CBD Gummies For Restless Leg Syndrome

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One of the sweetest parts of a long day is jumping into your comfy bed, feeling your body get heavy, and drifting off to sleep. For those who suffer from restless leg syndrome (RLS), this is almost impossible without the help of medication. With more research emerging about the potential benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) t Little research is available, but there is some evidence that CBD may help treat restless legs syndrome (RLS). Here’s what to know before using CBD for RLS. Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a chronic sensorimotor disorder characterized by an urge to move the legs. This urge is often accompanied by pain or other uncomfortable and unpleasant sensations, it either occurs or worsens during rest, particularly in the evening and/or at night, and temporarily im …

What Research Suggests: CBD For Restless Legs

One of the sweetest parts of a long day is jumping into your comfy bed, feeling your body get heavy, and drifting off to sleep. For those who suffer from restless leg syndrome (RLS), this is almost impossible without the help of medication.

With more research emerging about the potential benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) to support relaxation, discomfort in the muscles, and stress management, many people with RLS are turning towards CBD as a natural way to help them get a more restful sleep.

This article will investigate what the scientific literature says about CBD for RLS and how people are using it to manage their symptoms.

What Is Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)?

Also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, restless leg syndrome is classified as a One of the sweetest parts of a long day is getting to lay down and your comfy bed, feel your body get heavy, and drift off to sleep. For those who suffer from restless leg syndrome (RLS), this is almost impossible without the help of medication.

With more research emerging about the potential benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) to support relaxation, discomfort in the muscles, and stress management, many people with RLS are turning towards CBD as a natural way to help them get a more restful sleep.

This article will investigate what the scientific literature says about CBD for RLS and how people are using it to manage their symptoms.

What Is Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)?

Also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, restless leg syndrome is classified as a neurological sleep and movement disorder.

RLS usually affects people in the evenings before bed when they feel an extremely uncomfortable urge and deep aching to move their feet, legs, hands, arms, and even neck as they’re trying to sleep. The only relief they can get from this gnawing feeling is to move, but it can keep them up all night tossing and turning.

One of the strange things about this condition is that it’s almost exclusive to the evenings when one is trying to sleep, and it disappears the next morning. It’s common for people suffering from restless leg to sleep more in the day to catch up on the hours lost at night.

Restless legs syndrome is diagnosed into two categories:

1. Primary Restless Legs

Primary restless legs syndrome is idiopathic, which means it does not have a known cause, and it’s often left undiagnosed in many people. Some researchers suggest that it may be linked to genetics or low iron levels in the brain [1].

2. Secondary Restless Legs

Secondary restless legs are accompanied by other conditions such as Parkinson’s syndrome, thyroid dysfunction, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, pregnancy, or polyneuropathy.

Symptoms Of Restless Leg Syndrome

A doctor may diagnose a patient with restless leg syndrome or Willis Ekbom disease if they present with the following symptoms:

  • The urge to move limbs when resting
  • Tingling, pulling, or pain in the legs
  • More pronounced symptoms in the evenings
  • Aching legs after sitting or laying down
  • Constant motion, massage, bed-tossing to temporarily relieve symptoms

Your doctor may carry out a blood test to rule out possible vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and sometimes, a neurological examination is conducted. Another common test is the L-Dopa test, a reliable test that examines motor control symptoms related to Parkinson’s disease.

If the patient’s RLS symptoms improve while on L-dopa, it may suggest they have Parkinson’s or confirm RLS. However, if there are no improvements, doctors aren’t always quick to cross off RLS as a possibility as the relation between dopamine metabolism and this condition is still not well understood.

How Is Restless Legs Syndrome Treated?

Restless leg syndrome treatments can vary, depending on the severity of symptoms, but they will always include forms of self-care such as exercise recommendations and lifestyle changes to reduce stress on the body, such as quitting caffeine, alcohol, and smoking, along with relaxation techniques like meditation, breathing exercising, and yoga.

For more severe cases of restless legs syndrome, a patient may be prescribed medication such as L-dopa (Levodopa) to stimulate dopamine activity in the brain and nerve pain medication (opioids) to support comfort [2].

The FDA Has Not Approved CBD For Restless Legs Syndrome

While you’ll find many people on online forums raving about how CBD oil has helped them manage their RLS symptoms, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any CBD product on the market to treat RLS.

