Does Delta-11 Cause Headaches?

by Kat Austin June 15, 2023 7 min read

Does Delta-11 Cause Headaches? - Vida Optima™

THC is notorious for inducing body euphoria and cerebral stimulation, but some people occasionally complain of negative side effects when using THC products. Most commonly, people report getting a rebound headache from high dose THC, which is directly inverse to the many claims that THC actually helps to soothe uncomfortable headaches.

Of course, with the concerns surrounding high dose THC products, it's totally valid to wonder–Does Delta-11 cause headaches?

After all, Delta-11-THC is known for having psychoactive effects that are up to three times more potent than Delta-9-THC. So, if high doses of THC are responsible for this headache phenomena, Delta-11 would be a prime candidate.

Fortunately, Delta-11 can be used successfully without adverse effects. Some people who are sensitive to THC may still experience mild side effects like headaches, paranoia, or anxiety from any type of THC product. Really, though, it's all in the dosing. If you want to know how to avoid any potential Delta-11 headaches or other side effects, here's what you need to know:

Table of Contents
What is Delta-11?
Using Delta-11-THC for Headaches
Are Headaches a Side Effect of Delta-11-THC?
What May Cause a Delta-11 Headache?
Can You Avoid Headaches Caused by Delta-11-THC?
A Caution Against Severe Headaches
Conclusion: Can Delta-11 Cause Headaches?

Key Takeaways

  • Headaches are a rare side effect that some people experience when using Delta-11.
  • A headache could be caused by dehydration, poor eating habits, or increased sensitivity to light and sound.
  • A severe headache should be taken seriously, and you should consult your doctor if you experience a migraine or other debilitating headache after using Delta-11.
  • Poor quality formulas can also cause a headache, so you should be careful to buy only high-quality, lab tested Delta-11-THC.

What is Delta-11-THC?

A bottle of Delta-11 tincture oil positioned near raw hemp material, the natural source of hemp-derived THC products.

Delta-11-THC is a hemp isomer that has potent psychoactive effects that are thought to be nearly three times stronger than traditional THC products. It is made similarly to other hemp THC products via an isomerization process that starts with natural CBD extract.

Because it's derived from hemp and contains less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC, it falls under the umbrella of federally legal hemp products. (Be sure to check out “Where is Delta-11 Legal?” to learn more about state hemp laws.)

Delta-11 can be naturally found in hemp, but it's usually only found in low concentrations. This is why it needs to be synthesized from CBD in order to make Delta-11 extract in usable amounts. Synthesized Delta-11 and naturally sourced Delta-11 are identical, and Delta-11 is not anything like the dangerous synthetic cannabinoids found on the street market.

We don't know much about Delta-11 or its potential to help or harm headaches. Instead, we have to rely on what we know about its molecular structure compared to other, more common THC products, as well as anecdotal reports. So, we derive what we know about Delta-11's effects from what we know about other similar cannabinoids, like Delta-8 or THC-O.

Using Delta-11-THC for Headaches

Before we can address whether Delta-11 causes headaches, we want to touch on why this is such a surprising potential side effect. Although the therapeutic benefits of hemp THC are still being researched, many people claim that pain relief, including from headaches, is a primary benefit. This is true for Delta-8, at least, which is the most well-researched and wide-spread hemp-THC to date.

Delta-11 is much more potent than Delta-8, so if it does help with headaches, it may do so at much smaller doses. Research on Delta-11 is limited, but we do know that THC isomers derived from hemp have been successfully used in animal trials for managing pain.

In one 2018 animal study, Delta-8-THC’s interaction with the CB1 receptor (the central nervous system portion of the Endocannabinoid System) enabled it to mediate pain and inflammation. In fact, Delta-8 was noted to be significantly effective in managing pain and inflammation due to corneal injuries. The authors concluded that Delta-8 has promising pain-relieving effects that may translate to human studies, but more research is needed.

The National Cancer Institute also recognizes Delta-8-THC as an “analogue of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties," which implies their acknowledgement of Delta-8's pain-relieving effects.

Unfortunately, much less is known about Delta-11's ability to manage pain, especially in the case of headaches. For now, many experts assume that the effects would be similar because Delta-8 and Delta-11 have similar reactions in the body.

Are Headaches a Side Effect of Delta-11-THC?

Due to a gap in current research, we haven't really pinned down every single side effect of Delta-11-THC or the likelihood of their occurrence. Still, we know from anecdotal reports that Delta-11 may, in fact, cause headaches for some people.

It's not a wild accusation since Delta-9 may also cause mild side effects for some people, like headaches, nausea, or anxiety. Delta-11 is much more potent, so it is definitely possible that side effects may occur, and especially when Delta-11 is used in larger doses. Still, this side effect is rare, and most people tolerate Delta-11 well when dosed responsibly.

