CBD For Restless Legs, A Treatment Alternative?
Posted on May 10th, 2021
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterized by a strong urge to move your legs, especially when seated or on the bed. Many patients attest to having a tingling, aching, or crawling sensation in their legs, making it quite hard for them to drift to sleep. Some people with this condition will subconsciously move their legs in an attempt to find a ‘comfortable’ position. According to research, one in every ten people experiences restless leg syndrome, with it manifesting or occurring in the evening. Researchers also believe the condition might be hereditary, meaning one patient might pass it down to his or her descendants.
Thus, everyone, from adult men and women and children, is at risk of developing the condition. There are instances when symptoms of RLS will start showing when one is at a tender age, though most recognize cases later on in life. While the risk of RLS may increase as one gets older, studies show women to be at a higher risk as compared to men.
Causes of Restless Leg Syndrome
The cause of RLS remains to be a mystery to this day. Researchers, however, believe the condition may develop from a genetic predisposition and with some environmental factors act as a trigger. The condition might even surface more surely, especially if one consumes lots of alcohol and caffeine. Studies show stimulants, especially those mentioned above, to trigger and even intensify symptoms of the same. The condition often links with:
Chronic diseases: Chronic medical conditions such as peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, renal disease, kidney failure, and Parkinson’s diseases.
Iron deficiency: Iron deficiency may play a main role in triggering or exacerbating symptoms of RLS. This is because iron is an essential need for the production of dopamine in the body. Dopamine, by the way, is the chemical responsible for managing mood, among other functions like:
- Pregnancy (during the last trimester)
Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome
The most common signs and symptoms of RLS include:
Arm/leg discomfort: Many adults with RLS often complain of itching, creeping, pulling, tugging, crawling, burning, pain, and throbbing sensations. Most of these sensations surface later in the day, towards and at bedtime. Some individuals also feel an urge to move around after an extended period of limb inactivity, especially after sitting down for more than 30 minutes.
Urge to move legs or arms: The uncontrollable urge to move your arms, legs/limbs to help relieve the sensations mentioned above. This happens when one is stationary.
Sleep disruptions: Most patients hardly ever get to enjoy a good night’s sleep. The tingling sensations force them to wake up repeatedly during the night. Thus, affecting their sleep quality significantly. It often takes a lot longer to slide back to sleep after waking up to stretch your leg or arms.
Daytime sleepiness: Most patients will struggle to stay awake as early as the mid-morning. This is due to the reduced quality of sleep and inability to stay asleep or sleep particularly well at night.
General body fatigue: This is often a result of not getting enough sleep at night. Such can take a toll on one’s performance and quality of life as well.
Traditional Treatments for Restless Legs
Moderate exercise can help ease mild symptoms of restless leg syndrome. Exercise works by improving blood circulation to all the parts of the body, especially the brain and lower limps. It also triggers the increased production of dopamine, the hormone responsible for calming the brain and nerve endings. Researchers also believe taking on light exercise does help the endocannabinoid system restore homeostasis, further easing RLS symptoms.
Some researchers believe there’s a link between anxiety and restless leg syndrome. Weighted blankets, thus, offer a gentle but constant counter stimulation. Thus, it not only relieves anxiety but restless legs as well. Weighted blankets, therefore, remain a preferred home remedy for individuals living with the RLS condition.
A gentle leg massage can help ease the symptoms of restless legs. The massage triggers muscle relaxation while allowing more blood to flow to all parts of the legs. A gentle massage also helps calm the nervous system, hence a preferred remedy for RLS.
Yoga and Stretching
Mild upper leg stretches and yoga also appears to be quite effective in managing RLS. At the same time, it might not be clear as to why and how yoga works. Researchers believe yoga induces a sense of mental relaxation and homeostasis on top of stretching. Thus, enabling one to sleep well at night as well.
