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CBD for Restless Leg Syndrome: Everything You Need to Know

Have you ever felt a tingling, crawling pain in your feet that you suddenly get the urge to shake off by rapidly moving your feet? Do you feel your legs have been set on fire, with rapid electric current running up your feet when you’re sitting idly or lying down?

If you’re someone who has experienced this kind of uncomfortable sensations in your legs, you must be aware of this rare disorder of the motor muscles, known as Willis-Ekbom Disease (WED) or Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS).

Unlike a habitual shaking of legs when feeling restless, bored, or anxious, this isn’t something that you can shake off easily – although you may feel like it.

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a chronic neurosensory disorder that “affects about 5-15% of adult people in industrialized countries”. In fact, its prevalence among Fibromyalgia patients is as high as one in every three fibromyalgia patients.

Treating Restless Leg Syndrome – Conventional & Otherwise

A FAIR WARNING: There is NO ABSOLUTE CURE for RLS.

Nevertheless, the usual treatment methods entail mostly medication, lifestyle changes, and some therapies.

While several pharmaceutical options are available to such patients, new studies indicate that CBD could be a safer and more effective option for RLS patients.

Additionally, CBD helps patients grab a well-deserved and much-needed shut-eye that RLS patients often do not get owing to the sudden and erratic leg movements in the middle of the night.

But, why should one choose CBD over other traditional forms of medications?

For one, it is indeed safer than most other conventional medications, with rarely any side effects. Unlike pharmaceutical medications, which carry tons of severe, some even life-threatening side effects, CBD has been found to be a far safer option.

Even the World Health Organization agrees!

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Secondly, it comes with loads of benefits – all at the same time.

We will discuss this in a later section.

Typical Medical Treatments for RLS?

  1. Iron supplementation: Individuals with low or below-normal blood ferritin and transferrin,e. iron deficiency can be treated with iron supplementation as the first course of action.
  2. Magnesium: Magnesium helps the muscles relax and soothes irritability of the nerve endings. It can be effective in treating mild to moderate RLS symptoms.
  3. Selenium: Selenium seems to play an important role in regulating brain activity. A 6-month selenium-supplementation is a proven method of treating severe symptoms of RLS/WED.
  4. Anti-seizure drugs: Some anti-seizure drugs are an effective option for RLS patients. For instance, pregabalin (alpha2delta or α2δ ligands) can decrease sensory disturbances and reduce nerve pain. In fact, it is as effective as pramipexole – a dopaminergic drug – for RLS treatment.
  5. Opioids: Opioids, such as methadone, codeine, hydrocodone, or oxycodone are also recommended for managing severe cases of RLS in some patients, who don’t respond to other options.
  6. Benzodiazepines: Benzos address spasms, seizures, and anxiety among RLS patients, and help them sleep better.
  7. Dopaminergic agents: Drugs, such as ropinirole and pramipexole, target the dopamine-releasing parts of the brain. Known for treating patients with Parkinson’s disease, these drugs can reduce RLS symptoms when taken before bedtime.

While all these categories of medications can be effective, they also come with some very adverse side effects. That’s why it’s always best to go natural! Let’s discuss a few options…

Natural Methods

Natural methods may include Lifestyle Changes, like…

  • Curbing alcohol intake and tobacco use
  • Ensuring a consistent and regular sleep pattern
  • Avoiding medications that aggravate your symptoms
  • Taking a warm bath before bedtime

Therapies, like…

  • Regularly Exercising, like aerobic routines and leg-stretching
  • Massaging your legs when the symptoms exhibit
  • Using hot pad/ice packs
  • Using medical devices, like foot wraps (put pressure underneath the foot), footpads (deliver vibrations on the back of the legs)
  • Meditation
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga with mineral supplementation (through proper diet)

While these may be helpful, they DO NOT relieve you of all the symptoms of RLS. So, what does?

Cannabidiol or CBD. A natural extract from cannabis plants, this chemical compound has been proven to be an effective method of treating many ailments.

