Can CBD Oil Cause Muscle Cramps

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If you are suffering from Muscle Spasms, learn more about your marijuana-related treatment options. Find out how CBD can be used to treat the symptoms of Muscle Spasms. Learn how CBD oil works as a potential treatment and preventative for leg cramps and muscle pain. Wondering if CBD is right for you? We can help. Read on to get the scoop on this increasingly popular compound and its effect on leg cramps.

Muscle Spasms & CBD

CBD relieves the symptoms of muscle spasms to increase your everyday function. Find out how you can use CBD for your condition.

What Are Muscle Spasms?

Most people have a muscle cramp at least once in their lives. However, when muscle spasms become chronic and debilitating, they need medical attention. These cramps cause sudden pain and muscle tightness that get in the way of everyday function. Seniors, overweight people and athletes have a higher chance of experiencing muscle spasms, but anyone can get them.

Chronic muscle spasms often happen due to neurological disorders. Conditions like multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis disrupt your brain’s communication with your muscles. Your muscles then undergo constant strain, creating spasms.

Some patients have chronic muscle spasms as a side effect of their medications. Medicine used for asthma, blood pressure, cholesterol, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s can all cause muscle cramps.

Many people with muscle spasms now rely on cannabis-based medication like CBD medicine for symptom relief. CBD relieves pain and inflammation so you can feel more comfortable.

Muscle Spasms and the Endocannabinoid System

Our bodies have endocannabinoid systems (ECS) that use and create cannabinoids. You can find cannabinoids in the marijuana plant (phytocannabinoids) and in the ECS (endocannabinoids). The ECS includes the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids. Your cannabinoid receptors attach to cannabinoids and use them to maintain bodily functions.

Patients with conditions like multiple sclerosis that cause muscle spasms could have different ECS balances than those without them. The ECS produces the endocannabinoid anandamide to attach to the CB1 receptor. When anandamide activates CB1, it improves your mood and regulates pain and inflammation. Multiple sclerosis patients have higher levels of anandamide than patients without the condition.

This difference suggests that the body releases anandamide to protect itself from MS’s effects. When tissue becomes damaged or inflamed, the ECS creates more of the cannabinoid. We can take advantage of this phenomenon by using CBD to reduce your symptoms.

Tapping Into the ECS’ Healing Powers With CBD

CBD has a unique function in the ECS. Instead of binding to CB1 or CB2, CBD boosts the ECS’ capabilities. Among other benefits, it blocks FAAH, the fatty acid that breaks down anandamide. When you take CBD medicine, it increases the anandamide levels in your body. Your system uses anandamide to relieve symptoms such as:

  • Pain: Anandamide regulates pain sensations. It manages the signals sent between your brain and nerves when muscle spasms cause pain.
  • Inflammation: Damaged tissue becomes inflamed as a protection mechanism. By managing the number of immune cells that cause inflammation, anandamide can soothe the affected area.
  • Mood Symptoms: CBD attaches to your serotonin receptors to improve your mood. The increase of anandamide in your brain also helps you feel happier and calmer.

Replacing or Supplementing Symptom-Causing Medication With CBD

If your muscle spasms happen as a side effect of medication, you could lower or replace your dose with CBD. CBD shows beneficial effects in patients with high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s syndrome and asthma. We recommend talking to your doctor before trying to make this substitute.

Choosing a Suitable CBD Medication

Medication with CBD comes in various forms. Some of these products may provide more benefits than others because of your symptoms and situation. When looking for a CBD medicine, remember to consider:

  • Formula: If you qualify for a medical marijuana card, you can get access to CBD medication that includes small amounts of THC. These products have fewer psychoactive effects than THC medicine because CBD balances them out. Over-the-counter CBD medicine can also help, but make sure it has a high enough concentration.
  • Type: A CBD medication’s effects depend on how you take it. Pills, patches, edibles and other medicines that enter the bloodstream have a full-body effect. Meanwhile, a topical treatment or CBD oil rubbed into the skin provides stronger relief in a concentrated area.
  • Your Doctor’s Opinion: For the best results, we recommend getting help from a marijuana-certified doctor. They can help you find effective CBD products even if you don’t plan to join the medical marijuana program. Browse our comprehensive doctor listings to find one near you.

