If you have restless leg syndrome, you’re already familiar with the symptoms: discomfort and physical agitation no matter how you toss, turn, or arrange your pillows and blankets. This often manifests as sensations of tingling, itching, burning, or even the feeling of insects crawling on your legs. Some people also experience cramping of their leg, foot, and toe muscles, despite efforts to relax and massage them out.
Recently, many sufferers of RLS have begun considering CBD as a supplement to their treatment plan. And it is no surprise! CBD has been shown to reduce many of the symptoms of RLS, allowing them to relax and get a better night’s sleep. If you haven’t tried CBD for restless leg syndrome yet, here are some reasons you might want think about adding it to your therapy plan.
CBD is a natural, plant-based therapy option
CBD is a natural chemical compound found in the Cannabis sativa plant. It’s what is known as a phytocannabinoid, of which there are more than 100 known varieties. The interesting thing about phytocannabinoids is their similarities to endocannabinoids, which are manufactured by the human body.
Your body has an endocannabinoid system, also known as the ECS, which is connected to your central and peripheral nervous systems. Endocannabinoids are made naturally by your body to bind with receptors in these systems, helping regulate a wide range of bodily functions. These include temperature, mood, sleep cycles, appetite, and the sensations transmitted from nerves to the brain.
While most phytocannabinoids don’t interact directly with central or peripheral nervous system receptors, they can boost the effectiveness of endocannabinoids and make endocannabinoids last longer in the body.
If you’re struggling with issues normally regulated by the ECS, supplementing with phytocannabinoids might help better balance your body and relieve symptoms of chronic illnesses, including RLS.
Is CBD legal for restless leg syndrome sufferers?
For a long time, people hesitated to try CBD due to its non-legal status. CBD is derived from cannabis plants, which also contain the psychoactive cannabinoid THC. Despite their differences, CBD and THC were unfairly lumped together. This not only affected CBD’s legality, but also its reputation, giving people the wrong idea about the natural supplement.
This changed when support for legal CBD became too loud to ignore. In 2018 the US Farm Bill was introduced as a solution: plants with low levels of THC could be cultivated for CBD production, but they had to fall below a certain concentration. This standard was set at 0.3% THC.
Any plant with a THC level below that standard has since been classifed as industrial hemp. And any CBD product sourced from industrial hemp is legal on federal level, given that it has been tested and proven to fall below the 0.3% standard.
Since then CBD manufacturers have worked hard developing and brining to market strains of C. sativa that were specially grown and adapted to have extremely low THC and high CBD content.
How to ensure you’re getting legal CBD
The main thing to remember when buying CBD products is THC level. As mentioned above, any cannabis plants with over 0.3% THC is considered marijuana and illegal on a federal level. This means you’ll want verification that your CBD was derived from industrial hemp.
The quality of the plants should also be a concern; you’ll want to make sure the industrial hemp your CBD was sourced from was grown in a healthy, clean environment. A vendor should be able to prove this to your satisfaction.
All Yummy CBD products are sourced from organically grown industrial hemp, so you aren’t getting a bunch of pesticides, heavy metals, or other contaminants along with your CBD.
To ensure the strength and quality of our CBD products, we have each batch tested by a third party lab. They double-check the dosage of CBD, as well as the concentration of THC, confirming that it falls below the legal limit. Then, we put a QR code linking to the official test document right on the packaging, making it easy to see the results for yourself.
All you have to do is scan the QR code, and you’ll instantly gain access to the exact chemical makeup of your CBD purchase. This not only holds manufacturers accountable, but also gives consumers peace of mind, knowing that they’re using a legal, safe product that has been thoroughly vetted.
Understanding Restless Leg Syndrome
Now that we know the basics regarding CBD, let’s move onto restless leg syndrome, or RLS.
The exact statistics surrounding RLS are hazy, since many people don’t come forward about their experiences or seek formal diagnosis. However, RLS is thought to potentially affect one out of ten people in the U.S. alone, making it a fairly common condition.
What Causes RLS?