And if you’re suffering from severe restless leg syndrome, you should visit your doctor for medical advice before turning to CBD as an option.

CBD is the primary active compound in hemp cannabis plants, and its main interaction occurs in the endocannabinoid system, which is tasked with maintaining homeostasis (balance) to help our vital functions perform optimally.

Research surrounding CBD’s use in medicine has been growing, but it’s still in its early days. We’ll get into some of CBD’s potential to support the symptoms associated with restless leg syndrome below.

CBD May Support Healthy Dopamine Levels In The Brain

While it’s not definitive, some evidence correlates restless leg syndrome with low dopamine levels in the brain.

Dopamine is a hormone with a lot of jobs. One of them is to regulate purposeful muscle movement and coordination by modulating the motor control center in the brain (basal ganglia). It’s been observed that any disruptions in this pathway could result in involuntary movements like tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Endogenous cannabinoids (produced internally) help keep the dopamine system in balance. CBD supports the endocannabinoid system (ECS) by preventing the release of enzymes that break down cannabinoids.

These higher cannabinoids are like boosting your wi-fi signal to relay messages throughout the body much more efficiently.

CBD is also suggested to directly support the mesolimbic dopamine system, which is responsible for our motivation, reward-related motor function, and learning [3].

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CBD May Support Sleep Quality In Those Who Suffer From RLS

Insomnia is extremely prevalent in patients with RLS. The constant urge to move limbs at rest can leave them pacing their bedrooms or tossing and turning all night.

For most people, the symptoms seem to disappear in the day, and they can catch up on those lost hours of sleep—but that’s not always practical as there are commitments like school, work, caring for loved ones, and appointments to tend to in the day.

One of the popular reasons many people seek out CBD oil is to support restful sleep naturally. At large doses before bed, CBD may cause whole-body relaxation that primes the body for rest [4].

Another cannabinoid that has been gaining popularity for sleep support is CBN or cannabinol. It’s a minor cannabinoid that, when combined with CBD, shows greater potential for producing a sense of calm and relaxation that may help with restful sleep.

CBD May Help With Discomfort

People who experience more severe symptoms of restless leg syndrome report pain like pins and needles—kind of like that feeling you get when your foot falls asleep—which is likely caused by irritation of the nerves.

Doctors may prescribe RLS patients opioids to help mitigate the discomfort to help them fall asleep, but powerful opioids may not always be ideal as they’re highly addictive and come with a host of other side effects.

Many people find that CBD can provide them with gentle comfort for muscle-related soreness thanks to the endocannabinoid’s broad-acting effects of regulating our perception of pain.

There are currently no FDA-approved CBD products that contain CBD alone to manage pain, but research suggests that CBD combined with THC may prove effective in alleviating some muscle and nerve-related pain symptoms when taken in large doses [5].

CBD May Support Healthy Stress Levels

Stress is a common trigger for restless leg syndrome. Many patients report experiencing more severe symptoms during periods of stress in their lives, which is why many natural-based treatments for RLS involve stress management.

While stress is an important biological process in our central nervous system (CNS) designed for survival and motivation, too much stress is bad for us.

CBD has been down to activate the 5-HT1A serotonin receptors in the CNS, which moderates anxiety and nausea [5]. CBD oil in high doses has also been shown to affect GABA activity in the brain [6].

GABA is a neurotransmitter that counteracts the stress response brought on by cortisol. Higher levels of GABA in the brain helps to calm the central nervous system to enter the rest-and-digest mode.

How Do People Use CBD For Restless Leg?

Before you consider taking CBD oil for restless leg syndrome, you should consult your doctor to ensure it won’t cause any negative interactions with prescribed medications.

CBD is a versatile compound that’s now found in various products online and over-the-counter, from oils, capsules, gummies, lotions, and vape products. It’s important to know that what works for one person may not work for the next as CBD may affect individuals differently.

Based on anecdotal experiences of CBD oil users who suffer from restless leg syndrome, here are some pointers for shopping and using CBD oil effectively.

1. High Doses Of CBD

The studies conducted on the effectiveness of CBD towards sleep, discomfort, and stress used high doses of CBD upwards of 60MG per day.

If it’s your first time with CBD oil, you probably don’t want to dive too far into the deep end too fast, or you could end up with uncomfortable side effects. But you want a CBD product that will give you versatility in your dosing.

