Is CBD a Viable Treatment for RLS?
Willis-Ekbom disease, commonly known as restless legs syndrome (RLS), is the overwhelming urge to move the legs. Symptoms manifest in the thighs, calves, feet, and, in some instances, the arms. The disease’s severity varies from person to person.
Some people experience RLS symptoms occasionally. Others get them daily. These symptoms worsen at night or when the afflicted person is at rest. In the U.S., at least 10% of the population experience RLS. What triggers the disease is often unclear. However, experts believe that it has links to emotional and psychological trauma.
CBD treatment for RLS
While the jury is still out on what causes RLS, experts have purported potential treatments, which include cannabidiol (CBD).
CBD is derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, more commonly known as hemp or marijuana. This chemical comprises up to 40% of the plant’s total extract. It relieves pain, anxiety, depression, and cancer-related symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, among others.
Studies have long found a significant link between CBD use and improved sleep. One such study has been published on the National Library of Medicine. Results showed that 40% to 50% of subjects living with chronic pain disorders have seen improvement in sleep quality while on regular cannabidiol medication. This affected the subjects’ quality of life for the better.
How CBD can alleviate RLS symptoms
Treatment of RLS is not as straightforward as treating other medical conditions such as arthritis. Experts have yet to find a definitive cure. To alleviate symptoms, general physicians normally prescribe anti-seizure medication, iron-increasing drugs, dopamine agonists, and sleeping tablets. The logic for the last one is that a deep, uninterrupted sleep hinders RLS attacks.
The same logic applies to CBD use for RLS treatment. CBD has properties that calm the nervous system, prevent inflammation, and reduce pain. These effects happen after CBD has interacted with the brain’s natural chemicals and receptors.
CBD positively alters the activities of neurotransmitters in the brain. It also facilitates hormonal shifts that are believed to be beneficial for enhancing sleep quality. These changes may lessen a person’s susceptibility to bouts of RLS.
Methods for treating RLS with CBD
CBD products provide relief from RLS symptoms in several ways. They include the following:
- Sublingual— A physician-approved dosage is administered via drops under the tongue.
- Creams and salves— CBD muscle balm/cream is applied to body parts most affected by RLS. For added relief, other essential oils such as peppermint, lavender, and arnica may also be used on top of CBD.
- Vaping —This is believed to be the fastest and most efficient way to use medical CBD. The lungs directly absorb the oil’s vapor, which quickly reaches the bloodstream.
- Mixed with food/drinks —This method might take longer in terms of achieving the desired effects of CBD. It nonetheless provides a convenient way to ingest the oil, which is infused into a person’s daily dietary needs. Edibles such as CBD gummies are also available.
Choosing which method to use should depend on desired results, ideally with a physician’s advice. Bear in mind that these methods vary in terms of potency. For instance, vaping CBD yields faster outcomes (within 10 minutes) than eating CBD-infused food or drink, which may take up to two hours to take effect.
Only 20% to 30% of the CBD ingested is absorbed by the bloodstream via edibles. Meanwhile, vaping allows up to 56% absorption.
How much CBD does it take to treat RLS?
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another extract from the Cannabis sativa plant, CBD products have no hallucinogenic properties. That goes without saying that precise dosage is of the utmost importance if harmful side effects are to be avoided.
While there is no clear-cut guide of how much CBD a person could or should take for RLS, there are widely accepted barometers that must be considered, such as a person’s body weight or level of discomfort. A person on the heavier end of the weight spectrum might need a higher dosage of CBD for its medical effects to manifest. The same goes for those suffering from severe chronic pain. Some experts also advocate for a daily dose of 25 mg. That amounts to two doses per day.
Repeat ingestion of CBD may cause tolerance over time. This might cause someone subscribing to the treatment to increase their daily dosage. Such should be done with guidance from a physician.
Misuse of CBD could lead to side effects, including drowsiness, fatigue, a dry mouth, diarrhea, and reduced appetite. These should give caution to those considering to subscribe to this medication.
Research on the medical properties of CBD is ongoing. The product has yet to receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration. But it has been legalized in 33 states in the U.S.
Meta title: Can CBD Alleviate RLS Symptoms?
Meta desc: Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a nuisance. And there’s no absolute cure. Here, we discuss how CBD can help relieve RLS symptoms.