Excedrin migraine vs CBD oil for migraines

Ever since I began the Migraine Professional community I’ve been inundated with migraine and headache sufferers of all kinds asking about cbd and cannabis oil.

In this article I’m going to compare excedrin migraine which is one of the most commonly used medications for migraine with CBD oil and see what the research has to say.

I’m going to lay out some information on both, answer some questions and then talk about what this all means.

What is Excedrin migraine?

Excedrin migraine is one of the most common over the counter acute migraine relief medications taken in caplet form.

The excedrin website states:

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil(called cannabidiol) is one of the newer kids on the block because of the legalisation of cannabis that is coming around to a country near you.

CBD oil is an extract that comes from cannabis, with only very small amounts of the active ingredient(THC) that gets people high. Many CBD oils are made from hemp which doesn’t have any psychoactive effect.

Even though there is little to no THC in CBD oil, some very sensitive people do still feel the effects of the minute particles of THC and which is enhanced by CBD’s natural calming effect.

But CBD oil and cannabis have been used for thousands of years for all different kinds of aches, pains and ailments.

They are nothing new to our bodies and we have a massive system called the endocannabinoid system which functions off of cannabinoids.

The endocannabinoid system is responsible for a huge number of physiological and cognitive functions including but not limited to:

– Fertility

– Pregnancy

– Pre and postnatal development

– Appetite

– Pain-sensation

– Mood

– Memory

According to migraine key, “An Italian study published in 2008 found that chronic migraineurs had an endocannabinoid system that only functioned at 50 percent compared to that of healthy people (study).”

Because of the vast range of influence of the endocannabinoid system and CBD’s effect on it, the range of application is huge.

CBD oil can be taken through:

  • Tinctures

  • Concentrates

  • Capsules

  • Topicals

  • Sprays

  • Vapes

CBD can be taken by:

– Inhaling

– Orally

– Sublingually

– Topically

A patient survey done by care by design shows CBD rich cannabis’ effect on pain/discomfort of various condition below:

Ingredients/What is in excedrin migraine?

The active ingredients in excedrin migraine are:

  • Acetaminophen 250 mg

  • Aspirin 250 mg – Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID)

  • Caffeine 65 mg

  • The active ingredients can be different in countries other than the US

Common question: How much caffeine is in excedrin?

Excedrin migraine contains 65 mg of caffeine which is a little less than one cup of coffee which has 94.8mg.

Ingredients/What is in CBD oil?

There are many different kinds of CBD oil, hemp oil and cannabis oil that all have different things they work well for.

What you are looking for is a full spectrum extraction and a good CBD:THC ratio.

A full spectrum extraction has more than just CBD in the oil and takes advantage of the “entourage effect” that all the different nutrients in hemp have to offer making CBD more powerful.

Its similar to eating vitamin C from a plant cell as opposed to vitamin C from an isolated supplement.

The vitamin C from the plant cell comes in a nutrient complex and this delivers thousands of other nutrients with it that make the vitamin C absorb and work even better.

Nature makes it right and our body loves the way nature does it.

For more information on the different types of cbd oil and what’s in them see thisarticle.

How easy is it to get an excedrin overdose?

The amount that it would take for you to overdose on excedrin is dependant on your own physiology.

The stated recommendations say:

How often can you take excedrin?

Recommendation is to not use more than directed which is 2 caplets with a glass of water.

Dosage is stated at a maximum of 1-2 caplets per 24 hours but I personally know many migraine sufferers who start popping them like candy during incredibly painful attacks and this can create liver toxicity and accidental overdose so it is not advised.

According to everyday health:

  • Research has shown that painkiller overdoses send tens of thousands of people to the emergency room each year, and a study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine in 2011 found that accidental overdoses of products containing acetaminophen (such as Excedrin) accounted for roughly 78,400 ER visits per year.

An overdose may cause a series of symptoms including:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Bleeding

  • Bruising

  • Tiredness

  • Stomach pain

  • Burning pain in the throat

  • Dizziness

  • Confusion

  • Fainting

How easy is it to overdose on CBD oil?

Naturally extracted CBD oil is not something that is connected with any overdoses.

That said, synthetic cannabinoids can cause adverse reactions so make sure that you are sourcing your CBD from a reputable company.

Is Excedrin and alcohol dangerous?

Yes, do not mix excedrin migraine and alcohol.

See this drug interactions checker for possible consequences of mixing the two.

Click here for drug interactions between alcohol and excedrin

Alcohol may increase some of the effects of cannabis but not much is said about its interaction with CBD’s effects.