Let's discuss some other possible reasons that headaches may occur after using THC products.

A man sits outdoors holding his head in his hands to soothe a headache

What May Cause Delta-11 Headaches?

So, why could Delta-11-THC possibly cause headaches? It varies from person to person, but here are some possible reasons:


Have you ever noticed that THC makes you thirsty? This phenomenon is jokingly referred to as "cotton mouth," but it's a very real side effect of THC use. It happens because THC increases the metabolism and the rate at which your body uses water, so you feel thirsty to signal you to drink more.

If you don't increase your water intake, or if you were already dehydrated to begin with, it's possible that any THC could cause dehydration that causes a headache. It's important to stay hydrated all the time (even when not using THC products), which may help you avoid this side effect.


As you may know, THC increases your metabolism. Not eating enough can definitely cause a headache, and these effects can be sped up when your metabolism is increased. If you haven't eaten enough prior to taking Delta-11-THC, it can definitely cause a headache.

Increased sensitivity

Delta-11's psychoactivity is much more potent than Delta-9's, but it still has similar characteristics. For most people, a THC-induced high causes increased sensitivity to light and sounds, which is why certain atmospheres can harbor a euphoric experience.

This increased sensitivity could cause a headache, especially in people who are already sensitive to light or sound. If you have impaired eyesight, it's especially important that you wear your glasses or contacts while using Delta-11 so that you aren't straining your eyes, which can definitely be a recipe for a headache.


The most common side effects associated with THC use is increased anxiety, and this is even more common at high doses or when using highly potent THC formulas, like delta-11. In some cases, anxiety manifests in physical ways, like an increased heart rate or a headache. If you notice a bit of anxiety alongside your headache, this may be the case.

Poor Quality Products

Hemp industry regulations are still pretty scattered, and while some states do have a more strenuous quality assurance program, others do not. It’s incredibly important that you buy Delta-11 from a trustworthy source.

Delta-11 products that are cut with synthetic cannabinoids are not only illegal, but they can be dangerous. Other ingredients, like various fillers and artificial flavors used to make cheap versions of Delta-11 products, may also cause a headache or other unwanted side effects.

Other Causes

We don't know everything there is to know about the Endocannabinoid System, but we do know that it is incredibly complex. Its primary purpose is to maintain homeostasis, or a state of balance within the body. We know that Delta-11 binds with Endocannabinoid receptors in the brain and Central Nervous System. It's possible in some cases where the Endocannabinoid System is already in perfect balance that using cannabinoids can cause overregulation, which could result in mild side effects like a headache.

Using Delta-11-THC Responsibly: How to Avoid Headaches Caused by Delta-11

If Delta-11 does cause headaches, can you avoid them?

We'd first like to point out that headaches are not a common side effect of Delta-11-THC, and most people can use Delta-11 without any adverse effects at all. Still, if you do find yourself developing a headache after using Delta-11, there may be some steps you can take to prevent it from happening. If you want to give Delta-11 another go, implement these tips:

  • Make sure that you are properly hydrated before using Delta-11
  • Drink plenty of water after taking Delta-11, too.
  • Make sure you've gotten plenty of sleep and aren't overly tired
  • Reduce environmental stimulation, like bright lights or loud noises.
  • Wear your glasses or contacts, if applicable.
  • Make sure you've eaten a nutritious meal or snack before (or soon after) consuming Delta-11
  • Pay very close attention to the composition of your Delta-11 products and your overall dosage. Read "How Much Delta-11 Should I Take?" To learn more.

A Caution Against Severe Headaches

While most of the side effects reported after Delta-11-THC use are mild, you should definitely take side effects seriously. If you experience a severe headache after using Delta-11-THC, like a migraine, or a headache that is debilitating, stop using Delta-11 immediately and talk to your doctor.

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Often, a severe headache like this is not caused by Delta-11, but could be caused by an underlying issue. If you haven't already gotten a diagnosis for your severe headaches, it's important to get checked out to rule out any serious problems. If you want to try Delta-11 again in the future, get approval from your doctor first, and follow the steps we laid out above.

Conclusion: Can Delta-11 Cause a Headache?

While it's possible for Delta-11 to cause a headache, it's not a common side effect. Most people use Delta-11-THC, at small to moderate doses, with no adverse reactions at all. Staying hydrated, eating well, and avoiding overstimulation can help prevent a headache from happening. If you're worried about Delta-11-THC side effects, we suggest starting with small doses or learning how to microdose hemp THC products.

To find high-quality hemp THC products, check out ourElev8 Collection. You'll find hemp-derived THC edibles, tinctures, flower, and more that fit all potency and dosage needs.


  1. “The Cannabinoids Δ8THC, CBD, and HU-308 Act via Distinct Receptors to Reduce Corneal Pain and Inflammation”
  2. “NCI Thesaurus: Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol”

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