components work in unison to influence a variety of physiological processes, including mood, appetite, sleep, and immune response. There are two main types of receptors in the ECS: CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are predominantly found in the central nervous system, influencing functions such as cognition and motor coordination, while CB2 receptors are more prevalent in the peripheral nervous system and immune cells. This is where CBD comes into play. While it doesn't directly bind to these receptors like other cannabinoids, CBD interacts with the ECS in unique ways. It's believed to support the body's own cannabinoids, encouraging their presence and influence in the body. This interaction may be one reason why CBD is believed to support wellness. Though research into the ECS and CBD's interaction with it is still ongoing, the potential benefits of CBD for supporting well-being have captured the attention of researchers, medical professionals, and wellness enthusiasts alike.

What Causes Headaches?

Headaches are a common ailment with multiple potential triggers. Generally, they are caused by the contraction of muscles between the head and neck or by changes in chemical activity in the brain. Several factors can contribute to the onset of a headache, such as stress, lack of sleep, dehydration, certain foods, skipped meals, and hormonal changes.


Stress can trigger tension headaches, which are the most common type of headache. These are characterized by a dull, aching sensation all over the head, often described as a tight band around the forehead or pressure at the back and sides of the head.

Lack of Sleep

Both insufficient sleep and too much sleep can lead to headaches. These headaches typically go away once a normal sleep pattern is established.


This is one of the most common causes of headaches. Lack of water can cause the brain to temporarily contract due to fluid loss, leading to a dehydration headache.


Certain foods and drinks, such as aged cheeses, processed foods, and alcoholic beverages, can trigger headaches in some people. Missing meals can also contribute, as low blood sugar can cause a headache.

Hormonal changes

Some people may experience headaches and migraines during certain periods of their menstrual cycle due to fluctuating estrogen levels. It's important to note that the exact cause of headaches isn't always clear and may involve a combination of factors, some of which may be serious. Identifying personal headache triggers can be a valuable tool in managing and preventing this common discomfort. If you are experiencing headaches often or severely, it’s best to check with your doctor to help understand the cause.

Can CBD Help Soothe Tension in the Head and Neck?

Tension in the head and neck can often lead to discomfort and headaches. Various techniques can be used to soothe this tension, ranging from regular exercise and stretching to meditation and the use of wellness products such as CBD. CBD's potential to encourage overall wellness is primarily due to its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). By interacting with this system, CBD might support the body's natural functions to maintain balance and well-being. This includes the potential to help maintain a relaxed mood and support sleep quality, which are common factors contributing to tension and headaches. Research suggests that CBD might interact with serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, plays a significant role in managing stress and mood. By interacting with this system, CBD could help maintain a state of calm and balance, which may indirectly relieve physical manifestations of tension in the head, neck, and shoulders. Furthermore, CBD's role in the ECS may also support normal muscle function, which could be beneficial for those experiencing tension in the head and neck. By potentially targeting these root causes, CBD might offer relief to some users.

Can CBD Cause Headaches?

As CBD research continues to evolve, a question that comes up frequently is whether CBD can cause headaches. While CBD is extremely well tolerated and side effects of CBD are rare, some users do report experiencing minor side effects like fatigue or headaches. These possible side effects are typically short-lived, but there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of unwanted effects.

Consider Quality

The quality of CBD products can greatly influence one's experience. Lower-quality products, potentially containing contaminants or inconsistent levels of CBD, could contribute to undesirable side effects, including headaches. At Muscle MX, we only use clean, natural ingredients and partner with USA-based farmers to source our organic hemp. Our products are free of parabens, harmful chemicals, and contaminants, and all of our products are third-party tested, with lab reports publicly available on our website.

Start Slow

Lastly, dosage also plays a crucial part. As with any supplement, each person's body will respond differently to CBD, and the “right” dosage can vary. Taking a larger dose than needed may lead to side effects, including headaches. When using CBD oil, we recommend starting with five to 10mg a day and working your way up until you find your sweet spot. For CBD gummies, you may want to start with a half dose. Topicals like our soothing Recovery CBD Balm, on the other hand, are not typically associated with these potential side effects, as they are not absorbed into the bloodstream the same way. Rather, using a CBD topical directly on the neck, shoulders, or other sites of tension can help soothe the muscles by partnering with the endocannabinoids and receptors nearby for added support. While current research doesn't suggest a direct link between CBD use and headaches, it's important to remember that everyone's experience with CBD is individual. Factors such as product quality, hydration levels, and dosage can influence your experience, which is why it's important to use high-quality CBD products, stay hydrated, and start with a low dose, gradually increasing it until you find what works best for you.

What To Do if You Experience a Headache after Using CBD

If you experience a headache after using CBD, don't panic. First, assess your hydration levels and ensure you're drinking enough water. Next, consider the dosage — it may be worth reducing it to see if this alleviates the headache. Keep a record of your CBD use and any side effects, as this can help identify any patterns. If headaches persist, stop using CBD and consult with a healthcare professional. It's always important to listen to your body and seek medical advice when necessary.

The Bottom Line

CBD holds a promising position in the wellness industry due to its potential to support various aspects of health. While it's not without possible side effects, including the occasional headache, these are typically mild and can often be mitigated by ensuring optimal hydration, starting with a low dosage, and using high-quality products. It's important to remember that everyone's body responds differently to CBD. What works best for one person may not work as well for another, which is why it's crucial to listen to your body and adjust your approach as necessary. Remember, more research is needed to fully understand the link between CBD and headaches, and you should always consult a healthcare professional before starting or changing any wellness regimen. Are you ready to explore how CBD could fit into your wellness routine? Our range of high-quality, tested CBD products are here to fit into your unique daily routine. Whether you're seeking to maintain balance in your busy life or are exploring natural ways to support overall well-being, Muscle MX is here to support your wellness journey.

Sources: Supercritical CO2 extraction, chemical composition, and antioxidant effects of Coreopsis tinctoria Nutt. oleoresin | PMC An introduction to the endogenous cannabinoid system | PMC Pharmacology of cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors | PMC Headaches: Reduce stress to prevent the pain | Mayo Clinic Cannabidiol Acts at 5-HT1A Receptors in the Human Brain: Relevance for Treating Temporal Lobe Epilepsy | Frontiers

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