Foods rich in zinc, iron, magnesium, and Vitamins
Foods rich in magnesium, zinc, iron, vitamins, etc., help provide the body with the essentials needed for a properly functioning ECS. Some of the best foods for restless leg syndrome include:
- Warm milk
- Sweet potatoes
- And animal liver
Adding these to your diet plan can help ease, if not eliminate, most signs of RLS.
What Is CBD?
CBD is an active compound mainly found in the cannabis plant. It occurs alongside dozens of other cannabinoids, including CBC, CBG, THC, CBE, and CBL, among many others. Manufacturers extract the compound through distillation from the hemp plant. They mainly produce CBD oil, one of the most popular products in the health and wellness sector today. Industrial hemp is a strain of the cannabis Sativa herb that has a higher CBD to THC ratio. Thus, it produces more high-quality CBD as compared to other cannabis strains.
Although a product of the cannabis hemp plant, CBD oil doesn’t contain any psychoactive properties like THC, another cannabinoid, does. Thus, CBD is safe for human consumption. CBD oil obtained from the hemp plant contains less than 0.3% THC concentration and has a relatively high potency. It is also worth noting that CBD is not only safe but legal in most states. This is according to the 2018 Farm bill that made legal the production, sale, and use of CBD products. Indirectly through its presence in marijuana, for centuries, CBD saw extensive use as a remedy for various health conditions, including:
- High blood pressure.
- And, recently, restless legs.
Can You Use CBD For Restless Legs?
Obtained from the cannabis hemp plant, CBD has the potential to fight off and relieve many symptoms of restless leg syndrome. For starters, CBD acts on the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to help regulate various hormones and processes in the body. It just so happens that many of those processes directly link to RLS. In addition to this, CBD packs potent properties, especially neuroprotective ones, on its own. Thus, it helps protect body cells from oxidative stress.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD works by interacting with the brain and the body through the endocannabinoid system, popularly known as the ECS. The endocannabinoid system is a complex biological cell-signaling system responsible for regulating various processes and functions of the body to maintain homeostasis. CBD binds on the two primary ECS receptors, the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The interaction boosts the ECS homeostasis-inducing capabilities, enabling it to perform optimally based on the current condition. CB1 receptors are majorly in the brain region, while CB2 receptors are responsible for the other parts of the body. These receptors thus help the ECS to regulate the various processes and functions, including:
- The central nervous system
- Immune response
- And communication between cells.
How Does CBD For Restless Legs Work?
CBD interacts with the two ECS receptors to help manage restless legs in several ways. First, it binds to CB1 receptors, which help inhibit pain signals and other sensations from reaching the brain. It also triggers the increased production of melatonin and dopamine, chemicals needed for promoting sleep and pain management. Thus, it may reduce the urge to move your legs and arms while asleep or after staying in the same position for hours.
CBD also packs potent nerve-calming and muscle relaxant properties suggested to be effective in managing RLS. In addition to inducing mental calmness and tranquility, CBD binds to CB2 receptors, which help soothe and relax leg muscles. Thus, allowing for a smooth and disturbance-free night/sleep. The best thing with CBD for restless legs is that you can apply it topically on leg muscles for the same results. Applying CBD topically allows its absorption directly into the muscle tissue and cells. Thus, enabling the ECS to induce homeostasis in the same.
CBD appears to pack potent analgesic and sleep-inducing properties too. You can take advantage of CBD’s rich profile to fight off most of the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. CBD tinctures and creams come particularly in handy for this. All you need is to place a few drops of CBD under the tongue to allow for quick absorption into the bloodstream. Also, obviously, and massage your legs with a CBD cream for the best results.
Recommended CBD For Restless Legs Dosage
Researchers are yet to determine the correct CBD dosage for restless legs. Experts recommend starting low then increase the dosage gradually until reaching a sweet spot. A number of factors, such as:
- Your body weight
- Specific effects sought after
Also, come into consideration when looking for the ideal dosage. A low dosage is advisable, especially if looking to improve your sleep patterns and manage the sensations effectively. You also do not have to worry about getting high from using CBD oil since it has next to no THC in most cases. Be sure to consult your supplier about the same before making an order.
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