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Can CBD Help with Muscle Spasms?

July 12, 2018

Can CBD Help with Muscle Spasms

Muscle spasms are also commonly known as muscle cramps or charley horses. At some point in your life, everybody will have experienced one, and normally they are relatively harmless (although painful) and pass quickly. They can be a more serious issue though, affecting some people on a much more regular basis. For these people, they are a real problem due to the pain they cause and the fact that they render the muscle affected unusable until they pass.

There are a variety of different methods that can be used to treat the problem. One that is becoming increasingly popular and seems to be effective by numerous testimonials is the use of cannabidiol (CBD) based treatments. While it definitely won’t cure muscle spasms, these naturally derived treatments seem to really help those who suffer from muscle spasms on a re-occurring basis. In this article, we will look closely at muscle spasms and their causes, the treatments typically used against them, and investigate CBD’s suitability. If you would like to know more about using CBD to treat muscle spasms, you are in the right place.

What are Muscle Spasms?

A muscle spasm is a sudden, involuntary contraction of a muscle which results in a very painful sensation. They also render the muscle affected impossible to use until the spasm has passed. They most typically occur in the leg muscles, particularly the calf, but can affect many different types of muscles including skeletal and smooth muscles. There are a number of different causes of muscle spasm. These include:

  • Overuse of a muscle – This is the most common reason for a muscle spasm and the one that most of us will have experienced at some point. It could be brought on from exercise or a routine daily activity such as mowing grass. What happens is the muscle in question runs out of fluid and energy and becomes hyperexcitable. This results in a forceful contraction. It is more likely to occur if the muscle is tired, strained, previously injured or you are doing an unfamiliar exercise.
  • Dehydration – Muscles need enough water, glucose, potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium to function properly. An irregular supply of these can cause the muscles to develop spasm.
  • Peripheral artery disease – This causes the arteries to narrow which can lead to spasm because the muscle receives an inadequate supply of blood and the nutrients it delivers. Often this affects the leg muscles.
  • Restless legs syndrome/nocturnal leg cramps – these are leg spasms that occur at night and cause sleep disturbance. They become more common with age and often the exact cause is never found.
  • Chronic pain – When chronic pain occurs in a large muscle group such as the neck or back, it can cause recurrent muscle spasms. Could be caused by an injury or due to arthritic changes in the spine.
  • Disease of the nervous system – These can be associated with muscle spasm. Examples include multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries.
  • An underlying condition – A lot of disorders can cause frequent spasms. They include obesity, diabetes, kidney disease and more.

A group of muscles called smooth muscles can also go into spasm. These are muscles located upon the walls of hollow structures within the body such as the arteries, bladder or iris in the eye. Spasms here cause significant pain as the muscle spasm squeezes the fluid or air in the middle of the hollow structure, but fluid and air can’t be compressed so the pain is extreme. They are most likely caused by an underlying issue.

There is a disorder associated with muscle spasm called dystonia. This is a movement disorder which causes muscle groups to forcefully contract, resulting in twisting. Normally, the symptoms begin very mildly and get progressively worse, becoming more aggressive and frequent. On rare occasions, it does not worsen. Dystonias are thought to be caused by incorrectly functioning neurotransmitters in the basal ganglia within the brain. Suffering a stroke can also result in dystonia as a complication.

How are muscle spasms traditionally treated?

The key to stopping muscle spasm is prevention. There are a number of different steps you can take to try and ensure you stay spasm free. The most important is to keep well hydrated and to prepare your muscles for an activity by stretching them to warm them up. Both of these steps should be adhered to when you are doing heavy labor such as mowing grass or shoveling snow, not just when doing exercise. If a spasm occurs in a large skeletal muscle like your calf, you can treat it initially by stretching out or massaging the affected muscle.

Further treatment beyond this would focus on treating the underlying cause of the spasms. Damaged or strained muscles can be treated with pain relief medications such as anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants.
Smooth muscle spasm treatment would require the diagnoses and treatment of the underlying cause.

Nocturnal leg cramps are notoriously difficult to treat. Quinine used to be prescribed in the past but it has adverse side effects such as causing abnormal bleeding problems. Now, medications such as diltiazem and gabapentin may be used but their success rate is variable.

Dystonias can be treated with a range of medications including anti-Parkinsonism drugs, muscle relaxants, botox injections and seizure control drugs. Often, this requires extensive trial and error to find the correct medication in the correct dose for effective relief.

Can CBD help with muscle spasm?

CBD is derived from the cannabis plant. For millennia, man has known about the wide range of effects caused by the cannabis plant but it was only relatively recently that we discovered why it has these effects. Scientists discovered that within our body, we have the endocannabinoid system and it is involved in nearly all aspects of the body’s homeostasis. Naturally, our body produces things called cannabinoids which work upon this system and help regulate it. The active ingredients of cannabis are also called cannabinoids because they work in exactly the same manner as the cannabinoids our body’s produce naturally, affecting the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is involved in a lot of physiological processes, which is why cannabis has so many different effects.

CBD is one of the two main cannabinoids found in cannabis. The other is THC, which is responsible for the “high” buzz that recreational marijuana users seek. THC is not present in CBD based products and so is not relevant here, except to point out that because CBD treatments have no THC, they do not give out any of the “high” feeling side effects you may be worried about.