The cause of RLS is hotly debated. Across various patient demographics, there seems to be many factors involved that could be related to restless leg syndrome. If no clear reason is found, it’s considered to be idiopathic, meaning there’s no apparent source to blame for the symptoms.
There is a lot of correlative data about RLS. Topping the “potential causes” list is the hereditary quality of RLS; many people with the condition seem to have family members who experienced the onset of RLS before the age of 40. This implies that certain gene variants might contribute to the development of RLS.
Other potential contributors to RLS include low iron levels in the brain, sleep apnea, end-stage renal disease being treated by hemodialysis, and neuropathy. Being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease also increases chances of developing RLS: this disorder affects the brain’s ability to use dopamine, resulting in involuntary movements and sensations.
Finally, many patients with RLS have also been found to have underlying inflammatory or autoimmune conditions. This suggests a link between inflammatory or autoimmune diseases and restless leg syndrome. It also tracks with general trends; RLS is more common in women, who also suffer in greater numbers from these other conditions.
Symptoms of RLS
The most commonly-described symptom of RLS is the uncontrollable urge to move one’s legs, usually at night. Patients also report various uncomfortable sensations in their lower limbs that they may have trouble describing.
The most common words used to explain the sensations include:
RLS typically affects the legs, hence the name, but there are cases in which patients have reported similar symptoms affecting the arms, chest, or head. Normally, RLS happens more or less evenly on both sides of the body, but occasionally a patient will only experience symptoms in one leg, or symptoms will seem to alternate between sides.
Symptoms can vary between being mildly annoying to severely disruptive and painful. One person might experience slight crawling sensations as he tries to fall asleep, while another might suffer from painful aches throughout the night.
Interestingly, symptoms seem to decrease in the early morning; many patients report being able to lay still and fall asleep undisturbed for a few hours every morning. These people often become night owls, staying up late to avoid unproductive hours spent in bed. However, sleep deprivation only leads to further problems, exacerbating the situation.
People with RLS also find that their symptoms get worse over time, and that getting a good night’s sleep becomes harder and harder as the years go by. The persistent, progressive nature of RLS makes it exhausting and difficult to treat, leaving many people with a hopeless outlook.
There is no standard treatment for restless leg syndrome, so finding ways to address RLS symptoms directly is the best way to find relief and return to a normalized sleep cycle.
Traditional RLS treatment
To obtain regular treatment, it’s necessary to get a professional medical diagnosis of restless leg syndrome. Most doctors use a process of elimination to arrive at this diagnosis. Once they’ve ruled out any potential causes, they may recommend a range of traditional medications to try to suppress symptoms.
Most prescription medications given by doctors to relieve RLS symptoms were developed for other uses. The most commonly prescribed medications are those designed to increase dopamine availability in the brain. However, these medications can cause lightheadedness, fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and impulse control problems.
Another class of medications affect calcium channels, and are typically prescribed for people with neuropathy or nerve pain. These often work well for people with RLS, but aren’t appropriate for all patients.
When other medications fail, a classic fall back is to side-step the symptoms by forcing the body to sleep. This is usually done with sleep aids or muscle relaxers. Neither of these eliminate the sensations, but they can help you fall asleep.
However, a notable risk of these medications is daytime drowsiness, which can make it dangerous and irresponsible to drive. You also shouldn’t drink alcohol if you’re taking muscle relaxers on a regular basis. Many people also feel that these medications don’t deliver the type of sleep they want, and don’t want to be reliant on them to fall asleep.
When all else fails, a doctor might prescribe opioids. This is usually a last resort, and only an option if the RLS symptoms are extremely painful. The primary concern with opioids is their potential for addiction and abuse, so many doctors are reluctant to prescribe them long-term.
To make matters more difficult, RLS is commonly reported among pregnant women. If you are pregnant or hoping to become pregnant, a lot of these drugs may not be an option for you. Throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding, you’ll have to work closely with your doctor to create an RLS therapy plan that fits your needs and limitations.
Be aware that some medications you take for other conditions can actually make RLS worse. This includes some antidepressants and antipsychotics, certain anti-nausea drugs, and even some common, over-the-counter cold and allergy medications.
