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Muscle Spasms & CBD

Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

CBD relieves the symptoms of muscle spasms to increase your everyday function. Find out how you can use CBD for your condition.

What Are Muscle Spasms?

Most people have a muscle cramp at least once in their lives. However, when muscle spasms become chronic and debilitating, they need medical attention. These cramps cause sudden pain and muscle tightness that get in the way of everyday function. Seniors, overweight people and athletes have a higher chance of experiencing muscle spasms, but anyone can get them.

Chronic muscle spasms often happen due to neurological disorders. Conditions like multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis disrupt your brain’s communication with your muscles. Your muscles then undergo constant strain, creating spasms.

Some patients have chronic muscle spasms as a side effect of their medications. Medicine used for asthma, blood pressure, cholesterol, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s can all cause muscle cramps.

Many people with muscle spasms now rely on cannabis-based medication like CBD medicine for symptom relief. CBD relieves pain and inflammation so you can feel more comfortable.

Muscle Spasms and the Endocannabinoid System

Our bodies have endocannabinoid systems (ECS) that use and create cannabinoids. You can find cannabinoids in the marijuana plant (phytocannabinoids) and in the ECS (endocannabinoids). The ECS includes the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids. Your cannabinoid receptors attach to cannabinoids and use them to maintain bodily functions.

Patients with conditions like multiple sclerosis that cause muscle spasms could have different ECS balances than those without them. The ECS produces the endocannabinoid anandamide to attach to the CB1 receptor. When anandamide activates CB1, it improves your mood and regulates pain and inflammation. Multiple sclerosis patients have higher levels of anandamide than patients without the condition.

This difference suggests that the body releases anandamide to protect itself from MS’s effects. When tissue becomes damaged or inflamed, the ECS creates more of the cannabinoid. We can take advantage of this phenomenon by using CBD to reduce your symptoms.

Tapping Into the ECS’ Healing Powers With CBD

CBD has a unique function in the ECS. Instead of binding to CB1 or CB2, CBD boosts the ECS’ capabilities. Among other benefits, it blocks FAAH, the fatty acid that breaks down anandamide. When you take CBD medicine, it increases the anandamide levels in your body. Your system uses anandamide to relieve symptoms such as:

  • Pain: Anandamide regulates pain sensations. It manages the signals sent between your brain and nerves when muscle spasms cause pain.
  • Inflammation: Damaged tissue becomes inflamed as a protection mechanism. By managing the number of immune cells that cause inflammation, anandamide can soothe the affected area.
  • Mood Symptoms: CBD attaches to your serotonin receptors to improve your mood. The increase of anandamide in your brain also helps you feel happier and calmer.

Replacing or Supplementing Symptom-Causing Medication With CBD

If your muscle spasms happen as a side effect of medication, you could lower or replace your dose with CBD. CBD shows beneficial effects in patients with high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s syndrome and asthma. We recommend talking to your doctor before trying to make this substitute.

Choosing a Suitable CBD Medication

Medication with CBD comes in various forms. Some of these products may provide more benefits than others because of your symptoms and situation. When looking for a CBD medicine, remember to consider:

  • Formula: If you qualify for a medical marijuana card, you can get access to CBD medication that includes small amounts of THC. These products have fewer psychoactive effects than THC medicine because CBD balances them out. Over-the-counter CBD medicine can also help, but make sure it has a high enough concentration.
  • Type: A CBD medication’s effects depend on how you take it. Pills, patches, edibles and other medicines that enter the bloodstream have a full-body effect. Meanwhile, a topical treatment or CBD oil rubbed into the skin provides stronger relief in a concentrated area.
  • Your Doctor’s Opinion: For the best results, we recommend getting help from a marijuana-certified doctor. They can help you find effective CBD products even if you don’t plan to join the medical marijuana program. Browse our comprehensive doctor listings to find one near you.

Learn More From the Experts at MarijuanaDoctors.com

We can help you make educated decisions about your medical marijuana treatment. Visit our resource library or browse our list of health issues you can treat with cannabis medicine.

