Understanding how a CBD muscle relaxant could work for your patients first requires some knowledge of the body’s endocannabinoid system. CBD is effective at controlling and preventing muscle spasms. In this read, we will be looking at how CBD can be used for muscle tension & spasms. When your muscles are tight and stiff, you want immediate relief. But prescription medications don’t magically know which muscles to target, and easing a neck or shoulder spasm should not necessitate impairing your entire central nervous system with sedating pain medications or muscle relaxers. Thankfully CBD is a natu
Is CBD an effective muscle relaxant?
At the end of a long workday, when our bodies hurt, we often turn to popular prescription medications.
Medications such as Flexeril or Valium offer a quick fix to muscle spasm, pain, soreness, and tension.
Unfortunately, these medications come with a laundry list of troubling side effects and can be highly habit-forming, leading to problems more severe than muscle pain down the road.
Cannabidiol—CBD, a substance derived from the industrial hemp plant—is showing massive promise as an alternative to prescriptions as a safe, effective muscle relaxant.
Understanding how CBD may work as a muscle relaxant first requires some knowledge of the body’s endocannabinoid system.
The human endocannabinoid system
The importance of the body’s endocannabinoid system is increasingly being recognized in the scientific and medical communities; the endocannabinoid system affects virtually every other physiological system in the body, a fact which may explain the far-reaching medicinal benefits associated with CBD and other cannabinoids.
Chemical messengers moderate all sorts of functions in our brains and bodies. For example, neurotransmitters such as serotonin release from a presynaptic cell, travel across the synapse (the space between neurons) and attach to a postsynaptic cell.
Endocannabinoids—cannabinoids made inside our bodies, such as anandamide and 2-AG—work oppositely. They release from the post-synaptic cell, flow across the synapse, and land on the presynaptic cell. This process allows the postsynaptic cell a flow-control mechanism, telling the presynaptic cell when it’s had enough or needs more of a particular chemical messenger.
CBD as a muscle relaxant
When a muscle contracts, it is due to these chemical messengers originating from the central nervous system, going to a muscle, and forcing it to contract. Without a proper supply of endocannabinoids, there is nothing to slow down these excessive chemicals, causing muscles to contract continuously. An insufficient supply of endocannabinoids is a medical condition called Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency, or CECD.
CBD directly aids in slowing down this flow of chemical messengers, and it also boosts the body’s supply of endocannabinoids, resulting in a two-fold effect: assisting with muscle relaxation and reducing spasticity.
CBD and chronic stress
Additionally, muscle rigidity, tension, and spasticity can be the result of chronic stress or overwork. CBD shows great promise in helping reduce high anxiety levels, which in and of itself creates a huge health bonus to the body and quality of life in general.
A 2015 study in Neurotherapeutics notes: “Overall, current evidence indicates CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders, with need for further study of chronic and therapeutic effects in relevant clinical populations.”
If you feel less anxious and stressed after taking CBD, you may be more inclined to hit the gym or a yoga class after work, instead of vegging out in front of the TV or computer.
CBD or THC: Which is better for muscle relaxation?
While CBD alone works well for aiding muscle relaxation, studies in mice, including 2010 research published in Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, have demonstrated that an equal combination of THC and CBD is even more effective. (We aren’t recommending you run out and smoke marijuana, but merely stating what the research shows.) For muscle relaxation, CBD creams and topicals are the most recommended form of consumption.
As with any natural product, always consult your health care provider before embarking on any natural products regimen.
CBD Oil for Muscle Spasms: Is Cannabidiol an Effective Treatment?
CBD is a great way to relieve the symptoms of muscle spasms.
In this article, we will be looking at the best CBD for muscle spasms.
We’ll cover how it works, what dose to use, what forms work best, and what side-effects to watch out for.
What Are Muscle Spasms?
Muscle spasms, also known as muscle cramps, are the result of involuntary contractions. Muscle spasms can become an issue if they cannot be relaxed naturally.