Our ultra-high potency 12,000MG CBD oil is perfect for this as it’s the most cost-effective option too. It delivers 200MG of CBD extract in every dropper full—but you can scale your doses as needed drop by drop.

2. Use Full Spectrum CBD Oil

Not all CBD extracts are made the same.

On the market, you’ll find two common types of hemp extract—full spectrum hemp extract, sometimes called whole-hemp extract, and CBD isolate, which only contains CBD.

Many experts agree that full spectrum CBD extracts will deliver the most potent effects as it contains a range of minor cannabinoids and terpenes to amplify and balance CBD’s actions in the body.

Full spectrum CBD extracts may have up to 0.3% THC, according to the US Farm Bill. While THC is federally legal, some states have strict restrictions around the compound, even in these trace quantities. Others may also want to steer clear from THC altogether due to sensitivities or potential medication interactions.

The next best option is broad spectrum CBD extracts. While less common, these extracts still contain other cannabinoids and terpenes but have undergone extra processing to eliminate traces of THC.

3. Take CBD Topically

Many people who need fast relief from restless leg syndrome will use ahigh-strength CBD topicallike a muscle rub or massage oil to deliver the benefits of CBD straight to the area of discomfort.

CBD topicals don’t enter the bloodstream. Instead, it interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors in the skin to support homeostasis. Unlike ingesting or smoking CBD, you can use CBD topicals as frequently as needed without the risk of discomfort associated with high doses of CBD like nausea, headaches, dizziness, and drowsiness.

The Takeaway: Can CBD Oil Help With Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)?

The research specific to CBD for restless leg isn’t sufficient, but we can expect more pre-clinical and clinical studies to investigate. Despite this, many people are still turning towards hemp-based cannabinoid use to improve one’s quality of life living with RLS and other movement disorders.

If you plan on using CBD for RLS, please check with your doctor first to ensure it’s safe and recommended for you.

The best treatments for RLS combine a mix of lifestyle changes, natural therapies, and doctor-prescribed medications to help alleviate severe symptoms. For example, RLS patients find that foot baths, massages, stress reduction therapies, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol help their condition.

You can check out our blog for more articles like this and how you can use CBD to support your health and wellness. You can also sign up to our Insider Scoop email list to receive industry updates straight to your inbox with exclusive Neurogan product offers.

Can CBD Help With Restless Legs Syndrome?

Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.

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Nicholas R. Metrus, MD, is a board-certified neurologist and neuro-oncologist. He currently serves at the Glasser Brain Tumor Center in Summit, New Jersey.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) causes unpleasant sensations in the legs, along with an overwhelming urge to move them.

Symptoms tend to be strongest in the evening, when you’re least active. They can also flare up when you lie down in bed. RLS can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, which can become a serious quality-of-life issue.

Some anecdotal evidence suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) may help ease symptoms of RLS. However, there haven’t been many studies focusing on CBD for RLS.

This article will cover the research, potential benefits, and side effects of using CBD for RLS, along with information about dosage and the types of CBD products that are available.

Atsushi Yamada / Taxi Japan / Getty Images

What Is CBD?

CBD is a cannabinoid, a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant.

It’s not the same as medical marijuana. Marijuana contains a significant amount of another cannabinoid called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the substance that produces psychoactive effects that make you feel “high.”

CBD is extracted from hemp. The difference between marijuana and hemp is the amount of THC. Hemp contains less than 0.3% THC, which isn’t enough to get you high.

THC vs. CBD

Cannabis is a plant of the Cannabaceae family. Cannabis products come from its leaves, stems, seeds, and flowering tops. Cannabis contains more than 120 naturally occurring substances called cannabinoids. THC and CBD are two of the main cannabinoids. THC is the substance that produces a high. CBD is a nonintoxicating substance that may have therapeutic effects.

Research Around CBD and RLS

There hasn’t been much research to assess the effectiveness of CBD in the treatment of RLS.

It does appear, however, that some people are using it for that purpose. In a small 2021 survey based primarily in the United Kingdom, more than 42% of respondents said they used CBD to improve sleep or for insomnia, while another 5% reported using CBD for RLS.