To ensure that you’re getting proper treatment, it’s important that your doctor knows about everything you take, including holistic remedies like CBD.
The benefits of CBD for restless leg syndrome
For many people, CBD is the ideal supplement to their existing RSL treatment plan. It’s been shown to alleviate many of the symptoms RLS patients suffer with on a nightly basis, providing relief where other medications do not.
This is because CBD works on a broader level, addressing issues like sleep disorders, anxiety, inflammation, and more.
Restless leg syndrome is known to affect sleep the most, and CBD is used by a growing number of people to address sleep disorders of all kinds. Taking CBD before bed can help relax the entire body, allowing the person to settle down and drift off even if their legs are twitchy. CBD can also be combined with other sleep aids, including the natural supplement melatonin.
Anxiety and stress reducer
Perhaps one of the most well-known uses for CBD is stress management. CBD has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, making it easier to wind down and fall asleep. Since stress and anxiety tend to worsen RLS, taking CBD to ease your nerves may also reduce symptoms later that night.
Sometimes, you cannot stop the sensations, only limit how much of them you feel. CBD has been shown to improve the body’s ability to regulate sensory overload, dampening signals before they can reach the brain. While this might not completely eliminate your symptoms, it can help mitigate some of the frantic messaging between the nerves in your legs and the brain.
CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties are well documented. Even the other compounds in cannabis, such as flavonoids, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. If an inflammatory condition or an autoimmune disease are making symptoms of RLS worse, CBD may be able to help regulate your body’s response and calm flare-ups.
Choosing CBD for RLS
Choosing a CBD product is a personal decision that should be made after consulting with your doctor. You’ll want a product that is easy to take, effective, and safe. The good news is that you’ve got plenty to choose from along the “CBD spectrum”.
Many people start out by purchasing CBD isolate, which is a carrier oil infused with just CBD. This basic form of CBD is usually labeled “zero THC” to capitalize on people afraid of even the trace amount of THC in legal CBD products. While this is the “purest” form of CBD, it’s also the least effective, and here’s why.
The entourage effect
CBD works a lot better when it’s accompanied by additional cannabinoids and the other holistic compounds found within industrial hemp. Broad-spectrum CBD products select a few extra cannabinoids, along with some flavonoids and terpenes to round out the entourage.
However, nothing compares to a full party. Full-spectrum CBD products include every beneficial compound from the industrial hemp plant, including a trace amount of THC. While this might sound intimidating, the THC present in full-spectrum products is still well below the legal limit, and only present to boost your overall experience.
All Yummy CBD products are made using organically sourced, full-spectrum CBD. Currently, our catalog contains two products, with both day and night formulas available.
Our CBD oils consist of a clean MCT coconut carrier oil infused with legal full-spectrum CBD.
- Original Orange Zest Organic CBD Oil contains 33mg of CBD per mL, totalling about 1000mg CBD per bottle
- Mellow Mint Sleep CBD Oil contains 67mg of CBD, plus 1mg of Melatonin per mL
Each bottle comes with a measured dropper, making it easy to adjust your dose as needed. To take CBD oil, empty the dropper under your tongue and wait for until your capillaries have properly absorbed the CBD. The coconut oil and natural sweeteners make for a more pleasant dosing experience, so you can easily hold the oil in your mouth.
Our CBD gummies come in a mix of fruity flavors, including grape, green apple, pineapple, and watermelon. Like our oils, they are made using MCT coconut oil and natural sweeteners, and a list of ingredients is readily available on our website.
- Fruity Delight Original Gummies contain 24mg of CBD per gummy, with 30 gummies per pouch
- Fruitful Dreams Sleep Gummies contain 24mg of CBD plus 1mg of Melatonin per gummy, with 30 gummies per pouch
Most of our customers with RLS choose the sleep version. You may have to experiment to determine how much CBD you need to find relief from RLS symptoms. Keeping a journal of your sleep patterns and symptoms can help you find the best therapeutic regimen.