Anyone can suffer from muscle spasms with the most common muscle groups being the thighs, claws, arms, hands, and feet.
Pain levels range from mild annoyance to severe pain.
When you suffer from muscle spasms, the affected muscle may feel harder and look distorted. This is due to the involuntary contractions. These spasms can last a few seconds to 10 minutes or more.
Muscle spasms can happen at any time to people of all ages. When you’re exercising, sitting still, sleeping, or even walking to the shop you can experience these cramps.
Some people suffer more than others. People with diabetes, anemia, MS, spinal injuries, or kidney disease can suffer more from this issue than people in good health.
What Causes Muscle Spasms?
Whether you suffer from the above ailments or not, there are a few common issues that can cause muscle spasms. See the list below.
- Insufficient stretching before physical activity
- Muscle fatigue
- Physical activity in hot climates
- Electrolyte imbalances
- Too much caffeine
- Exhaustion and lack of sleep
- Certain prescription medications
Methods to Reduce or Prevent Muscle Spasms
As well as using CBD for muscle spasms there are some ways you can reduce or prevent the spasms entirely. Of course, if you suffer from a disease, illness, or take medication that causes muscle spasms, these pointers may not help.
If you regularly suffer from muscle spasms, then implementing a few of the points below may help you:
- Stay hydrated
- Make sure to stretch before strenuous activity
- Try and lower your stress levels (CBD is great for this)
- Get a full 8 hours rest at night
- Take mineral supplements that include magnesium, potassium, and sodium
- If prescription meds are causing issues, speak with your doctor about alternatives
- Cut down on the caffeine
- Avoid over-exercising
Muscle Spasms & the Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system is made up of cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. It’s a complex cell-signaling system that was first identified in the 1990s.
Regardless of whether you use CBD or other cannabis products, this system is part of everyone’s biology.
Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids made inside the body. They help regulate a range of functions and processes. See the list below for a few of these.
- Mood and emotion
- Immune response
In the same way that endocannabinoids interact with the body, cannabinoids from the hemp plant do as well — including CBD. They do this by interacting with CB1 and CB2 receptors.
CB1 receptors have been identified predominantly in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). They’ve also been found in connective tissues, the intestines, gonads, and other peripheral organs.
CB2 receptors have been identified in white blood cells, the spleen, tonsils, thymus, and lymphatic system.
CBD and other cannabinoids interact with these receptors. Studies have shown that CBD impacts receptor activity. They can interact with neurotransmitters, reduce inflammation, and aid in pain relief.
When a muscle contracts, causing cramps and spasms, it’s because of a chemical message from the central nervous system. The body’s endocannabinoid system can take care of this and reduce contractions and pain.
If the body struggles to produce enough endocannabinoids to stop these chemical signals, then muscle spasms will continue to cause discomfort.
This is where CBD comes in.
CBD interacts with the CB1 receptors in the central nervous system and effectively slows the chemical signals that are causing the spasms .
This results in muscle relaxation and fewer muscle contractions. Pain relief coincides with these effects.
Can CBD Relieve Muscle Spasms?
As mentioned in the last section, CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to relieve muscle spasms and the pain associated with it.
CBD Relaxes the Muscles
CBD is a great muscle relaxant. Unlike painkillers, muscle relaxants work to solve the issue of muscle cramps rather than just numbing the pain that results from it.
The beauty of CBD is that it gets to the root of the problem and influences the chemical signals that cause muscle spasms (as mentioned in the last section).
Unlike spasmolytic and neuromuscular blockers, CBD has few negative side effects and works with your body’s natural functions rather than against them.
Spasmolytic muscle relaxants are particularly dangerous, especially for older people. They can increase heart rate, and blood pressure, and can be incredibly addictive as this type of medication is part of the opioid group.
CBD certainly isn’t dangerous, doesn’t increase the heart rate, and there are no documented cases of addiction to the cannabinoid.
