After a hectic day, we all want to hug our bed, stretch out our legs after toiling at work, and just get lost in the euphoria of sleep.
Unfortunately, not everyone can do so easily. In the US, an estimated population suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome is around 7 to 10% (including children).
In other words, 5 to 10% of the adult population is a victim of this condition.
Now, you must wonder what does it have to do with sleep? Well, RLS condition causes immense shooting pains and tugging-like feeling whenever the affected tries to relax and sleep.
Although this is a fairly common disease, there are no effective treatments available for this condition.
However, an overwhelming number of patients using CBD oil for whatever reason claim relief in the RLS symptoms.
Thus, we embarked on doing extensive research on the relation between CBD and RLS and how the former can be a potential cure for the later.
Overview of CBD Oil For RLS
RLS is not damaging to the body. However, it can be excruciating for some. Unlike many drugs, CBD oil is natural and safe for consumption.
Studies show that CBD oil is ideal for treating chronic pain. It relaxes nerves and muscles, providing calming effects.
Moreover, CBD oil also works to improve the quality of sleep and reduces RLS-induced anxiety in patients. Although there is a need for direct research into the effects of CBD on RLS patients, these studies prove how CBD works indirectly to reduce RLS symptoms.
What is RLS?
Acronymous for Restless Leg Syndrome, it is medically known as Willis-Ekbom Disease.
RLS is a widespread condition with millions of people diagnosed every year. It is a gender-neutral and age-neutral disease; thus, it can manifest itself into children as well as adults.
However, RLS tends to be most common among women who have not been pregnant and increases with age.
The condition pertains to an uncontrollable and involuntary urge to shake legs, precisely when one tries to sleep at night.
It may lead to a tingling sensation, burning in the legs, and also Charley horse-type pains.
Consequently, this disorder promotes restlessness and fatigue during day time and insomnia.
As of now, there are no causes known for this disorder. Nevertheless, certain compulsive habits may give way for the worsening of this condition.
Such habits entail excessive caffeine intake, smoking, and consumption of alcohol. Hence, when one reduces the absorption of these three components, the symptoms start to lessen to a great extent.
Being mindful about specific habits goes a long way to reduce RLS symptoms.
But, this just won’t be enough on its own. So, a little help from CBD oil won’t hurt, right?
Is CBD Oil Ideal For Treating RLS Condition?
Anecdotally, CBD is a potential cure for RLS and other symptoms rooting from it. The cannabis plant is known as medical marijuana for its therapeutic properties. Among various components, the key ingredients are CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
While THC is psychoactive, which gives the ‘high’ feeling of marijuana, CBD alone does not offer such effects. Hence, it is a natural and safe compound to use for various health conditions.
Over the years, many patients of RLS have come forward with the stories of how consuming cannabis or CBD products have helped them overcome sleep challenges and other problems resulting from restless leg syndrome.
To aid the claim, a study performed in 2017 in France on six patients of RLS talks about how specific doses of cannabis helped with the RLS symptoms.
Out of the six, five patients reported significant relief from the pain and other signs of RLS. And all six patients reported improved quality of sleep after consuming CBD.
Thus, CBD emerged as a prominent reason for the relief patients experienced with cannabis.
CBD synergistically works with other cannabis compounds to impart therapeutic effects for numerous ailments.
Despite the fact more studies and reports are needed on how CBD is a potent treatment for RLS, it is nevertheless, a viable option to try since it is natural and practical.
In the pre-CBD era, the only effective treatments for RLS were massage, pharmaceutical drugs and products, hot baths, cold/warm compresses wrapped around the leg, and exercise focusing on leg muscles.
Although they did work most of the time, these treatments gave little to no satisfaction to the patients persistently suffering from the shooting pains.
Hence, the need for better alternatives gave way for the use of CBD oil. A study published in the Journal of Sleep Disorders & Therapy further explores the abilities of the cannabis plant as the pain relief and sleep-promoting element.
Researchers also suggest in the study that CBD can possibly help with the pathologies of the likes of RLS, sleep apnea, etc. which promote sleep disturbance. They also mentioned the need for further research in this area.
Nevertheless, directly or not, there are other reports that back the claims of CBD having analgesic, relaxing, and soothing effects – all factors that promote sound sleep and help tackle anxiety.
