CBD for Muscle spasms
Muscle spasm is an unintentional contraction of muscles. Do cannabis cannabinoids help in providing relief or solutions? Let us discuss this in this article.
Thighs, calves, foot arches, hands, arms, neck, shoulder blades, and rib cage are the most common areas affected by muscle spasms. These contractions could be sensed in an individual muscle, entire muscle group, or selected muscle fibers.
Calf cramps are also known as Charley horses. These cramps last for a few seconds to minutes, or continuous but the pain could be debilitating. Some of the other related terms to refer to muscle spasms are muscle twitch, cramps, spasticity, and muscle contractions.
This article intends to discuss the following aspects of muscle spasms and if the applicability of cannabinoid-based treatments could provide relief to affected populations.
Top causes for muscle spasms
- In most common cases, muscle spasms occur due to relentless exercise and sports.
- Insufficient stretching, exercising in heated temperatures.
- Mineral deficiencies including potassium, calcium, and sodium.
- A recent study1 points out causes such as electrolyte disturbances, neurological disorders in people over the age of 60 years, compression of nerve roots or compressed arterial vessels.
- Consumption of certain medications such as diuretics for specific conditions including, high blood pressure, kidney failure, heart attack, and strokes could lead to muscle spasms.
- A 2008 study2 details that disabling symptoms such as muscle stiffness, spasms, muscle cramps, pain, tremor is associated with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) a chronic and disorder of the Central Nervous system. Moreover, of all the symptoms, 90% of MS-affected patients are troubled with muscle spasms and spasticity.
How to treat muscle spasms?
Firstly, analyzing the underlying cause for muscle spasms is crucial. Only then appropriate treatment could be undertaken. We have seen above that muscle spasticity could occur because of two broad reasons. They are:
- Neurological conditions including MS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis(ALS), and spinal cord injury.
Massaging to relieve calf cramps
- Treating exercise-induced spasms may be handled with the help of stretching and massages. These could help relax the twisted muscles or cramps.
- Similarly, heating packs for relaxation and ice packs to numb pain areas could provide temporary relief.
- Prescribed pain medications are also commonly practiced to treat spasms.
- For patients affected with spasticity due to underlying neurological conditions, antispasmodic treatments are recommended. This helps reduce elevated muscle tone.
- But, study3 says that these treatments are only partially effective or ineffective, as patients face intolerable side effects.
As a result, patients choose to self-medicate with cannabis. Anecdotal evidence suggests that cannabis extracts are beneficial to control MS symptoms that include pain and spasticity.
Role of Cannabis in treating muscle pains
- A 2012 Study4 reports on results from a UK based randomized trial. Here, adult patients who suffered from muscle spasms, muscle stiffness, and other associated pains typical of MS were studied. They were assigned cannabis extracts ( THC) daily and compared with a placebo for 12 weeks. The trial concluded that cannabis extract could be useful for treating muscle problems typical of MS and provided effective pain relief.
- A 2019 study5 states that adult patients with MS experienced relief after smoking cannabis.
- Furthermore, a four-arm cross-sectional study among patients with mixed neurological conditions, including MS and spinal cord injury, were administered THC, CBD, THC: CBD, and placebo. Observations were: (a) significant improvements in spasticity in the THC scale. (b) a reduction in the severity in all three cannabinoid conditions.
- A noteworthy mention from a review study is that most clinical trials concerning multiple sclerosis and treatments with cannabis have all dealt with whole-plant extractions. The THC: CBD ratio varies according to strains such as 1:1, 2:1, and 3:1.
- A 2009 study6 stated that combined THC and CBD extracts were generally considered to be well-tolerated. These combined cannabinoid therapies not only provided symptomatic relief but also reduced intoxication and other side effects.
- To sum up, investigations from several studies unanimously report that cannabis therapy has been effective for treating spasticity, in most cases, symptom reduction in multiple sclerosis (MS).
Best cannabis strain for muscle spasms.
Cannabis breeders combine the best features from Sativa and Indica strains to create a new hybrid that could generate desired results. Hence, the resulting new variety could either be a perfect blend of both parents or a dominant hybrid of Sativa or Indica. ( whichever is the dominant parent)
The effects of the hybrid cannabis strains vary according to the THC: CBD ratio. Hence, they are used for several medicinal and therapeutic purposes to treat symptoms like depression, anxiety, paranoia, chronic pain, etc.
According to a survey from a study, 7 medical cannabis users preferred Indica strain to treat symptoms including neuropathy, spasticity, seizures, insomnia, and joint pain.
Effects of medical marijuana-based strain and route of administration study, 8 demonstrate that symptoms such as nausea and spasm could be affected by various methods of cannabis administration.
For example, Afghan kush, a popular indica strain, is rich in THC and CBD but known for its high CBD content. Their psychoactive properties and their medicinal effects help relieve pain in chronic cases and pain caused by leg cramps.
CBD benefits for muscle spasms
- A significant reduction in the frequency of spasm was observed in THC and CBD combinations and also while THC alone was administered. But no improvements were observed while on CBD alone, reports a review study.
- Similar observations are noted from a 2003 mouse model study of multiple sclerosis. THC alone caused a rapid onset of muscle relaxation and pain relief but CBD alone caused no inhibition of spasticity. Hence, THC is the active ingredient in producing anti-spasticity benefits.