CBD Reduces Stress
CBD helps reduce stress which can be a trigger for muscle spasms.
There is a lot to say about CBD reducing stress and anxiety . The cannabinoid is commonly used to help these problems by people all over the world.
Although stress is not directly related to muscle spasms, it can be one of the reasons you’re experiencing these issues.
It’s important to address the cause of an issue. If stress is giving you muscle spasms, you should work toward reducing or eliminating it completely. Lowering stress levels using CBD could be a great long-term treatment if stress is the cause.
CBD Can Aid Sleep
Lack of sleep and exhaustion can cause muscles to spasm. CBD can help you get to sleep faster and achieve a full nights’ rest.
If you struggle with sleep, high-doses of CBD before bedtime can help you doze off into a deep sleep. Stress is often the cause of lack of sleep, so both factors go hand in hand.
Some research shows that CBD can have an effect on cortisol levels .
Cortisol regulates your sleep cycle. Some people (particularly insomnia sufferers) have high levels of cortisol at night which keeps them awake.
Taking high doses of CBD at night can decrease cortisol levels, getting you to sleep easier and faster.
CBD Aids Muscle Recovery
CBD is believed to aid in muscle recovery . Many athletes and fitness fanatics use CBD as it can speed up the muscle recovery process.
If you’re experiencing muscle spasms after exercise or excessive physical activity, this benefit will help you get instant and long-term relief.
During strenuous exercise, the muscles tear and rebuild during the recovery period. During this period some people experience cramping and spasms. If you can recover more efficiently you will experience less discomfort.
How Much CBD to Take for Muscle Spasms?
High-potency CBD oil is the best treatment for muscle spasms.
How much you take will depend on you and how your body reacts to the CBD. If you’ve never used CBD before it’s best to start small and work your way up.
The dosage needed to stop muscle spasms will vary from person to person, so a bit of self-experimentation is needed to find your balance. Steadily increase your dosages until you get the effect you’re looking for.
Oils are the easiest way to find out how many milligrams of CBD you need to control muscle spasms. You can adjust the dosage by increasing or decreasing the drops of oil taken.
Final Thoughts: Does CBD Work for Muscle Spasms?
CBD is a great way to reduce muscle spasms and pain you may have as a result of them. Unlike other muscle relaxants and painkillers, CBD has few negative effects on your body and is a natural product.
As well as solving the problem directly, CBD has a number of benefits that work together to reduce muscle spasms for the long-term.
If you got to the end of this read, you’ll know exactly how CBD can help muscle spasms and what to look for when it comes time to purchase a treatment.
If you have any questions about CBD and muscle spasms, please comment down below.
Thanks for reading.
References Used in This Article
- Shenglong Zou and Ujendra Kumar. (2018). Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System. International journal of molecular science,19(3): 833.
- Esther M. Blessing, Maria M. Steenkamp, Jorge Manzanares, and Charles R. Marmar. (2015). Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Springer Neurotherapeutics, 12(4): 825–836.
- Scott Shannon, Nicole Lewis, Heather Lee, and Shannon Hughes. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente Journal, 23: 18-041.
- Danielle McCartney, Melissa J. Benson, Ben Desbrow, Christopher Irwin, Anastasia Suraev, and Iain S. McGregor. (2020). Cannabidiol and Sports Performance: a Narrative Review of Relevant Evidence and Recommendations for Future Research. Springer Sports Medicine-Open, 6: 27.
Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.
Have Muscle Tightness or Spasms? Why CBD is an Effective Muscle Relaxant
When your muscles are tight and stiff, you want immediate relief. But prescription medications don’t magically know which muscles to target, and easing a neck or shoulder spasm should not necessitate impairing your entire central nervous system with sedating pain medications or muscle relaxers. Thankfully CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant that works topically through the body’s own endocannabinoid system to inhibit the release of the neurotransmitters that cause muscle rigidity and spasms to occur.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CBD PAIN RELIEF PRODUCTS
YES, CBD HELPS RELAX MUSCLES TO RELIEVE SPASMS AND TIGHTNESS
More and more, people are turning to full-spectrum CBD pain relief products to alleviate muscle strain and spasms. CBD offers a natural, safe, and non-invasive way to alleviate pain and relax the muscles. More importantly, it does so without any alarming side effects.