Moreover, this report states how CBD is effective in treating chronic pain and promotes improvement in sleep. Additionally, further studies acclaim that CBD acts as a neuroprotective element protecting nerve cells from all kinds of damage.
It is worth mentioning that cannabis Indica associates more with relaxation and a higher level of CBD in comparison to cannabis Sativa strain. Thus, Indica boosts energy and may also impart sedative effects.
How Does CBD Oil Works To Cure RLS?
The overall movement of the legs can characterize the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome. These symptoms entail crawling, itching, and machine sensations in the limbs. They tend to heighten at night while sleeping.
Thus, it is evident that sleep plays a pivotal role in reducing the symptoms of RLS.
To that end, CBD is beneficial for patients who have RLS-induced insomnia. In this condition, the levels of the stress hormone, Cortisol, increase at night instead of the morning (which is usually the case). Thus, increased levels of cortisol lead to irregular sleep.
In a study exploring the effects of CBD, researchers found the levels of cortisol significantly decrease after administering a dose of 300 or 600 mg of CBD oil.
In the same paper, it was mentioned that CBD oil helped 103 patients of anxiety and insomnia to a great extent. So, the dose of 25mg worked effectively in addressing the issue.
Because CBD is known for its calming effects, it also helps in calming the nerves and muscles of the legs and relieves the patients from the tingling and painful sensations caused by the RLS condition.
Moreover, CBD has emerged as a potential cure for other sleep-related problems such as Parkinson’s disease. It might be the result of the interaction between cannabinoids and other active chemicals in cannabis with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The primary function of ECS is to maintain and control the homeostasis and equilibrium of the body so that it can adapt to the internal changes.
It includes communication between enzymes, neurotransmitters, and cannabinoid receptors. It is something affecting the mood of a person, appetite, immunity, and even the sensitivity to pain.
According to this study, when CBD enters the body, it activates the receptors influencing the sensation of pain, inflammation, and sleep pattern and quality. It all adds up to relief in the RLS symptoms for the patients.
Because of all the goodness packed in CBD oil, there are many benefits it offers besides helping with RLS conditions.
- In the states where CBD is legal, users can get access to it easily without a prescription.
- According to the WHO report, CBD oil is safe for human consumption and has a remarkable safety profile.
- As per this study, CBD has properties such as anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxant, improved sleep, along with more therapeutic benefits, which help in the treatment of RLS.
- CBD can also aid you with additional conditions, namely, anxiety, chronic pain, social anxiety, arrhythmia, and asthma.
- Going by the report from WHO, CBD solely cannot render significant psychoactive other effects.
- The Food and Drug Administration of the USA has also recognized the benefits of CBD and other cannabis elements.
- Consumption of cannabis or CBD oil is legal in many states across the US and other countries.
- There is a lack of regulations on CBD. It means this fact can lead to inappropriate labeling of the CBD products in the market.
- Although CBD is generally safe, depending on each individual and other factors, consumption of CBD may cause mild side-effects like drowsiness, mouth dryness, dizziness, and fatigue.
- In rare cases, an overdose of CBD may lead to problems like diarrhea, which users recover from in a day or two.
- There is a possibility of CBD Oil reacting with your other ongoing medications. For instance, drugs containing grapefruit extract may interact with CBD and cause effects on the body. It is because both grapefruit and CBD have furanocoumarin compounds, and its overdose can cause adverse effects on the body.
- It requires more research and studies to determine the ideal dosage of CBD oil for treating RLS
CBD Oil Vs. Alternative RLS Cures
From what we discussed so far, problems with sleep are the prominent or rather extended issue occurring because of Restless Leg Syndrome.
In which case, most of the medications for RLS aim towards reducing the urge towards things that hamper sleep, such as caffeine, nicotine, stress-induced insomnia, and constant leg movement.
A report published on the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews also mentions the iron deficiency in the patients of RLS. Intake of the proper supplements will help reduce the deficiency.
The supplements can be oral or intravenous, although oral supplements have their side-effects like nausea, stomach pain, and constipation.
On the other hand, intravenous supplements offer a significant improvement in 76% of the patients. Another alternative medication to treat RLS is magnesium supplements. This treatment is generally recommended for leg cramps.
Magnesium offers many muscle relaxant properties. It soothes nerve endings that can help improve the RLS symptoms, such as chronic pain. Patients can also apply magnesium products such as salves on to the skin to the affected area.
