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Can CBD cause headaches? How can you avoid it?

CBD oil has gained monumental popularity in recent times, and it seems that everyone is talking about the many potential benefits associated with the substance. However, you may be wondering if there are potential side effects? For instance, can CBD cause headaches?

The short answer is yes, CBD could potentially cause headaches, but it is highly unlikely. Everybody is different, and CBD, like many other substances, will have different effects for each of us. Therefore, you may experience some benefits that other users may not.

Equally, you may also experience some side effects. Some mild side effects have been reported by users, but it is not common and none of the side effects are severe.

Some of the most commonly reported side effects of CBD oil are:

  • Dry mouth
  • Upset stomach
  • Dizziness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Drowsiness

But, can CBD cause headaches? We say that CBD could potentially cause headaches because everyone will react differently to the substance. However, headaches or migraines are not among the most commonly reported side effects, but it’s not completely unheard of.

Anecdotal evidence

Some users have reported the occurrence of headaches whilst using CBD oil, but it is extremely difficult to conclusively say that the CBD oil was the source of the headache. Headache symptoms can be caused by dehydration, eye strain, certain foods, stress, poor diet, and alcohol consumption. But can CBD cause headaches directly? Yes, it is possible that headache symptoms could be caused by taking an incorrect dosage of CBD oil, or by using a low-quality product.

So according to anecdotal evidence, can CBD oil cause headaches? Yes, but it is unlikely. There is ample anecdotal evidence to support the potential benefits associated with CBD, as well as some reports of mild side effects, including the aforementioned symptoms. However, if headaches or migraine-like symptoms were a common side effect of using CBD products, there would be more individual reports from users.

Can CBD cause headaches: what do clinical studies say?

As the investigative studies on CBD have only begun in recent years, there is a lot for us to learn about the potential uses and potential side effects of the compound. A 2017 study on the safety and effects of CBD oil noted some mild side effects experienced by the participants. Some of the most commonly reported side effects include:

  • Appetite changes
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Weight gain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Hypertension
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However, this particular study does not note that participants experienced headaches as a side effect of taking CBD oil. According to this study, one can conclude that headaches are not a common side effect of using CBD products.

Another 2017 study monitored 105 participants that suffer from chronic migraines and cluster headaches both before and after using CBD oil. The majority of the participants experienced on average 15 to 29 headaches during a 30-day period, with 15 reporting experiencing daily headaches, at the beginning of the trial. After the 30-day trial period, only 10 of the participants reported experiencing daily headaches, and other participants reporting 3.8 fewer headache days, having tried CBD oils.

While the significant 33% reduction in headaches experienced by participants may suggest that CBD oils are more likely to offer relief from headache symptoms rather than cause them, more research is needed.

Can CBD cause headaches in some instances?

As aforementioned, it’s not completely unheard of that users report experiencing headaches as a result of taking CBD products. Many of these cases have been linked to incorrect dosage, or to a particular CBD product.

Taking incorrect dosage

CBD, like other substances, can have positive and negative effects depending on how your body reacts to the substance. The effects that you experience can vary and depend on the amount of CBD that you’re taking. For example, can CBD edibles cause headaches? Yes, if you’re over-consuming CBD products like edibles, you may experience headaches or drowsiness, among other unwanted effects.

To avoid headaches and other unwanted side effects, we recommend taking particular care when finding your ideal dosage. This will take careful consideration, and it may take time.

When starting your CBD journey, we recommend starting on a lower dosage than you think you’ll need. Easing yourself into it will give your body a chance to get used to the substance, and it will give you a chance to monitor how your body reacts. After a week or so, you can increase your dosage slightly. You can continue to do this over a number of weeks until you experience the desired results.

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By increasing your dosage gradually over a period of time, you can avoid overdosing and therefore potentially avoiding unwanted effects like headache symptoms or drowsiness.

Can CBD cause headaches as it interacts with other medications? We also know that CBD interferes with some prescription medications, making them less effective. It is also possible that CBD may interact with medications and influence the side effects experienced as a result. If you are thinking about taking CBD, but you are on prescription medications, please consult your doctor.

Finding the right dosage can be tricky, and it will vary depending on your body type, metabolism, how often you take CBD, the method that you're using to take CBD, and the desired results. Your GP can offer more precise information on the right dosage for you, based on your individual needs.

Learn more about CBD Oil Dosage.

Poor quality CBD oil

Up until recently, the CBD market was highly unregulated, and many manufacturers took advantage of this. Unfortunately, this meant that many manufacturers were producing low-quality products with chemicals, and incorrect measurements of CBD.

Many of these products do not contain authentic CBD oil as advertised, and contain a range of chemicals instead. Can hemp oil cause headaches? If the product is low-quality and packed with chemicals, it may cause headaches. In contrast, premium quality CBD products are thoroughly tested to ensure safety and quality, and therefore should not cause headaches.

As the CBD industry grows, a regulatory framework is being introduced to protect consumers and to ensure the safety of CBD products. Since March 2021, every CBD product needs to have a corresponding Novel Foods Applications (validated or submitted) to be legally sold in the UK. This framework aims to regulate CBD products to make sure that they contain the correct CBD concentrations and that they’re safe for consumption.

Before purchasing CBD products, we recommend reviewing the Certificate of Analysis (COA) for the particular product. This certificate is provided by third-party lab testing facilities when they test the product. These facilities are independent and therefore provide an unbiased, detailed report of the contents of the product. This report will show the precise amount of CBD and other cannabinoids in the product.

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When choosing a CBD brand, you should always opt for a brand that readily provides COAs for its products. This means that they’re transparent, and they stand by the quality of their products. Opting for thoroughly tested, premium quality products reduces the risk of the product causes unwanted side effects, like headaches.


Some of us are sensitive to certain substances, and we may experience adverse or allergic reactions, for example. CBD is no exception to this. So, can CBD cause headaches if we are sensitive or allergic to the substance? To date, experts investigating CBD haven’t found a link between CBD and allergic reactions, but it cannot be completely ruled out.

Investigative studies into the potential uses and effects of CBD have only been conducted in recent years. Therefore, more in-depth research will be needed before we can rule out the possibility of sensitivities or allergic reactions to CBD.

In conclusion

So, can CBD cause headaches? Yes, it is possible that CBD can cause headaches, but it is uncommon. As we know, CBD can have many potentially beneficial effects, but users may also experience some mild side effects, particularly when starting out on their CBD journey.

However, the most commonly reported side effects among users do not include headaches. A 2017 clinical study seems to support this, as participants reported other common side effects, but did not experience headaches.

Although it is not common that users report headaches caused by CBD products, it is not completely unheard-of. It is possible that incorrect dosages, poor quality products or sensitivity to CBD can cause headaches symptoms in users. Therefore, it is recommended that you choose premium quality CBD products from reputable brands to ensure the products are safe for consumption.

Can CBD cause bad headaches? More in-depth clinical research is needed before we can conclusively determine whether CBD causes headaches. However, if severe headaches were a common side effect of CBD usage, there would be more individual reports to support this.

If you experience headaches after taking CBD products, you may need to adjust your dosage, reassess the quality of the product you’re taking, or consult your doctor.

Read our in-depth investigation into the potential benefits of CBD vs the potential side effects.

You may also like to read: The Best CBD Oil for Migraines

Breffni O'Brien

Breffni is a chef-turned-content creator. When she's not collecting houseplants or old books, Breffni can be found writing for her sustainable living blog or knitting. She is also fond of olives, interior design, and exploring the great outdoors.

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