To understand how CBD works, it’s important to first introduce you to the endocannabinoid system. As one of the primary regulatory systems in the human body, it helps maintain homeostasis by communicating with the other regulatory systems. Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found everywhere, including the brain, organs, glands, and tissues, as well as in the skin cells. It is through the endocannabinoid receptors in the skin that topical CBD, also known as transdermal CBD, enters the system.
When your muscles are in spasm it means your body is out of balance, and this causes your endocannabinoid system to work harder to help your body return to its homeostatic state. The introduction of CBD from an external source, such as a topical CBD anti-inflammatory, can immediately help the body achieve the pain-free level of homeostasis it desires. This happens because:
RECOMMENDED CBD PRODUCTS FOR RELAXING MUSCLES
Depending on your desired outcome, CBD can be taken orally or topically. As a muscle relaxant, we recommend taking CBD topically so it can penetrate and interact with the muscle directly. When applied directly to the affected areas, CBD effectively calms localized muscle spasms, tension, and inflammation.
Full-spectrum CBD is a powerful muscle relaxer and pain reliever, but it is even more potent when it is blended with other active ingredients, such as lidocaine, menthol, and arnica. That is why Botanika Life offers a full line of CBD products blended with soothing botanicals to calm and relax your muscles while helping eliminate the stress that contributes to muscle tension.
- Ultra-Relief Muscle Pain Rub with CBD. This muscle-focused salve contains over 1500 mg of full-spectrum CBD. This concentrated formula delivers immediate and significant relief for muscle spasms from the moment it is absorbed by your skin. It comes with our signature chrome spatula, so you can spoon the formula right onto your hands. Once you warm it by rubbing your palms together, it can be massaged directly into the strained muscle area for instant relaxation and relief.
- Pain Relief Roller with CBD, Lidocaine, and Menthol. This is a portable and powerful pain relief roll-on that provides a clean, easy, and hands-free way to help immediately alleviate muscle pain and spasms. With anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, this blend of CBD, lidocaine, and menthol is a mess-free and convenient way to relax the specific muscles that are hurting.
VIEW ALL CBD PAIN RELIEF PRODUCTS
OTHER PRODUCTS WHICH WILL HELP RELIEVE MUSCLES SPASMS AND TENSION
- Cryo Massage Roller . You can use this tool by itself or accompanied by one of the above CBD treatments for the ultimate relief for muscle spasms or tension. Place the cryo massage roller in the freezer, let it reach chilly temperatures, and then roll it on top of the troubled area.
- CBD Bath Bombs . We’d be remiss not to mention the soothing properties of a nice warm bath enriched with a luxury CBD bath bomb. Not only can the hot water encourage healthy circulation and full-body relaxation, but the plant-based bath bombs will invite the pain-relieving properties of CBD to enter the body through inhalation and the skin.
“Botanika products are a superior product that my clients and I are using to help expedite the healing process. As a Chiropractor and Strength Coach that works with a variety of athletes, these products have been super helpful for clients to provide a boost in their recovery process both in and outside of the clinic!” — Jeremy Scott Dinkin, Owner/Chiropractor at RSM Sports Medicine & Rehab
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN FINDING CBD PRODUCTS FOR RELAXING MUSCLE SPASMS
CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it is one of the many compounds that come from the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, which is the compound that makes people feel high, CBD does not have an impairing effect. Therefore, it can be taken orally or topically to increase overall health and wellness, decrease anxiety, improve sleep, relax muscles, and decrease inflammation and pain.