Which form of CBD works for muscle spasms?
Hemppedia compiles a wealth of information about various disease conditions and the applicability of cannabinoids in lifestyle lead disorders. For example, the potential of CBD in supporting combat sports professionals, athletic professionals in managing concussions, neurological complications, musculoskeletal disorders, pain management, and much more is mention-worthy at this juncture.
In each of these disease conditions, the form in which an individual prefers to ingest cannabinoids into their system might vary from person to person. Similarly, every individual may need different dosages and potencies.
Currently available studies provide a little or sparing reference to any specific form of CBD for treating muscle spasms, cramps, or muscle-related pain. Also, most clinical investigations consider the use of THC and CBD or THC alone.
For example, a study 9 informs that several patients reported a decrease in muscle spasms after smoking marijuana.
But this study has inferred results only based on smoking medicinal marijuana.
Contrastingly, findings from a recent study 10 establishes that transdermal application of CBD Oil showed compelling improvements in pain and other disturbing symptoms. But in patients with peripheral neuropathy.
There are marked differences in the nature, causes, and treatment of multiple sclerosis and peripheral neuropathy. But there are several common symptoms in both neurological disorders.
Ultimately, users who are more comfortable with CBD could try full-spectrum CBD oils or balms for transdermal applications to relieve pain from specific points. And combine sublingual administration or CBD capsules for overall pain management and well-being based on individual needs.
What are the side effects of using cannabis products?
Generally, we are aware that the use of psychoactive cannabinoids especially THC for managing anxiety, stress, pain could lead to certain side effects. These could be mild to severe depending on the condition, dosage, and several other factors.
- Dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, attention disorder, balance disorder, idleness or dreamy, confusion, lack of energy, urinary tract infection.
- A 2012 Study11 points out nervous system disorders and gut problems as the most common side effects but not severe.
Muscle spasm, a debilitating pain could affect anyone. Pain medications are ineffective, Do CBD and medical cannabis provide relief.
I Tried CBD Oil on My Legs After My Workouts, and I Have Some Thoughts…
In my beauty research, however, I’ve realized that cannabidiol or CBD is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse, and since inflammation is the cause behind many woes—including muscle soreness—the wheels in my head started turning. Perhaps, by slathering a CBD-rich product all over my gams, I could enhance my recovery and optimize my workouts even more.
The non-psychoactive part of the marijuana plant, CBD, has been all the rage for its multifaceted topical benefits. I’ve already tried CBD skin-care products, so I’m beyond ready to use it to enhance my workouts. “CBD is an active cannabinoid found in cannabis and has multiple uses in improving inflammatory conditions when used topically, like eczema, and even improving wound healing, itching, pain, and has even reported to improve a rare blistering disorder of skin,” says Rachel Nazarian, MD, a dermatologist with New York’s Schweiger Dermatology Group. “It would be great for sore muscles, because it has an analgesic effect which decreases pain.” Bingo.
Luckily for me, as soon as this plan entered my mind, a brand-new CBD body oil by Lord Jones ($75) landed on my desk. I spoke with Cindy Capobianco, co-founder and president of Lord Jones, about my muscle soreness and she was enthusiastic about how a CBD oil could help. “You can use it pre-workout and post-workout. Up front, it relaxes your muscles, allowing you to have a more efficient workout, and then on the back-end you can use it for inflammation and any kind of pain,” she tells me. For what it’s worth, this area hasn’t been well studied, so while the science isn’t there, anecdotal evidence amongst experts seems to suggest that it can supply an improvement (if even a slight one).
That night, I went home to excitedly apply the oil all over my legs, making sure to massage it into my quads and all over my calves, before slipping into my workout clothes. When I proceeded to run on the treadmill, I didn’t necessarily feel any difference. I still struggled in the same old spot—as I approach the 25-minute mark—and my legs began to feel heavy. Post workout (and post shower), I diligently applied the oil to my muscles again.
I continued my pre- and post-workout CBD oil regimen for the entire week. The CBD didn’t make me completely weightless on my feet and invincible on the treadmill, yet I did notice something after a solid seven days of using it. Formerly, in my pre-CBD oil life, it’d hurt to walk hours and days after tough workouts. Now? Slicking myself down with the anti-inflammatory ingredient has eliminated a little bit of the heaviness I used to feel in my legs from running.
“CBD is a known anti-inflammatory ingredient that can soothe skin conditions and affect the quality of life for many people—I’m a fan,” says Dr. Nazarian, who tells me she hopes (and thinks) the CBD oil should work for my muscle recovery. While it wasn’t a night-and-day difference, religiously incorporating CBD oil into my workout-slash-beauty regimen has made a subtle impact. You can kind of think of it as a recovery boost, and one that’s likely helped by the fact that I was massaging my sore limbs regularly which has been shown to be effective at relieving soreness in studies. Now, all I need to do is master that foam roller and I’m all set.
To get it on this, here’s a roundup of CBD products for athletes. And over in the beauty world, these are the mind-body-skin benefits of getting a CBD facial.
This editor tried CBD for muscle soreness for a week and noticed a difference. Here, she discusses how it can be used in your recovery regimen.