It has been in use for ages, with newer research pointing further to its potential as means to overcome tons of symptoms associated with managing seizures, relieving pain, controlling muscle spasms and cramps, alleviating neuropathic pain, and regulating sleep patterns.

To understand how far CBD can help an RLS patient, read on…

How CBD Helps RLS – A Scientific Outlook

CBD is a known cannabinoid, extracted from cannabis plants. This chemical compound, which interacts with the nerve receptors of the body’s endocannabinoid system, indirectly controls the central nervous system to control/influence several bodily functions.

In effect, it either inhibits or promotes certain bodily organs, hormones, neurotransmitters, etc. thereby alleviating much of the symptoms caused by RLS.

Studies that Support CBD’s Efficacy in Treating RLS Symptoms

To be frank, there are far more pieces of anecdotal evidence than scientific studies to prove CBD’s effectiveness in treating the symptoms associated with restless leg syndrome.

Nevertheless, we’ve tried to bring to you the few research papers that ARE available in the public domain.

  • For instance, an August 2017 study, conducted at the Center for Clinical Neuroscience and published in Sleep Medicine, found that CBD-rich medicinal cannabis provided relief to a group of six RLS patients.
  • A 2007 review, which was published in the Chemistry & Biodiversity discussed how cannabis can alleviate pain and promote sleep at the same time.
  • Then again, in a March 2015 review of the role of cannabinoids in movement disorders, published in the Movement Disorders, the researchers confirmed that the endocannabinoid system DOES play a part in such disorders. How far cannabis-derived compounds influence that is still up for debate – and further investigation!
  • Another 2012 review, published in Neurotherapeutics, talks about multiple treatment strategies for RLS, addresses the need to target the dopamine deficit. Although the study does not include CBD, we have proof that CBD does play a role in making up for it.
  • A more recent review, published in the Sleep and Breathing magazine in March 2020, discusses the effects of CBD on patients who do not respond positively to treatment with dopamine agonists, anticonvulsants, or opiates. The researchers interviewed several RLS patients, who used CBD oil after everything else failed and found considerable relief from their symptoms.
  • A 2015 review, published online on Neurotherapeutics, showed how effective CBD is in treating epilepsy seizures, movement disorders, and neurogenerative disorders. Although not absolute proof, this is still a suggestive proof of CBD’s efficiency in treating restless leg syndrome.

While medical investigation and research into the use of CBD Oil for treating RLS symptoms may be limited, there is still a wealth of anecdotal evidence of RLS patients benefiting from its use.

Looking at the responses we found on public forums and social media, regarding CBD’s potential in helping people ease their RLS symptoms, it is clear that pure CBD products may not be as efficient as full-spectrum ones. While some have found moderate relief from doses as low as 15-20 mg of full-spectrum CBD, others have required much higher doses.

Since using CBD and titrating its doses does not have any adverse effects on patients, many users have gone ahead and used it over prolonged periods, with nothing more than positive effects.

People seem to have used CBD products in different ways, including tinctures, vapes, and topicals to get relief from RLS symptoms.

Although it’s not clear whether or not and how far CBD Oil can directly address the underlying issues of RLS, it definitely seems to relax the nerves, act as an analgesic, promote sleep, and relieve stress and pain in these patients.

These effects are, in themselves, quite good when it comes to an incurable condition like Restless Leg Syndrome. While most brands are good enough, not all offer sufficient relief. That’s why we’ve brought together this short list of Best CBD Oils suitable for RLS patients.

CBD Oils Best-Suited for RLS

  1. FabCBD – Editor’s Choice
  2. NuLeaf Naturals – Highly Potent
  3. CBDistillery – All Extract Types

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  1. FabCBD’s CBD Oil – Editor’s Choice

FabCBD offers highly potent, safe, organically sourced, and high-quality CBD oils that help combat a variety of symptoms. These CBD products are quite affordable too.