What can excedrin migraine and CBD oil be used for?

According to the ministry of hemp “People are using CBD oil to ease their chronic pain, and relieve symptoms of conditions ranging from arthritis to depression. Unlike its close cousin, psychoactive cannabis (‘marijuana’), CBD oil won’t make you feel high — but many users report significant relief of their symptoms.”

CBD oil is used for a massive range of symptoms and illnesses thats list is growing every day based on recent studies being done.

Some of its benefits that make it so great for a range of uses are:

– Anxiety relief

– Anti seizure

– Pain relief

– Neuroprotectivity

– Anti acne and even cancer treatment

According to webmd’s description of excedrin migraine, “This product is a combination of aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine. It is used for the temporary relief of pain from conditions such as muscle aches, toothaches, menstrual cramps, or headaches (including migraine). Aspirin and acetaminophen relieve pain by keeping your body from making certain natural substances.”

For tension headache sufferers there is a medication called ‘excedrin tension headache.’

Side Effects

Excedrin side effects:

– Common

  • Heartburn

  • Stomach ache

  • Nausea

  • Headache

  • Feeling jittery

Contact your doctor if you experience:

  • Rash or hives

  • Trouble breathing or wheezing

  • Persistent stomach pain

  • Bloody or black stools

  • Unusual bleeding

  • Vomiting

  • Ringing in your ears

  • Swelling of the face, eyes, lips, tongue, or throat

Excedrin migraine is prone to causing medication overuse headaches(MOH) and needs to be taken with caution as you can end up in a rebound cycle worse than your regular pains.

Here is what one review on amazon had to say:

CBD oil side effects:

  • depression

  • dizziness

  • hallucinations

  • low blood pressure

  • withdrawal symptoms such as irritability and insomnia

That said, CBD oil doesn’t appear to have any major risks for users.

Can you take excedrin while pregnant/during pregnancy and while breastfeeding?

One of the active ingredients in excedrin migraine is aspirin which is a type of salicylate medication. Babies should never be exposed to salicylates.

During the first two trimesters of pregnancy there may be some exceptions which should be discussed with your doctor.

In terms of using CBD during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, there is not enough information to make an informed decision and it should be discussed with your doctor.

That said studies done on cannabis and pregnancy are not conclusive either but it does show that small amounts are not particularly harmful.

Again, everything depends on your own physiology and everyone is different.

Is excedrin a blood thinner?

Yes because excedrin migraine contains aspirin it is a blood thinner.

CBD may interact with blood thinning medications so it should be consulted with your doctor before use.


Excedrin migraine is legal in most places(with differences in ingredients depending on the location) and if it’s not available somewhere it’s fairly simple to get acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine and take them together to create a similar product.

CBD oil, because of its connection to cannabis has some illegality issues even if hemp might be legal.

Concentrated extractions of CBD that come from marijuana or hemp high in THC is illegal but CBD coming from low THC plants is legal.

What does this all mean for the average migraine sufferer?

First see this infographic:

Overall, CBD does incredibly well but I am biased because I’ve seen natural treatments work so much better and give migraine sufferers a much better long term outcome.

That said, CBD oil is more expensive because of the extraction process but may be starting to get covered by some insurance companies because of legalization.

My overall pick here is definitely CBD because of its amazing effect on supporting the endocannabinoid system and actually providing nutrients along with all of its benefits which can help our brains deal with all the stresses that cause migraines in the first place.

For more information on CBD for migraines see the video below:

As opposed to the excedrin migraine which has liver toxicity, drains the bodies resources with the caffeine, depletes the body’s main antioxidant glutathione and doesn’t provide nutrients to help offset the damage.

I asked the Migraine Professional Community about their opinion on excedrin migraine here and I encourage you to take a look at what everyone’s individual experience with it has to say.

It’s important to remember that even though we are talking about relieving migraines in this article that dealing with the root cause has given more long term relief to migraine sufferers than taking an extra “add-on” ever will.

To look at the deep root causes like breathing patterns, hormones, food intolerances, environmental toxins, mental and emotional trauma and stress as well as everything that goes into dealing with the causes of migraines holistically, try the 10 steps program.

Sharing is caring!

The FREE 5 Most Common Mistakes Of Hormonal Migraines E-Guide teaches you:

– Why hormones are the most important focus around why your migraines and headaches keep triggering

– How PMS is common but NOT normal and why it needs to be addressed to be pain free in the long term

– The 5 most common mistakes why hormones stay broken, why so many women become migraine free with pregnancy and why birth control is not a solution