cbd oil for leg cramps

CBD for Muscle spasms

Muscle spasm is an unintentional contraction of muscles. Do cannabis cannabinoids help in providing relief or solutions? Let us discuss this in this article.

Thighs, calves, foot arches, hands, arms, neck, shoulder blades, and rib cage are the most common areas affected by muscle spasms. These contractions could be sensed in an individual muscle, entire muscle group, or selected muscle fibers.

Calf cramps are also known as Charley horses. These cramps last for a few seconds to minutes, or continuous but the pain could be debilitating. Some of the other related terms to refer to muscle spasms are muscle twitch, cramps, spasticity, and muscle contractions.

This article intends to discuss the following aspects of muscle spasms and if the applicability of cannabinoid-based treatments could provide relief to affected populations.

Top causes for muscle spasms

  • In most common cases, muscle spasms occur due to relentless exercise and sports.
  • Insufficient stretching, exercising in heated temperatures.
  • Mineral deficiencies including potassium, calcium, and sodium.
  • Pregnancy
  • A recent study1 points out causes such as electrolyte disturbances, neurological disorders in people over the age of 60 years, compression of nerve roots or compressed arterial vessels.
  • Consumption of certain medications such as diuretics for specific conditions including, high blood pressure, kidney failure, heart attack, and strokes could lead to muscle spasms.
  • A 2008 study2 details that disabling symptoms such as muscle stiffness, spasms, muscle cramps, pain, tremor is associated with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) a chronic and disorder of the Central Nervous system. Moreover, of all the symptoms, 90% of MS-affected patients are troubled with muscle spasms and spasticity.

How to treat muscle spasms?

Firstly, analyzing the underlying cause for muscle spasms is crucial. Only then appropriate treatment could be undertaken. We have seen above that muscle spasticity could occur because of two broad reasons. They are:

  1. Exercise-induced
  2. Neurological conditions including MS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis(ALS), and spinal cord injury.

As a result, patients choose to self-medicate with cannabis. Anecdotal evidence suggests that cannabis extracts are beneficial to control MS symptoms that include pain and spasticity.

Role of Cannabis in treating muscle pains

  • A 2012 Study4 reports on results from a UK based randomized trial. Here, adult patients who suffered from muscle spasms, muscle stiffness, and other associated pains typical of MS were studied. They were assigned cannabis extracts ( THC) daily and compared with a placebo for 12 weeks. The trial concluded that cannabis extract could be useful for treating muscle problems typical of MS and provided effective pain relief.
  • A 2019 study5 states that adult patients with MS experienced relief after smoking cannabis.
  • Furthermore, a four-arm cross-sectional study among patients with mixed neurological conditions, including MS and spinal cord injury, were administered THC, CBD, THC: CBD, and placebo. Observations were: (a) significant improvements in spasticity in the THC scale. (b) a reduction in the severity in all three cannabinoid conditions.
  • A noteworthy mention from a review study is that most clinical trials concerning multiple sclerosis and treatments with cannabis have all dealt with whole-plant extractions. The THC: CBD ratio varies according to strains such as 1:1, 2:1, and 3:1.
  • A 2009 study6 stated that combined THC and CBD extracts were generally considered to be well-tolerated. These combined cannabinoid therapies not only provided symptomatic relief but also reduced intoxication and other side effects.
  • To sum up, investigations from several studies unanimously report that cannabis therapy has been effective for treating spasticity, in most cases, symptom reduction in multiple sclerosis (MS).

Best cannabis strain for muscle spasms.

Cannabis breeders combine the best features from Sativa and Indica strains to create a new hybrid that could generate desired results. Hence, the resulting new variety could either be a perfect blend of both parents or a dominant hybrid of Sativa or Indica. ( whichever is the dominant parent)

The effects of the hybrid cannabis strains vary according to the THC: CBD ratio. Hence, they are used for several medicinal and therapeutic purposes to treat symptoms like depression, anxiety, paranoia, chronic pain, etc.

According to a survey from a study, 7 medical cannabis users preferred Indica strain to treat symptoms including neuropathy, spasticity, seizures, insomnia, and joint pain.

Effects of medical marijuana-based strain and route of administration study, 8 demonstrate that symptoms such as nausea and spasm could be affected by various methods of cannabis administration.

For example, Afghan kush, a popular indica strain, is rich in THC and CBD but known for its high CBD content. Their psychoactive properties and their medicinal effects help relieve pain in chronic cases and pain caused by leg cramps.

CBD benefits for muscle spasms

  • A significant reduction in the frequency of spasm was observed in THC and CBD combinations and also while THC alone was administered. But no improvements were observed while on CBD alone, reports a review study.
  • Similar observations are noted from a 2003 mouse model study of multiple sclerosis. THC alone caused a rapid onset of muscle relaxation and pain relief but CBD alone caused no inhibition of spasticity. Hence, THC is the active ingredient in producing anti-spasticity benefits.

Hemppedia compiles a wealth of information about various disease conditions and the applicability of cannabinoids in lifestyle lead disorders. For example, the potential of CBD in supporting combat sports professionals, athletic professionals in managing concussions, neurological complications, musculoskeletal disorders, pain management, and much more is mention-worthy at this juncture.