A small 2019 study on the efficacy of smoking cannabis for RLS suggests that regular use of cannabis may reduce symptoms of RLS. A notable limitation is that study participants smoked cannabis containing THC. It’s possible that results are distorted by THC’s psychoactive and antianxiety properties.

More large-scale studies on CBD and RLS are needed.

Types of CBD Products

The three main types of CBD products are:

  • CBD isolate: This type is also called “pure CBD” because all other cannabinoids have been removed.
  • Broad spectrum: This type contains three or more other cannabinoids. It may have terpenes and flavonoids, which provide aromas, flavors, and colors. It does not contain THC. : Also known as “whole flower CBD,” it’s almost the same as broad spectrum. However, it can contain up to 0.3% THC.

These products are available in many forms, including:

  • Oral tablets and capsules
  • Chewables and gummies
  • Tinctures, oils, and extracts
  • Patches, creams, and lotions
  • Spray

What to Look for in CBD Products for RLS

Once you decide on the type of CBD product, it’s important to look for a reputable source.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some CBD products are marketed with unproven medical claims and are of unknown quality. The agency hasn’t approved any nonprescription CBD products.

CBD products sold in dispensaries must have a label that lists exactly how much CBD it contains. It should also state whether it contains THC.

If you don’t have access to a dispensary, another good option is a trusted pharmacy. You can also buy CBD products online, but be careful about the source. One study of online CBD products found that:

  • 31% were accurately labeled.
  • 43% had more CBD than labeled.
  • 26% had less CBD than labeled.

No matter where you get CBD, always ask for a certificate of analysis (COA). This document provides information such as:

  • The date of the report, so you know it’s recent
  • The name of the third-party lab that performed the testing, along with its license number
  • The potency of a variety of cannabinoids, including CBD and THC
  • Whether the product passed safety tests for contaminants

Things to avoid:

  • Illegally sold synthetic CBD products, including those marketed as “bath salts” or “spice,” which can cause a psychotic reaction in some people
  • CBD added to food or labeled as a dietary supplement, which is illegal
  • Products that claim to prevent or cure a health condition
  • Products that list only “total cannabinoids” rather than breaking them down separately
  • Products without a COA

CBD Dosage for RLS

The FDA has approved prescription CBD products for the treatment of certain seizure disorders. The agency hasn’t granted approval for any other use. And because research on CBD for RLS is limited, there’s no standardized dose.

It’s best to start with a low dose and build up slowly, if needed. Discuss dosing with a healthcare provider or pharmacist and ask about possible interactions with any medicines or supplements you take.

Benefits of CBD for RLS

People from all walks of life are using CBD for specific health conditions, including RLS and sleep problems. Many say CBD helps in the absence of conventional medicine alternatives and with few troublesome side effects.

Since research specific to CBD for RLS is scarce, the benefits are unclear. If you try CBD for RLS, it may be helpful to keep a journal of the CBD product, dose, and your response. Over time, this may clarify whether it’s beneficial for you.

Side Effects of CBD for RLS

CBD is a naturally derived product, but natural products can cause side effects. Side effects of CBD can include:

  • Sleepiness
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Upset stomach
  • Irritability

Due to limited controlled studies, there’s not enough information to properly assess risks such as:

  • Cumulative effects
  • Food interactions
  • Effects on older populations, children, and adolescents
  • Effects during pregnancy or while breastfeeding
  • Interactions with common medications

There may be an increased risk of liver damage in people who take medicines that affect the liver. There may be interactions between CBD and immunosuppressive drugs used for organ transplants, as well as with chemotherapy or Coumadin or Jantoven (warfarin).

Other Treatment Options

There’s no cure for RLS, though it’s possible to minimize symptoms and improve sleep. You may not need treatment if your symptoms are mild.

  • Avoid or cut back on alcohol and tobacco.
  • Set up a regular sleep schedule, going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning.
  • Perform leg-stretching exercises and massage your legs as needed.
  • Take a warm bath before bed.
  • Apply an ice pack or heating pad to your legs.
  • Try a compression foot wrap or a pad that delivers vibration to the back of your legs.
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Medications to treat RLS include drugs that affect dopamine levels, such as:

  • Requip (ropinirole)
  • Mirapex (pramipexole)
  • Neupro (rotigotine)

Sometimes, anti-seizure drugs can help with symptoms of RLS. These include:

    or gabapentin enacarbil

If those medications don’t work, opioids may be an option. These may include:

  • Methadone
  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone

Benzodiazepines such as clonazepam and lorazepam may help improve sleep.