Learn More About Muscle Spasms

Learn more about Muscle Spasms and what makes medical marijuana an effective treatment for Muscle Spasms’s symptoms.

If you are suffering from Muscle Spasms, learn more about your marijuana-related treatment options. Find out how CBD can be used to treat the symptoms of Muscle Spasms.

Muscle Spasms and CBD Oil: Relief from Cramps and Pain

Written by Jason Brett — Edited by Cathy Rozyczko on February 9, 2021

CBD oil has hit the headlines recently for its use in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease, but how far-reaching are its benefits for muscle spasms? Is it only for the most severe cases, or can it help with mild spasticity too?

Whether due to a medical condition that involves symptomatic muscle spasticity, long days sitting at an office desk, or strenuous exercise, muscle spasms can affect anyone. Ranging from a mild twitch to acute and chronic pain, the severity of muscle spasms can vary greatly: while mild spasms can often be stretched or rubbed away, some can be debilitating.

Luckily, CBD oil may be able to help, offering a gentler and potentially more effective alternative to traditional muscle spasm treatments.

Benefits of Using CBD Oil to Treat Muscle Spasms

If you suffer from chronic or acute muscle spasms, you’ve probably found yourself reaching toward the medicine cabinet to find a Valium, Flexeril, or other drugs that offer the possibility of relief. While muscle relaxants like these may provide a temporary solution, they don’t address the actual cause of your muscle spasms. What’s more, certain muscle relaxant medications can be highly addictive and leave you at an increased risk for misuse or abuse.

CBD oil offers relief from spasticity without the habit-forming properties or side effects of pharmaceutical medical relaxants.

To fully understand how CBD oil treats muscle spasms, you need to first have an understanding of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Located predominantly in the brain and central nervous system, the endocannabinoid system affects many other areas and functions in the body through a network of cannabinoid receptors.

Endocannabinoids are compounds naturally produced by your body that regulate this system by acting on CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors; phytocannabinoids, which are present in plants like cannabis and hemp, can also work seamlessly within your endocannabinoid system because they mirror the chemical structure of your body’s own endocannabinoids. Because CBD oil’s main ingredient, cannabidiol (CBD), is one of over 100 phytocannabinoids found in the hemp plant, it is able to act on your endocannabinoid system in a way that is natural and familiar to your body.

By acting on your endocannabinoid system, cannabinoids like CBD may be able to reduce the pain and frequency of your muscle spasms.

Effectiveness of Using CBD Oil to Treat Muscle Spasms

If you’re considering using CBD oil instead of pharmaceuticals to stop your muscle spasms, you want to be sure that it’s going to work. With that in mind, here’s what the science has to say about using CBD oil to treat muscle spasms.

CBD Oil for Stopping Muscle Spasms

Through its work in the endocannabinoid system, CBD oil can reduce muscle spasms by altering the way the central nervous system communicates with your muscles; this is what makes it so effective in treating multiple sclerosis.

In 2004, a placebo-controlled crossover study examining cannabis’ effect on multiple sclerosis was undertaken in Switzerland. Researchers tested two groups of patients with multiple sclerosis and found that cannabis provided beneficial results for the test subjects. The researchers concluded that “a standardized Cannabis sativa plant extract might lower spasm frequency and increase mobility with tolerable side effects in MS patients with persistent spasticity not responding to other drugs.”

The University of California conducted a similar study in 2010. The randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial examined the use of cannabinoids on patients with multiple sclerosis and spasticity. A total of 30 people completed the trial, and the results showed an average reduction of 2.74 points on the Modified Ashworth scale (used to measure spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients) compared to the placebo.

CBD Oil for Relieving Pain from Cramps

Within the endocannabinoid system is CB2, the cannabinoid receptor responsible for pain. CB2 can reduce the experience of sudden or chronic pain caused by muscle cramps and is impacted by cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD).