Learn More From the Experts at MarijuanaDoctors.com

We can help you make educated decisions about your medical marijuana treatment. Visit our resource library or browse our list of health issues you can treat with cannabis medicine.

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Learn More About Muscle Spasms

Learn more about Muscle Spasms and what makes medical marijuana an effective treatment for Muscle Spasms’s symptoms.

Can CBD Help Stop Leg Cramps?

It’s never a pleasant feeling, waking up in the middle of the night to the sharp, sudden tightness of a leg cramp. While cramp may, on the surface, be a minor medical issue, the pain can occur randomly and last for hours, compromising one’s ability to stand or relax.

CBD has been touted as a potential remedy to stop leg cramps, but what does the research say about its usefulness?

While explicit clinical evidence studying leg cramps is lacking, CBD has proven itself a valuable anti-inflammatory. CBD products can indirectly help relieve pain associated with leg cramps and muscle spasms by diminishing the sensation of pain rather than soothing the muscle’s tension. And unlike other muscle relaxants and painkillers, CBD is a natural remedy with virtually zero adverse effects on the body.

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What Causes Leg Cramps?

Leg cramps, also known as muscle fits or spasms, are a sudden, uncontrollable contraction of the muscles in the leg. They predominantly affect the calf muscles, though leg cramps also occur in the thighs and hamstrings.

While sometimes leg cramps happen for no apparent reason (called idiopathic leg cramps), other probable causes of muscle cramps include:

  • Long hours of muscle stillness
  • Too much muscle strain
  • Inadequate stretching before physical exertion
  • Overheating
  • Dehydration

In rare conditions, muscle cramps could be a potential symptom of more severe concerns, such as liver disease or a reaction to a medication. If the cramps continue for longer than 10 minutes despite attempts to unclench the muscle, or they occur after encountering a toxic substance, it’s worth seeking medical attention.

How CBD Helps Relieve Leg Cramps

CBD interacts with the body via the endocannabinoid system (ECS) , which substantially regulates how we experience pain. CB1 and CB2 are spread throughout the brain and body, and the body’s natural endocannabinoids interact with these receptors to maintain homeostasis.

When one consumes CBD oil, the CBD acts on the ECS receptors by modifying how they bind to cannabinoids. In effect, CBD enhances the capacity of the ECS to do its job. It extends the concentration of anandamide , the body’s “bliss” molecule, in the body for longer, allowing it to reduce pain sensations and soothe inflammation in the damaged muscle.

To note: CBD doesn’t bind to CB1 or CB2 receptors in the way THC does. CBD is, in scientific terms, what is known as a non-competitive negative allosteric modulator . Put, CBD dampens or blunts CB1 receptors, making them less receptive to THC and anandamide.

Dosing

CBD does not intoxicate or produce paranoia via overconsumption like THC does, and it’s virtually impossible to overdo it. You can use as much as needed to get pain relief, and there are a variety of consumption options available for those seeking to use CBD oil for leg cramps.

Vaping CBD oil via a cartridge is perhaps the fastest way to introduce it to the bloodstream via the lungs. Once inhaled, CBD circulates through the body and quickly reaches the pain sensors in the brain, helping to reduce inflammation and anxiety while relaxing the leg muscles.

Dosing CBD oil with sublingual drops is another faster-acting option to attain relief from muscle cramps. Start with a few drops placed under the tongue and swallow after five seconds.

Topicals are another popular option for fast-acting leg cramp relief. With topicals, the CBD interacts directly with the ECS in your skin to provide relief. Massaging the affected area with a CBD oil lotion or gel will quickly ease the pain and last five to six hours from application.

Does cannabidiol have different effects at different dosages? The Biphasic Effects of CBD

Yes, CBD does have different effects at different doses. CBD can have more stimulating effects in low doses (around 20 mg or under). At higher doses (around 40 mg – 50 mg +), CBD has more sedative effects.