Each of these drugs can produce serious side effects. It’s important to discuss the potential benefits and side effects with your healthcare provider.

Is Medical Marijuana Effective for RLS?

Research on the use of medical marijuana for RLS is limited. There are reports of total remission, suggesting that more scientific research, including controlled trials, is warranted. Marijuana contains THC, which can get you high. It also contains other substances that produce different side effects than CBD does.

Summary

RLS causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs along with a powerful urge to move them. Symptoms usually occur in the evening, when you’re at rest or in bed.

RLS can make it very difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep, which can have a negative effect on your quality of life. There are medicines to treat RLS, but they don’t help everyone.

CBD is one of hundreds of cannabinoids in cannabis plants. Unlike THC, it doesn’t produce a high. CBD is available in many forms, including chewables, tinctures, and sprays.

It appears that many people have used CBD for symptoms of RLS. And many report that it helps without causing serious side effects.

Unfortunately, CBD for RLS is not well studied. There’s a lack of information regarding proper dosing and the effects of long-term use.

A Word From Verywell

Living with RLS can be challenging, especially if lifestyle changes or medicines aren’t helping. If you’re considering trying CBD, it’s a good idea to speak with a healthcare provider first. Be sure to mention other health conditions you have, as well as any medications and supplements you’re taking.

A healthcare provider or pharmacist can help you decide if CBD is right for you and possibly suggest a starting dose. All CBD products are not alike. If you’re purchasing CBD online, make sure it’s a reliable source and you have access to a COA. And, of course, stay away from products that claim to prevent or cure RLS.

Frequently Asked Questions

It varies a lot from person to person. It could be several hours to a full day. Factors such as metabolism, dose, method of administration, and how often you use it all play a role.

While there are anecdotal reports of improvement and even some of total remission, there’s not enough scientific data to put a number on it.

It appears that most people are able to tolerate CBD with minimal side effects. But it’s important to remember that research on dosing, administration, and cumulative effects is in its infancy.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

Morales P, Hurst DP, Reggio PH. Molecular Targets of the Phytocannabinoids: A Complex Picture. Prog Chem Org Nat Prod. 2017;103:103-131. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-45541-9_4

Bonn-Miller MO, Loflin MJE, Thomas BF, Marcu JP, Hyke T, Vandrey R. Labeling accuracy of cannabidiol extracts sold online. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11909

Valdes-Donoso P, Sumner DA, Goldstein R. Costs of cannabis testing compliance: Assessing mandatory testing in the California cannabis market. PLoS One. 2020;15(4):e0232041. Published 2020 Apr 23. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0232041

Corroon J, Phillips JA. A cross-sectional study of cannabidiol users. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2018;3(1):152-161. doi:10.1089/can.2018.0006

By Ann Pietrangelo
Ann Pietrangelo is a freelance writer, health reporter, and author of two books about her personal health experiences.

Cannabis for Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a chronic sensorimotor disorder characterized by an urge to move the legs. This urge is often accompanied by pain or other uncomfortable and unpleasant sensations, it either occurs or worsens during rest, particularly in the evening and/or at night, and temporarily improves with activity. Affecting nearly 3% of the North American and European populations in its moderate-to-severe form, RLS has a considerable negative impact on the quality of life, and sleep and is associated with significant morbidity. Although new developments have deepened our understanding of the disorder, yet, the corresponding pathophysiologic features that underlie the sensorimotor presentation are still not fully understood. Usually, symptoms respond well to dopamine agonists (DA), anticonvulsants, or opiates, used either alone or in any combination, but still, a subset of patients remains refractory to medical therapy and serious side effects such as augmentation and impulse control disorder may occur in patients with RLS under DA. Convincing treatment alternative are lacking but recently patients’ spontaneous reports of a remarkable and total remission of RLS symptoms following cannabis use has been reported. The antinociceptive effect of marijuana has been documented in many painful neurological conditions and the potential benefit of cannabis use in patients with refractory RLS should, therefore, be questioned by robust clinical trials. Here, we review basic knowledge of RLS and the putative mechanisms by which cannabis may exert its analgesic effects.

Keywords: Cannabis; Restless legs syndrome; Treatment.

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