As is true for all plant-based ingredients, many factors contribute to the quality of CBD.
The first thing we suggest you seek out is a muscle relaxant that uses full-spectrum CBD . After the leaves and flowers of cannabis plants are harvested and dried, they undergo processing to extract CBD. An oil that only includes cannabidiol is a CBD isolate. But a CBD oil that also includes all the terpenes, cannabinoids, chemical compounds, and phytocannabinoids including Cannabigerol (CBG) and Cannabinol (CBN). It also contains a minuscule amount of THC (a concentration of 0.3% or less), an amount so little that it’s legal in the United States and won’t produce a psychoactive effect.
The chemical compounds found in full-spectrum CBD work together to produce what’s called the entourage effect, which means they work more effectively together than when a single cannabinoid is isolated. Full-spectrum CBD oil also requires less processing, because all the compounds are kept together, rather than pulling out just the CBD extract.
While CBD is not harmful, the degree of benefit that you derive from it depends on the quality of the hemp, as well as the way the product is harvested and formulated. Do not purchase any CBD muscle relaxant and pain relief products without first investigating the source of the plants, the extraction process, and the formula. More specifically, consider:
- Is this muscle relief product made with full-spectrum CBD?
- Is the CBD sourced from organically grown hemp? Is it free of pesticides and grown in the USA?
- Does the company utilize third-party lab testing? Can I see those results?
- Are the products organic, vegan, and never tested on animals?
For an example of a CBD company that prioritizes transparency and quality, look no further than Botanika Life. All our muscle relaxants and pain relief products are gluten-free, sustainable, natural, cruelty-free, clean, safe, 3 rd party lab-tested, and made in the USA.
WHY CONSIDER CBD INSTEAD OF IBUPROFEN AND ASPIRIN FOR MUSCLE SPASMS & PAIN
We can’t talk about relief for muscle spasms without talking about the elephant in the room, NSAIDs like ibuprofen and aspirin. While many of us are conditioned to reach for the bottle when we experience an ache, do we even know what we’re putting in our bodies?
Understand that NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. When an injury impairs your cells, they release prostaglandins to alert the system through pain. When you take an NSAID, it works by preventing injured cells from making prostaglandins, which in turn makes the pain less severe. However, these NSAIDs can be extremely harmful to the digestive system . Frequent use can affect the digestive tract, causing ulcers, stomach irritation, and/or reflux.
HOW CAN I PREVENT MUSCLE PAIN FROM HAPPENING IN THE FIRST PLACE?
CBD is not the only way to keep muscle pain at bay. To keep your muscles strong and spasm-free, also consider the following:
- Engaging with a personal trainer to learn proper form for exercising
- Stretching before intense workouts
- Drinking plenty of water to prevent muscle spasms associated with dehydration.
- Giving your body time to recover by working out different muscles when working out back-to-back
- Choosing foods that help combat inflammation. These include:
- Cherry juice
- Foods rich in Vitamin D such as eggs and fish
- Foods rich in Magnesium, such as bananas and almonds
WHY TRUST BOTANIKA LIFE FOR MUSCLE-RELAXING CBD PRODUCTS
Botanika Life is committed to seeing you live your best life – and you cannot do that when you are living with pain. If you are suffering from occasional or chronic muscle spasms, tension, or pain, CBD can help.
We employ only the best ingredients (verified through public-facing third-party lab testing results ) and proudly create formulas that use only all-natural, plant-based ingredients. What’s more, we’re a company built on passion, experience, and a commitment to our customers. In fact, if our products don’t provide the desired muscle pain relief and relaxing properties, we’ll reimburse you within 30 days of your purchase.
BY STACEY SHABTAI, CO-FOUNDER OF BOTANIKA LIFE
Model, entrepeneur, and certified nutritionist Stacey Shabtai has made wellness education and accessibility her life’s mission. A leading proponent of CBD health benefits, she has appeared in DuJour, Haute Living, and Elevate Magazine.