By blunting CB1 receptors, CBD can increase the amount of anandamide available in the blood. It has a similar effect when used in combination with THC, where using low to moderate doses of CBD with higher doses of THC can both reduce the “high” of THC and elongate its effects. This is because CB1 receptors aren’t “soaking up,” processing and eventually breaking down the THC/anandamide.

Alternative Ways to Get Relief

Besides CBD, there are other options to achieve relief from leg cramps, though they may not be as fast-acting or effective.

Doctors often prescribe pain relievers or muscle relaxants to address chronic pain and cramps , though they have their share of side effects. Prescription drugs are another alternative, though there is no recommended medication to cure cramps specifically.

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Stretching, foam rolling, yoga , massage, or the use of a heating pad may all be valuable tools in releasing the tension in a muscle cramp if CBD oil or painkillers aren’t nearby.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is CBD oil a good muscle relaxant?

CBD oil helps to relax muscles by way of its anti-inflammatory properties. By interacting with the ECS, CBD slows the reuptake of endocannabinoids and allows the body to quickly repair tense muscles and soothe the pain associated with muscle tension.

Does CBD oil help with restless leg or leg cramps?

Yes, CBD oil can help soothe the pain and inflammation that go hand in hand with leg cramps. And while the evidence is lacking, anecdotal reports suggest that CBD also may help calm the spasms associated with restless leg syndrome.

Article written by

Shanti Ryle Content Writer

Shanti Ryle is a content marketer with more than half a decades’ experience writing about cannabis science and culture. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Weedmaps News/Marijuana.com, Wall Street Journal, and other publications.

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CBD for Leg Cramps: Does it Help?

Move over aloe vera and ashwagandha; there’s a new healing herb in town: cannabidiol. Better known by its buzzy nickname, CBD, the naturally occurring chemical compound is just about everywhere these days. You can find it in balms, tinctures, gummies, and capsules — even coffee drinks sold at small-town cafes. We’re also starting to see CBD creep its way onto cocktail menus all over the country.

Needless to say, cannabidiol is having a moment right now. And with possible benefits ranging from anxiety relief to sleep support — it’s easy to see why. But can the purported miracle compound help with leg cramps, too? We’ll tell you.

Read on to get the scoop on CBD and find out if it’s right for you.

What Exactly Is CBD?

CBD is one of more than 100 naturally occurring chemical compounds found in cannabis plants — which include both industrial hemp and marijuana. Unlike its close cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC), CBD doesn’t cause a psychoactive effect (AKA, it won’t get you “high”).

Is CBD Safe and Legal?

First, is CBD legal? The answer is – it depends on where you live — and whether the CBD derives from industrial hemp or marijuana. According to the Farm Bill of 2018, industrial hemp is legal. So any CBD that comes from hemp (which is grown to have less than 0.3 percent THC) is A-OK. CBD from the marijuana plant, on the other hand, is legal in only some states.

Now, as far as safety is concerned, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that cannabidiol does not appear to have the potential to cause harm. In fact, there is no evidence of health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD to date.

That said, it can produce minor side effects for some people, including irritability, nausea, restlessness, and fatigue. It may also interact with certain medications and supplements, so be sure to check with your primary healthcare provider before use.

What Are Leg Cramps?

Charley horse, spasms, muscle fits — whatever you call them, there’s no denying that leg cramps can be excruciating. They predominantly affect the calf muscles, though they can also occur in the hamstrings, feet, and thighs.

More often than not, leg cramps last just a few moments before the muscle loosens and becomes relaxed, but this can leave pain and tenderness in the affected area for up to 24 hours after.

This pain can vary from person to person. For some, it feels like a clenched, contracted muscle tightened into a knot that feels no worse than a stubbed toe. For others, the pain can be severely uncomfortable and even unbearable.

What Causes Leg Cramps?

While it may seem as though there’s always a cause for a specific condition, this isn’t exactly the case for leg cramps. In fact, many people don’t know why they get them — they just do. These are called idiopathic leg cramps.