Doctors also prescribe pharmaceutical drugs such as Dopamine (dopaminergic drugs) to moderate extreme symptoms of RLS. What this drug does is that it increases the dopamine levels in the brain (a hormone controlling body movements).
Unfortunately, prolonged use of this drug leads to RLS augmentation. It is a condition where the RLS occurs even in the daytime.
Another drug used for RLS treatment is the Alpha-2-delta ligands (α2δ). It is an anti-seizure medicine preventing augmentation from dopaminergic medication. Nevertheless, this drug is also not free from side-effects. Long-term use of this drug leads to symptoms like dizziness, weight gain, and so on.
Benzodiazepine is yet another medicine that physicians prescribe to the patients of RLS. It is for patients with problems of the likes of anxiety and insomnia. It solely aims to improve sleep and does not work for other RLS symptoms.
Hence, unlike pharmaceutical drugs leading to various side effects, CBD oil is a natural and safe option.
Select The Ideal CBD Oil For RLS
Three types of CBD oils exist in the market. Each has its properties, capabilities, and uses. Let’s start.
Full-spectrum CBD oil
Full-spectrum CBD products are ripe with all the compounds found in the cannabis plant, including terpenes, CBD, and THC. It also includes cannabinoids fatty acids and essential oils.
Terpenes are a natural aromatic oil of the cannabis plant, which increases the overall effectiveness of cannabis products. This type of product also contains the concentration of a chemical substance (THC) responsible for the infamous sedative effects of the cannabis plant.
Broad-spectrum CBD Oil
This type of CBD oil is almost the same as full-spectrum; only there is no THC present in the composition. Broad-spectrum CBD oil is a preference of users who want all the benefits of cannabis compounds but do not want to experience the “high” sensation offered by THC compounds.
For people looking for the purest CBD products, this is it. Like Broad-spectrum CBD products, CBD Isolates do not possess THC or any other compound of cannabis. Hence, it is CBD in the purest form. It contains 99 percent of the CBD compound.
It is a safer alternative to pharmaceutical drugs for RLS patients.
CBD Oil Dosage For Treating RLS
Due to the lack of explicit research and studies on the potential of CBD oil for treating RLS, the effective dose is also not known.
In a study published on Harvard Health Publishing, experts and researchers talk about the lack of direct research on CBD concerning RLS. It ripples down to the lack of knowledge into the area of the ideal dosage.
Nevertheless, the table given below will show where you can begin. You can start with the minimum dosage as per the table and try different amounts until you find the suitable one.
Less than 130 lbs
Less than or equal to 11 mg
12 mg – 14 mg
15 mg – 17 mg
130 to 230 lbs
Less than or equal to 18mg
19 mg – 23 mg
24 mg – 27 mg
More than 230 lbs
Less than or equal to 23 mg
24 mg – 30 mg
31 mg – 45 mg
Note: If you are already consuming medication for other conditions, make sure to consult your physician to avoid adverse reactions between CBD and other drugs.
How To Administer CBD Oil For RLS?
Because of a wide variety of CBD products such as CBD oils, edibles, chocolates, tincture, salves, cream, lotion, etc., there are numerous ways to consume CBD.
The decision primarily depends on some factors, i.e., symptoms and the affected body part.
One of the most popular and common ways to administer CBD is sublingual. This method contains taking products such as CBD oil and tincture by putting it under your tongue area. It expedites the effects of the product.
Other CBD products are also useful when mixed with food and drinks. CBD products can be odorless, tasteless, or even be flavourful depending on the type of product.
Another method to take CBD for RLS is topicals containing products like creams, lotions, salves, and balms. They are applied to the affected area to get them absorbed into the skin.
Vaping is yet another method for consuming CBD, which imparts lasting effects.
RLS is a condition that can last up to years. Although there is a lack of studies directly exploring the potential of CBD in curing RLS, some reports have established its therapeutic properties.
Clinical trials are proof that CBD products provide relief from RLS symptoms such as sleeplessness and chronic pain. Besides RLS, CBD oil is an excellent antidote to other problems as well.
Nevertheless, the effectiveness of CBD oil in treating RLS also depends on the individuals.
Unlike other pharma drugs, CBD oil is purely natural and side-effects free. It is safe to use CBD products for long-term use.