A 2005 study examining the effects of cannabinoids in MS patients who suffer from spasm-related pain yielded promising results. After four weeks of testing, the group that received a cannabis-based medicine containing both THC and CBD reported reductions in pain. The study even concludes, “Cannabis-based medicine is effective in reducing pain and sleep disturbance in patients with multiple sclerosis related central neuropathic pain and is mostly well tolerated.”

CBD Oil as a Muscle Relaxant

The cannabis plant contains two anti-inflammatory substances that have been shown to act as muscle relaxants. Delta-limonene and Beta-myrcene both exhibit properties that reduce anxiety, promote sleep, and display motor relaxant effects. Limonene and myrcene are two of many naturally occurring compounds in the hemp plant called terpenes, which give many fruits and plants their unique flavor and aroma.

An additional way CBD can help relax muscles is through its ability to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation by increasing levels of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters like serotonin and anandamide in the brain. CBD oil is also able to reduce cortisol levels, turning down tension and protecting your body from the negative effects this “stress hormone” can have on your physical and mental capacities.

How to Use CBD Oil for Muscle Spasms

Whether you suffer from occasional cramps or from chronic muscle spasms, you want fast and effective relief that is available the moment you need it.

Because vaped CBD oil goes directly into the bloodstream via the lungs, the effects come on instantly. Because of their fast-acting nature, CBD vapes are perfect for on-the-spot relief from muscle spasms. When vaping CBD, the benefits typically only last for 30 minute to an hour, so if you’re looking for a more long-term solution, you might want to consider taking CBD drops, capsules, or edibles as well.

CBD topicals like lotions, gels, and salves, may also be a great option for addressing muscle soreness or spasticity. While not as quick to act as CBD vapes or drops, CBD topicals combined with massaging the area can provide targeted relief that normally lasts 4-6 hours. There are some companies that even sell CBD-infused massage oil!

In terms of dosage, the amount needed can vary depending on your weight, metabolism, tolerance, and a variety of other factors. It is always best to start with the lowest suggested serving on your CBD product and adjust up from there if need be. For general CBD dosage information, check out our dosing guide; for personalized advice and guidance, consider speaking with a cannabis doctor who can analyze your condition and provide you with specific recommendations.

Most importantly though, speak to your primary physician before taking CBD oil for muscle spasms. Even though CBD oil is largely free of side effects, it can interact negatively with some prescription medications.

Best CBD Oil for Muscle Spasms

In order to find the best CBD oil for muscle spasms, there are a number of considerations that you should take into account.

Before purchasing CBD oil, find the cannabis and CBD laws specific to your state so you can be sure you are acting within the law. CBD oil is widely available in a majority of U.S. states, with CBD-THC blends also accessible in states which have legalized marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes. (Some of the studies on muscle spasms, multiple sclerosis, and spasticity mentioned above used a CBD-THC blend.)

Regardless of the method you choose for taking your CBD oil —vape, topical, drops, or all of the above—it’s of the utmost importance that you purchase a high-quality product if you want to see results.

  • Buy organic. Buying a CBD oil that has been extracted from organic hemp ensures your product is free of any nasty pesticides or herbicides.
  • Check for a Certificate of Analysis (COA). Any reputable CBD company should have a Certificate of Analysis dated within 6 months for the product you are thinking about buying. A COA is a lab report, ideally provided by an independent, third-party laboratory, that provides a chemical analysis of your CBD oil product. A COA will tell you how much CBD is in your product, and whether there are harmful chemicals or heavy metals present.
  • Read the ingredients. Avoid products that contain artificial or chemical additives. Also, check for the THC content if this is an ingredient you wish to avoid. Most quality CBD oils will contain a small list of ingredients and use naturally derived terpenes and flavorings.

As a starting point in your search for the brands producing the best, safest, and most effective CBD products out there, check out our top-rated brands.

If you are unhappy with the way you’ve been treating your muscle spasms or cramps, CBD oil may provide a great alternative option.

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Learn about the current research and benefits of using CBD oil to reduce muscle spasms and spasticity so you can decide if it’s the right treatment plan for you.