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Cannabinoids for Restless Leg Syndrome

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Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) affects about 4% of children and 10% of adults in the United States. It is a neurological sensorimotor disorder that may affect the quality of life and is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to move the legs while at rest.

The condition is often associated with iron deficiency and certain medications like treatments with dopamine-receptor blocking agents. Current treatment options are usually insufficient, but there are growing interests in the use of cannabinoids (CBD) to manage RLS symptoms. Some studies suggest CBD may help alleviate the symptoms associated with Willis-Ekbom Disease or RLS.

What Does the Research Say About CBD Oil for RLS?

Different institutions researched the use of CBD oil for RLS. The Center for Clinical Neuroscience found in a study conducted in 2017 that a group of six RLS patients reported relief after taking CBD-rich medicines.

In another publication by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health on CBD's therapeutic potential for movement disorders, the research suggests that cannabinoids have the neuroprotective and symptomatic potential for a range of neurological disorders.

Another study by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health on more evidence of cannabis efficacy in restless leg syndrome confirmed a remarkable remission of RLS symptoms after taking cannabis treatment or medical marijuana.


How Does CBD Help with RLS?

CBD is a natural extract from plants with Indica dominant strains that contain chemical compounds with potential healing properties for specific ailments. It has been used many times to treat different symptoms, such as muscle spasm and cramps, lack of sleep, muscle and neuropathic pain, seizures, and various sleep disorders.

The chemical compound found in Cannabis Indica plants interacts with a wide range of pharmacological targets, including the endocannabinoid system and the nerve receptors. It also has indirect control of several bodily functions, including the central nervous system.

Cannabis Indica has properties that regulate the neurotransmitters and hormones, alleviating most symptoms of restless leg syndrome. It can further relieve back pain since it stimulates the endocannabinoid system that promotes homeostasis in the body. Thus, inhibiting inflammation and reducing the sensation of pain.


How to Use CBD for RLS?

CBD products are available in different forms, such as CBD oil, pills or capsules, vapes, tincture, topicals, edibles, and CDB gummies. There are also suppositories, beverages, and lozenges.

CBD oil for restless leg syndrome is available as a topical application. The best CBD oil contains terpenes, which are great for relieving stress and anxiety as the strong fragrance from terpenes can help relax the body.

CBD oils are also useful for relieving various symptoms like chronic pain, fibromyalgia, seizures, Parkinson’s disease, inflammation, migraine, and headaches.

On the other hand, topical creams are great for body pain relief and skin problems like psoriasis or eczema. Some people may prefer to take medical cannabis orally. But there are several complaints about unpleasant taste after intake. Thus, gummies are available as a viable oral option with a more potent dose of up to 25mg of the active compound.

For those who want to quit smoking, CBD vapes are perfect for getting rid of the habit by resorting to vaping as an alternative during the initial withdrawal stage.

In the end, the kind of product to choose will come down to what you want in a product and the corresponding results. Topical applications like creams and oils are the best way for those who wish to have immediate access to the product while on the go.

You can apply the product by massaging the oil on the body area without worrying about getting access to potable drinking water as in the case of oral forms like capsules and pills. For those who love drinks, the beverages and tablets are the best forms since they can easily take them with their morning coffee or afternoon teas.

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What is the CBD Dosage for RLS?

The correct dosage may differ according to treatment, age, tolerance, weight, and severity of the condition. People with heavier weight may need to take more compared to those with lesser weight.

Likewise, mild symptoms will require a lesser dose compared to those who are suffering from severe RLS. Most CBD products are available in varying concentrations and doses. It is best to follow the recommended dosage in the product labels since manufacturers have conducted several trials to develop the appropriate dosage for the best results with fewer side effects.

Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which has addictive effects that can cause a person to get high during excessive use, cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive property of cannabis that will not cause addictive experience and sleepiness. It will not affect the dopamine levels in the body.

However, proper dosage should remain strictly followed to avoid undesirable adverse events like dry mouth and unpleasant sensations.

In the case of CBD oils, most products come in 15mL and 30mL bottles with varying concentrations from 100mg up to 5000mg. The usual recommended serving is 1mL, with CBD amount per serving ranging from 3.3mg to 167mg.

For those who will be taking the product for the first time, it is advisable to start first with the lower dose before increasing the serving amount as needed.

Key Takeaway on Cannabinoids for Restless Leg Syndrome

The use of cannabinoids for restless legs syndrome is getting more attention due to its beneficial effects in the relief of various symptoms of RLS. While there are many studies on the use of CBD for Restless Leg Syndrome, more robust studies are still required to prove medical marijuana or cannabis as a treatment option.

CBD may help alleviate and relieve the symptoms. But RLS treatment remains an open field that requires more clinical trials to find a cure for this condition that affects the quality of life of thousands of individuals today.


Fry, Alexa. 2020. "Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)." Sleep Foundation, November 25, 2020.

"Restless Legs Syndrome." MedlinePlus, November 25, 2020.

Russo, Ethan, et al. 2020. "Cannabis, pain, and sleep: lessons from therapeutic clinical trials of Sativex, a cannabis-based medicine." PubMed.November 25, 2020.

Kluger, Benzi, et al. 2015."The Therapeutic Potential of Cannabinoids for Movement Disorder." NCBI, November 25, 2020.

Ghorayeb, Imad. 2020. "More evidence of cannabis efficacy in restless legs syndrome." PubMed. November 25, 2020.

Magelin, Thomas, et al. 2017. "Cannabis for Restless Leg Syndrome: A Report of Six Patients." ScienceDirect, November 25, 2020.

© 2020 Emmanuel Floriann


Emmanuel Floriann (author) from Philippines on November 30, 2020:

Thank you for your insights, Chitrangada Sharan!

Agree! Natural products are much safer with minimal adverse events under normal use. But like all else, abusive use may have detrimental effects.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on November 25, 2020:

An informative and well researched article about the restless leg syndrome. Natural products are much safer, with almost no side effects.

Thank you for sharing this excellent information.

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