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Updated on January 31, 2024

CBD for Restless Leg

Fact Checked

Key takeaways

  • A small study in 2020 showed that people who used CBD sublingually experienced improved symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome.
  • CBD may hold a promise in promoting good sleep, reducing anxiety and relaxing muscles.
  • People who have used CBD for RLS reported little to no side effects.

Even with limited research, a lot people are using CBD to relieve symptoms of restless leg syndrome (RLS). Many of these people reported little to no side effects. This effect can be attributed to the role of CBD on the ECS. In this article, we would find out how CBD achieves this and other possible effects of CBD for people with RLS.

What is restless leg syndrome (RLS)?

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition where you feel an irresistible urge to move your legs, often due to uncomfortable sensations like tingling or crawling. This usually happens when you're resting or trying to sleep. Moving your legs temporarily relieves these sensations. It can disrupt your sleep and make you feel restless.

What are the causes of Restless Leg Syndrome?

The exact cause of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is not always clear, but several factors may contribute to its development:

  1. Genetics: RLS tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic component.
  2. Brain Chemicals: Imbalances in certain brain chemicals, such as dopamine, may play a role. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in muscle movement.
  3. Iron Deficiency: Low levels of iron in the brain may lead to RLS. Iron is essential for dopamine production.
  4. Pregnancy: RLS is more common during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. It often improves after giving birth.
  5. Chronic Diseases: Conditions like kidney failure, diabetes, and peripheral neuropathy can be associated with RLS.
  6. Medications: Some medications, such as certain antipsychotics, antihistamines, and antidepressants, may trigger or worsen RLS.
  7. Other Factors: Factors like excessive caffeine intake, smoking, and lack of regular exercise may contribute to RLS symptoms.

What research say about CBD for restless leg

There hasn't been a lot of research on how well CBD works for treating Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). However, some people seem to be trying it for this purpose.

In a small survey from 2021, mainly in the United Kingdom, over 42% of participants used CBD to improve sleep or for insomnia. About 5% said they used CBD for RLS.

A small study from 2019 looked at whether smoking cannabis could help with RLS. It suggested that regular cannabis use might lessen RLS symptoms. One thing to note is that the cannabis used in the study contained THC, which is a compound with mind-altering effects. This could have influenced the results.

Another study from 2020 reported the use of Cannabis in restless leg syndrome. Although there was no record on how the products affected the patients, it was clear that Cannabis and its products may be a possible alternative medication for restless leg syndrome and other sleep-related challenges.

Another study in 2017 involving six people who were experiencing Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) that didn't respond well to standard treatments (refractory RLS), they found significant relief. All six individuals reported complete relief from their RLS symptoms and an overall improvement in the quality of their sleep. This relief was achieved by either smoking cannabis or using cannabidiol (CBD) through sublingual administration (under the tongue). This suggests that cannabis or CBD might be effective in managing RLS symptoms for some people.

Another small study involving a smaller group of 14 participants in 2020 had tried using cannabis for their RLS. What's interesting is that more than half of them, at least 50%, reported experiencing some benefit from using cannabis. While the sample size is limited, these findings hint at the potential positive impact of cannabis on RLS symptoms.

How can CBD assist people with Restless Leg syndrome?

While research on CBD for Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is still in its early stages, some potential mechanisms suggest how CBD might help individuals with RLS:

  1. Anti-Inflammatory Properties: CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce inflammation, which could be a factor in RLS symptoms.
  2. Muscle Relaxation: CBD is known for its muscle-relaxing properties. This could be beneficial for individuals experiencing discomfort or tension in their legs, a common symptom of RLS.
  3. Improvement in Sleep Quality: RLS often disrupts sleep patterns. CBD has been reported anecdotally by some users to help improve sleep quality. Better sleep may indirectly alleviate RLS symptoms.
  4. Interaction with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS): CBD interacts with the ECS, a system in the body that plays a role in regulating various functions, including sleep, pain, and inflammation. Modulating the ECS could potentially impact RLS symptoms.
  5. Anxiolytic Effects: CBD has mild anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects. Since stress and anxiety can worsen RLS symptoms, CBD's calming effects might contribute to symptom relief.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use medical marijuana for RLS?

The use of medical marijuana for Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) has garnered attention, but research in this area is limited. Some studies suggest that regular cannabis use, which includes both THC and CBD, may potentially reduce RLS symptoms. However, comprehensive and large-scale studies are required for a more thorough understanding of its effectiveness.

Will I experience any side effects after using CBD for RLS?

Using CBD for Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is generally considered safe, but like any substance, it can potentially cause side effects in some individuals. It's important to be aware of possible side effects, although they tend to be mild. Common side effects of CBD may include:
Dry Mouth
Changes in Appetite
Interaction with Medications

What are the best CBD products for RLS?

You can use all forms of CBD products for RLS especially the oils and creams. These products will provide better effect for your symptoms. Also make sure you only settle for verified pure products which are tested from a third party lab. Make sure the products contain zero additives as this will reduce the possible side effects linked to the product.

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Moltke, J., Hindocha, C. Reasons for cannabidiol use: a cross-sectional study of CBD users, focusing on self-perceived stress, anxiety, and sleep problems. J Cannabis Res 3, 5 (2021).

Ghorayeb, I. More evidence of cannabis efficacy in restless legs syndrome. Sleep Breath 24, 277–279 (2020).

Samaha D, Kandiah T, Zimmerman D. Cannabis Use for Restless Legs Syndrome and Uremic Pruritus in in patients treated with maintenance dialysis: A Survey. Can J Kidney Health Dis. 2020 Sep 10;7:2054358120954944. doi: 10.1177/2054358120954944. PMID: 32963792; PMCID: PMC7488602.

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