Additionally, many CBD users report improved sleep. So, in combination, CBD’s restful properties and seizure-fighting abilities may prove effective at managing the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.
So just remember: when we’re talking about using CBD to address restless leg symptoms, we’re only talking about hemp-derived extracts. If you use marijuana-derived CBD, you’ll have to worry about issues of legality, as well as psychoactive side effects.
Part of what makes this condition so frustrating is that symptoms seem to appear randomly. They also widely vary, ranging from mild discomfort to almost unbearable pain. Some describe the sensation as throbbing, aching, or even itching. Once you’ve been diagnosed with restless leg syndrome, you should seek interventions to prevent symptom progression.
Origins of Restless Leg Syndrome
While it can affect any age, elderly individuals are most likely to suffer from restless leg syndrome. Medical experts consider it a sleep disorder since attacks often strike when you rest. However, symptoms might also occur during extended periods of inactivity. If you don’t seek medical intervention, your symptoms may get worse. Eventually, you may be unable to get a full night’s sleep or function properly during the day.
Why is this an important distinction? Cannabis plants also contain another cannabinoid, called THC, which is the cannabinoid that’s associated with the psychoactive effects of marijuana and responsible for getting you “high”. And recreational THC use is still illegal in most of the United States. CBD oil, on the other hand, is legal. So long as it has a chemical makeup that’s less than 0.3% of THC. In fact, CBD was not made legal until the 2018 Farm Act which aimed to remove industrial hemp from the controlled substance list. This also brings about the important topic of verifying CBD suppliers. Not every supplier properly vets their products which could become problematic if their product is not sourced from the correct plants or contains a higher level of THC than allowed.
As we briefly mentioned earlier, your endocannabinoid system is a highly sophisticated internal system charged with regulating many physiological processes. We still have lots to learn about its workings, but we know it can affect your learning, mood, memory, pain, sleep, neurological health, appetite, digestion, inflammation, and stress, among others.
Just as it is with any supplement, proper dosing is crucial. Since CBD can affect various bodily functions, you should talk to your doctor before adding this cannabinoid to your routine. Once you’ve got the medical go-ahead, we always suggest beginning with a low dose of CBD. This will let you see how your body reacts to the cannabinoids.
An alternative approach for those that don’t tolerate or absorb oral iron is to apply it transdermally. Yes, we can absorb some iron through our skin! Compounding pharmacies can make a prescription iron cream, although a few of my patients found it discolored their skin. For topical iron I prefer the PatchMD Iron Plus Topical Patch as it is less messy, cheaper, and has no skin discoloration issues.
Cannabidiol (CBD) for Restless Legs
Many patients have reported that cannabis (marijuana) eases their restless leg symptoms. This small study found 6 patients reported complete remission of their RLS with cannabis. Cannabis contains lots of different chemicals, so it is unclear which are specifically giving benefit for RLS, but CBD (cannabidiol), is suspected to be the key component of cannabis for RLS. In fact an Israeli company is currently studying CBD as a treatment for Restless Legs Syndrome.
Some forms of iron can be hard on the stomach and cause nausea and constipation. I have found iron bisglycinate to be the best tolerated, my favorite is Opti-feren C by Pure Encapsulations. To optimize iron intake make sure to take it away coffee, tea, and calcium supplements as these can interfere with iron absorption. I often recommend taking any iron with dinner as most of us are not drinking coffee with dinner!
There are definitely medications that can help ease these symptoms, but many of them have significant side effects. Some very effective natural treatments for Restless Legs Syndrome to consider are iron, magnesium and cannabidiol (CBD).
The throbbing, pulling or creeping sensations of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) can be miserable—and affect at least one third of all women with fibromyalgia. These uncomfortable feelings and urge to move the legs are often triggered by trying to relax or sleep, making it hard to fall and stay asleep. And it is not just the legs, some people experience the restless sensations in their arms or over their whole body! Since sleep is already a huge issue in fibromyalgia, it is really important to be look for and treat any condition that is making sleep worse.
For patients with RLS I aim to get their ferritin levels (a blood test for iron) around 70 to maximize how much iron is getting into their brain. Typically any ferritin above 10 is considered “normal”, but if you have RLS it is worth a try to get your ferritin levels up into “optimal” range and see if symptoms improve. In my clinical experience, the results can be pretty dramatic, but be sure to talk with your health care provider before starting iron supplementation as your levels will need to be monitored to ensure they don’t get too high as that can be harmful. You want to find the amount of iron supplementation that keeps your ferritin around that optimal level of 70.
In addition to getting ferritin levels up to optimal range, for those with severe RLS I will often add some specific nutrients that increase the ability of the body to utilize iron, like the active forms of B-6, B-12, and folate, found in MethylGuard by Thorne Research. For this purpose I have patients just add one capsule of MethylGuard per day.