That said, there are also secondary leg cramps, which are usually a potential symptom of a more severe condition or underlying issue, such as:

  • Dehydration
  • Too much muscle strain
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Diabetes
  • Inadequate stretching before physical exertion
  • Overheating
  • Liver disease
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Leg cramps are also pretty common during pregnancy, often striking in the wee hours of the night during the second and third trimesters. This could be due to carrying extra weight, metabolism changes, fluctuating hormones, or even a vitamin deficiency, but the truth is that nobody really knows.

What we do know, though, is that our Organic Magnesium Lotion seems to help.

Made with just six organic ingredients, our organic sleepy body lotion is a coveted moms-to-be secret that can help calm your body and mind for a restful night’s sleep. Simply apply 2-3 teaspoons of lotion onto areas of pain or cramping before it’s time to hit the hay and catch some much-needed Zzzs — pain-free.

When Should I See a Doctor?

Dealing with leg cramps? Don’t worry; they’re not usually a cause for concern — especially when they follow periods of heavy use or exertion. But if you notice the intensity or frequency of your leg cramps increasing, it’s probably a good idea to get checked out by a doctor.

Schedule an appointment with your primary if your cramps are consistent and accompanied by the symptoms listed below:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Swelling in the ankle or leg
  • Skin discoloration
  • Redness
  • Lingering pain

Can CBD Help Leg Cramps?

Without getting too technical, the human body contains an internal system (aka the endocannabinoid system) that is made up of cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. Regardless of whether you use CBD, this incredible system is part of everyone’s biology.

Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids that are made inside the body and help to regulate a number of functions and processes, including:

  • Memory
  • Appetite
  • Metabolism
  • Mood and emotion
  • Immune response

In the same way that endocannabinoids interact with your body, cannabinoids from the cannabis plant (aka phytocannabinoids) do, too — including cannabidiol. They do this by interacting with the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

With this in mind, many studies have shown that CBD (a naturally-occurring cannabinoid found in plants) can interact with these receptors in the body to reduce inflammation and aid in pain relief.

So, can CBD help with leg cramps?

Since spasms are an inflammatory response, CBD may help with leg cramps, but more research is needed to make sure there aren’t any unwanted side effects.

Are There Alternative Solutions?

Don’t want to use CBD? There are many other options to achieve relief from leg cramps — here are some of them:

  • Take a warm bath. Not only is a warm bath oh-so relaxing, but it can help to loosen up cramped muscles, too. Make your bath extra indulgent with our Therapeutic Bath Salts.
  • Apply ice. To reduce inflammation, try massaging your cramped muscle with ice.
  • Stretch. Stretching boosts circulation, which can help relax the muscles. Gently rub the cramped area and lightly stretch the muscle.
  • Drink water. The moment a painful cramp strikes, grab a tall glass of H2O — preferably with electrolytes. In a recent study, experts found that those who consumed electrolyte-enhanced water were less susceptible to leg cramps than those who didn’t adequately hydrate.
  • Magnesium. There are a number of studies that suggest the use of magnesium to combat leg cramps — that’s why we use pure magnesium in our Organic Sleepy Body Lotion. Simply lather some lotion onto the areas of pain and watch as your cramps slowly fade away.

Bottom Line

So, can CBD help with leg cramps?

At present, clinical evidence that the naturally occurring compound can help with leg cramps is lacking. There is quite a bit of early research that indicates CBD has anti-inflammatory properties — and seeing as spasms are an inflammatory response, it makes perfect sense how the cannabinoid might be able to provide support.

That said, if you’re one of the many moms-to-be struggling with leg cramps, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends steering clear of cannabis or any type of CBD product as it may cause harm to your developing baby. Instead, reach for a pregnancy-safe solution like our Organic Sleepy Body Lotion made with pure magnesium to combat restless legs and ease pain.

At the end of the day, the choice to use CBD is yours. Just be sure to talk with your doctor first to make sure it’s a good fit for your unique health and wellness needs. While experts say pure CBD is generally safe, there is so much about the cannabinoid that is still unknown so it’s wise to use it with care and under the guidance of a primary healthcare provider.

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