In each of these disease conditions, the form in which an individual prefers to ingest cannabinoids into their system might vary from person to person. Similarly, every individual may need different dosages and potencies.

Currently available studies provide a little or sparing reference to any specific form of CBD for treating muscle spasms, cramps, or muscle-related pain. Also, most clinical investigations consider the use of THC and CBD or THC alone.

For example, a study 9 informs that several patients reported a decrease in muscle spasms after smoking marijuana.

But this study has inferred results only based on smoking medicinal marijuana.

Contrastingly, findings from a recent study 10 establishes that transdermal application of CBD Oil showed compelling improvements in pain and other disturbing symptoms. But in patients with peripheral neuropathy.

There are marked differences in the nature, causes, and treatment of multiple sclerosis and peripheral neuropathy. But there are several common symptoms in both neurological disorders.

Ultimately, users who are more comfortable with CBD could try full-spectrum CBD oils or balms for transdermal applications to relieve pain from specific points. And combine sublingual administration or CBD capsules for overall pain management and well-being based on individual needs.

CBD patches provide positive effects in decreasing pain-related conditions including, pain caused by inflammation, localized pain, muscle spasms, multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy, lower back pains, injury, etc.

What are the side effects of using cannabis products?

Generally, we are aware that the use of psychoactive cannabinoids especially THC for managing anxiety, stress, pain could lead to certain side effects. These could be mild to severe depending on the condition, dosage, and several other factors.

Can CBD Help Treat Spasms & Leg Cramps?

After a long and tumultuous day at work, you crash out on your bed, only to wake up with a cramped leg in the middle of the night. It very well may be a small issue, but if you’re not cautious enough, it might prompt mishaps as your capacity to stand is enormously compromised.

A sudden uncontrollable contraction or tightness of muscles, normally known as muscle fit or spasm, is the immediate cause of cramps. It’s agonizing and may keep going for quite a long time. It mostly happens due to long hours of muscle inactivity or too much muscle strain, inadequate stretching before physical activity, strenuous exercise in hot weather, dehydration, and salt imbalance. Sometimes, one may get cramps for no apparent reason.

Prescription drugs are mostly ineffective, and there are no recommended medicines to cure cramps. However, doctors often prescribe muscle relaxants, calcium channel blockers, and pain relievers – each with their share of mild to severe side effects and addiction. Although not problematic in most cases, chronic and acute cramps can significantly reduce quality of life.

Cannabidiol (CBD), which is derived from the hemp plants, a near relative of marijuana, offers relief from spasm with no severe symptoms. As a member of a group of chemicals, known as cannabinoids, CBD is typically found in cannabis plants. Hence, it’s termed phytocannabinoid [‘Phyto’: plant].

How CBD May Help Reduce Spasm and Cramps

Before going into the inner workings of CBD in our body, you must first know a little about the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

ECS is a network of nerves, neuroreceptors, neurotransmitters, enzymes, and fatty acids, which works in tandem with the nervous system to maintain physiological and chemical balance (homeostasis). It also carries out different bodily functions and processes, like sleep, memory, appetite, reproduction, mood, pain, and immune response.

Here’s how CBD oil helps reduce muscle spasm and cramps:

  • The neurotransmitter cells in the ECS send out commands to the neuroreceptors through the discharge of a specific chemical compound called endocannabinoids. They produce two known types of endocannabinoids – anandamide (AEA) and arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). CBD is also a member of the same group of chemicals, but derived from a plant (also known as exogenous cannabinoids).
  • These endocannabinoids bind with the neuroreceptor cells (CB1 and CB2) to receive and execute the command – the primary job being to restore homeostasis. The body also produces an enzyme to absorb the unused endocannabinoids.

For example, when one feels cold, the ECS informs the body through the nervous system to take some action to restore the balance.

    are, mainly, located in the brain, and the CB2 receptors are found in the immune system and bone marrow. Some CB2 receptors are also present in the brain.
  • CBD interacts with the ECS. It blocks the enzyme that metabolize the endocannabinoids, letting the endocannabinoid perform its functions for a more extended period.
  • One of the endocannabinoids produced by the ECS’s neurotransmitters – N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA), aka anandamide, is the body’s naturally produced mood enhancer. As AEA binds with CB1 and CB2 receptors, a bunch of physiological mechanisms kicks in, like appetite stimulation, mood fluctuation, pain management, etc.
  • Since CBD retains anandamide concentration for an extended period, it corrects sleep patterns, relieves anxiety and pain, among other benefits.

How Effective is CBD For Spasm and Leg Cramps? :A Scientific Review

Through its interaction with the ECS, CBD reduces muscle spasms by increasing the life of the body’s happy chemical, Serotonin, and modulating the way the central nervous system (CNS) interacts with muscles, making it useful in treating spasticity.

  • A study, published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal way back in 2004, was conducted on:

‘Efficacy, safety and tolerability of an orally administered cannabis extract in the treatment of spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study’

Subjects were given a mix of CBD and THC. The researchers concluded:

“…trends in favor of active treatment were seen for spasm frequency, mobility and getting to sleep”.