Many people in the world suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) which is characterized by a disorder in a part of the nervous system resulting in the urge to move the legs (as well as other parts of the body). It is also sometimes considered a sleep disorder, because the uncomfortable and painful sensations in the legs often interfere with sleep. Cannabidiol (CBD) combined with Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been proven to help with sleep disorders as well as a variety of neuropathic pain symptoms. Sadly, there has been few clinical trials applying this medical cannabis treatment to RLS. However, there has been increasing amount of evidence from certain patients’ experiences with medical cannabis that show relief for the sensations and pain felt with RLS.
The current treatment for RLS involves “dopaminergic" agents along, an alpha-2-delta ligand subunit drug, and other medications that are not approved by the FDA for treating RLS.” (Bainbridge, 2015) The result is essentially an increase of dopamine activity in the brain. The negatives to this treatment is that too much of an increase of dopaminergic agents have been known to have an “inhibitory effect on movement; increased blood pressure, especially systolic pressure, as well as urinary output; it is also used as a cardiac stimulant.” (2012) According to the research done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the main receptors that are affected by cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are “the CB1 receptor found on neurons and glial cells in various parts of the brain, and the CB2 receptor found mainly in the body’s immune system.” (Volkow, 2015) When CBD and THC interact with those cannabinoid receptors in the brain, a variety of psychoactive effects occur on areas “including motor activity, coordination and pain relief by inhibiting prostaglandin biosynthesis and thus blocking pain receptor pathways.” (Bainbridge, 2015) It is important to note that the main psychoactive ingredient is THC, whereas CBD is the major non-psychoactive component. Records show that products that are high in CBD and low in THC produce the desired effects while lacking many of the unwanted side effects on mental processes. Subsequently, a combination of CBD and THC is efficiently being applied to disorders related to pain and muscle spasms, resulting in noticeable improvement. (Frankel, 2014) Patients experiencing painful and spontaneous spasms in their limbs due to RLS may see a huge benefit in exploring CBD oils as a medical alternative.
In what has been researched and experienced by patients so far, ingestion of cannabinoids typically does not seem to efficiently treat RLS symptoms. However, when CBD is inhaled even very severe symptoms of RLS is relieved in minutes. (Bainbridge, 2015) The symptoms of RLS are characterized by pain and tension in the limbs that result in spontaneous movement, especially while at rest, most often interfering with sleep. Based on different patient experiences, usually when patients have inhaled a vaporized concentration of CBD oils, they are able to relax the muscle spasms and even encourage restful sleep. So in the area of sleep and relaxation of the muscles, CBD oils could be the best natural alternative to relieve and help with these symptoms.
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