Medical marijuana and the treatment of Restless Leg Syndrome
Last updated Published
Medical marijuana is recognised as a legitimate treatment for many diseases and ailments, and Restless Leg Syndrome could be on that list one day in the near future.
RLS is a sleep disorder characterised by an intense, distressing sensation in the lower legs when trying to sleep or otherwise relax. The only way for people to alleviate this symptom is by standing or walking, but some patients have already been experimenting with medical marijuana and CBD products to relieve their symptoms when conventional treatments proved to be ineffective.
UNDERSTANDING RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME
RLS affects over 3 million adults and about 2 million children in the United States. Currently, there is no FDA-approved treatment for RLS. Patients are often prescribed medications that are used to treat Parkinson's disease, but the medications often either don't work, are too expensive, or they cause unwanted side effects.
At the moment, treatment for RLS consists of dopaminergic agents, an alpha-2-delta ligand subunit drug, and other medications that aren't FDA approved in the treatment of RLS.
Although cannabis products are not FDA-approved for use in the treatment of RLS, there are some clinical trials based on patient’s anecdotal evidence of use. Furthermore, there have been a lot of studies that show marijuana has a significant effect on treating pain and muscle spasticity, so it's safe to assume that it would be equally effective in treating RLS.
Patients report feeling comfort and relief from their symptoms after using cannabis products. Studies show that edibles don't seem to benefit RLS patients very much, but smoking or using products high in Cannabidiol (CBD) will produce the necessary effects. Plus, it doesn't produce any psychedelic effects so it's legal and available in all 50 states. It can be purchased online or in health food stores.
HOW DOES CANNABIS HELP RLS?
According to a blog posted by the Restless Leg Syndrome Foundation, there is some clinical experience available based on its anecdotal use by many patients. Typically, ingested marijuana (through brownies or cookies, for example) does not seem to benefit RLS very much, while inhaled marijuana (through a marijuana cigarette or vaporiser) works very quickly and effectively.
Most RLS sufferers report that after only a few puffs of a marijuana cigarette or a few inhalations of vaporised medical marijuana, even very severe symptoms are relieved within minutes. The relief does not last very long, wearing off after one or two hours.
Therefore, inhaled marijuana works best for RLS symptoms that occur mainly at bedtime. Patients have reported that a one month supply of medical marijuana may last three to four months when used to treat bedtime RLS symptoms."
CANNABIS AND THE FUTURE OF RLS TREATMENT
To summarise, while medical marijuana has already proven to be an effective treatment of RLS for many patients, more studies are needed for this to be approved by the FDA. It's also important to remember that you should always consult with a physician before modifying or supplementing any treatment regimen.
Note: We have taken the utmost care and precaution whilst writing this article. That being said, please take note of the fact that we are not medical professionals of any kind. Cannabis.info is strictly a news and information website. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.