Brand & Product Advantages:

  • Organic, Vegan & Gluten-Free
  • CO2-Extracted, Full-Spectrum CBD Blend with other Natural Ingredients
  • Sourced from Homegrown Hemp from Colorado’s Regulated Farmlands
  • Third-Party Lab-Tested; lab reports available on the brand website
  • NO pesticides, heavy metals, residual solvents, or other contaminants
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Free shipping within the US on orders above $89

Product Highlights

  • Potency:
    • 300mg, 600mg, 1200mg, 2400mg
  • Flavors:
    • Citrus, Mint, Natural, Berry, Vanilla
  • Extract Type: Full-Spectrum
  • Hemp Source: Colorado, US
  • Ingredients:
    • Full-Spectrum Hemp Extract
    • Terpenes
    • Natural Flavorings
    • Fractionated Coconut Oil (Medium Chain Triglycerides)
  • Lab Reports: ProVerde Laboratories
  • Price: $0.05/mg – $0.13/mg

Read the full review here.

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  1. NuLeaf Naturals’ Hemp CBD Oil – Highly Potent

NuLeaf, one of the country’s pioneering CBD brands, sells only clean, pure, high-quality CBD oils; no other products.

Brand & Product Advantages:

  • USDA-certified Organic Hemp Extracts
  • Hemp Sourced from Colorado Farms
  • CO2 Extracted CBD Oil, with Natural Ingredients
  • Superior Processing Technologies
  • No additives, preservatives, herbicides, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, residual solvents, or other contaminants
  • Third-Party Lab-Tested
  • Fast & Free Shipping Within the US
  • 30-day money-back guarantee on unused products

Key Highlights

  • Potencies:
    • 300mg (5ml), 900mg (15ml), 1800mg (30ml), 3000mg (50ml), 6000mg (100ml); same per ml potency (60mg/ml)
  • Flavors: Flavorless
  • Extract Type: Full-Spectrum
  • Hemp Source: Colorado, US
  • Ingredients:
    • Organic Virgin Hemp Seed Oil
    • Full-Spectrum Hemp Extract
  • Lab Reports: Botanacor Laboratories
  • Price: $0.07/mg – $0.13/mg

You can read the full Nuleaf Naturals review here

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  1. CBDistillery CBD Oil Tinctures – All Extract Types

The Brand in Brief

CBDistillery provides the masses with easy access to high-quality, hemp-derived CBD products, ample information on cannabis and CBD, the latest industry research on the uses, benefits, and side-effects of CBD, besides a complete range of extract types.

Advantages of CBDistillery’s CBD Oil Tinctures

  • 100% Organic Hemp Extract with Natural Ingredients
  • CO2-Extracted Hemp CBD oil
  • Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, and THC-Free Pure CBD Oil Tinctures (Isolates)
  • Natural, hemp-derived terpenes

Key Highlights

  • Potencies:
    • Full Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture:
      • 1000mg
      • 500mg
      • 2500mg
      • 5000mg
    • THC-Free Pure CBD Oil Tincture:
      • 250mg
      • 5000mg
      • 2500mg
      • 1000mg
      • 500mg
    • Broad Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture:
      • 500mg
      • 1000mg
      • 2500mg
    • CBG + CBD Oil Tincture 1:1: 1000mg
  • Flavors: Flavorless
  • Extract Type: Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, CBD Isolates, CBD + CBG
  • Hemp Source: Colorado, US
  • Ingredients:
    • Fractionated Coconut Oil (MCT)
    • Hemp Extract (Aerial Parts)
    • Natural Terpenes
  • Lab Reports: ProVerde Laboratories
  • Price: $0.04/mg – $0.08/mg

Read the full review here

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Our Takeaway

Although RLS has been known to the medical and pharmaceutical fraternity for quite some time, it was only recently that the search for safer alternatives to drugs that have serious side effects were even considered.

Until recently, the only treatment methods were pharmaceutical drugs and machines, massages, hot baths, hot and cold compresses, exercising, and some lifestyle changes.

Today, however, CBD Oil has gained much popularity among people suffering from different kinds of ailments, including RLS.

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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