CBD has been shown to help with muscle spasms in two main ways. The first is that it helps to relieve inflammation. Inflammation is your immune systems way of protecting the body from what it perceives as a danger. Spasms are essentially an inflammation response. An inflamed muscle is irritated and angry and is likely to spasm to draw attention to the fact that something is wrong. Research has found that CBD works upon CB2 receptors, which are part of the endocannabinoid system and play an important role in inflammation regulation. By increasing the CBD in your body, you can calm inflammation, thus helping reduce spasms.

The other way CBD can help with spasms is by reducing pain. CBD also works upon the CB1 receptor in the endocannabinoid system too. Here, CBD increases the amount of an endocannabinoid called anandamide which in turn reduces the pain sensation. If you apply a CBD topical directly to a painful muscle in spasm, this process should cause the pain to lessen.

Are there studies to support CBD’s effectiveness?

There has long been a significant barrier to scientists who wish to research the health benefits of cannabinoids such as CBD due to the legal status of cannabis. This is changing however, with the world at large becoming ever more aware of the possible health benefits of cannabinoids. One of the main focuses for research thus far has been how cannabinoids can reduce spasticity and the results are very promising indeed. Here are the details of a few studies:

  • A study published in the journal, Drugs, in 2014 was the largest multinational clinical trial to investigate the effects of cannabis as a treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) to date. Syed at al. gave one group cannabis containing CBD for 12 weeks and another group a placebo. They found that after only four weeks, the cannabis group had already reported a significant improvement in spasticity. At the end of the 12 weeks, the cannabis group had a significantly reduced spasticity severity when compared with the placebo group. This suggests cannabis treatments may work with helping reduce spasms.
  • In 2010, Colin et al had the results of a study they carried out published in the journal Neurological Research. They examined how effective the cannabis-based medication Sativex was in reducing spasticity in patients over 15 weeks. Their results were very positive, as they found that spasms were significantly reduced after just four weeks of treatment with Sativex, even in patients where traditional efforts had shown to be ineffective previously.
  • Malfitano et al published a review paper in the Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment journal in 2008 where they looked at the main findings of research looking at cannabinoid drugs as a treatment for MS. What they concluded was there is an ever-increasing body of evidence that suggests cannabinoids have a positive effect on muscle spasticity and pain relief in MS patients. This backs up the idea that CBD could be used to treat muscle spasms as it appears to be effective in relieving spasms and the pain caused by them.

Final thoughts

If you suffer from reoccurring muscle spasms, the first point of call should be to consult your doctor. There could be a serious underlying problem that you are unaware of that may need urgent attention. If you need help in relieving the spasms, CBD seems to be an excellent option. It is a natural remedy which appears to work on relieving both the pain symptoms of spasms as well as one of the underlying bodily causes, inflammation. CBD is available in a topical and this would be ideal for those who suffer from persistent spasms as you can directly apply the medication to the affected area, which should hopefully result in a fast-acting relief. Frequent muscle spasms are not pleasant, adding an unwanted and painful interruption to your day. CBD certainly seems to be beneficial. If you suffer from muscle spasms, maybe it is time you tried out CBD, but remember, always consult with your primary physician before you try any product.

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Jonathan Miller
Jonathan Miller, age 53 is an Ex Railyard Engineer who suffers from chronic back pain and anxiety. Jonathan’s goal was to create an unbiased site that would provide anyone who seeks help in CBD oil as a treatment, with accurate and helpful information.
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Getting Started with CBD Oil

If you suffer from anxiety (like me), depression or pain and are looking to get started with CBD oil, you need information on how to buy CBD oil, or you’re simply looking to learn more about CBD products, you’ve arrived at the right place.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, aka CBD, is a compound found in the cannabis plant that has significant medical benefits. CBD can be extracted from two different species of the Cannabis Sativa L plant, which include Cannabis and Hemp. Unlike its rival THC, CBD does not make people feel “stoned” and can actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC.

One of the main advantages of CBD is its non-psychoactive affect making it a great option for people looking for relief from inflammation, anxiety, insomnia, seizures, spasms, and other conditions.
As I mentioned above the primary distinction between Hemp and CBD oil is the part of the plant they are derived from and what parts of the plant are used to create the oil. Hemp oil is typically made from pressing cannabis seeds to extract the fatty oil from within, while some that have mastered the CBD extraction process also use the flowers as they contain high percentages of CBD. CBD oil, on the other hand, is usually made from the flowers of cannabis plant through various extraction methods.

How Does CBD Affect Your Body?

The way marijuana affects your body varies from person to person as it will often depend on genetics, tolerance to the cannabinoids, medical health, DNA, and more. It also depends on the way you consume the CBD, for example, the effects of vaping CBD are far different to smoking it in the form of high-CBD cannabis strains. 

CBD and the way it affects us is still of somewhat a mystery to researchers they still try to figure out how it effects the EndoCannabinoid system. During the previous century, it was discovered that our bodies have receptors within the brain and central nervous system. Specific cannabinoids such as CBD bind to those receptors and activate the EndoCannabinoid System (ECS). This then provides a wide range of psychological and physical benefits helping the body.

Without going into specifics, cannabinoids signal to the body to create endocannabinoids and build more receptors. This helps the body to limit things associated with pain and inflammation, repairs cells and provides a wide range of other health benefits. Unlike other cannabinoids, CBD is thought to be the ultimate anti-inflammatory cannabinoid.

Want to learn more about how CBD works read: How Long Does it Take CBD to Work

Medical Benefits of CBD

There is a misconception as to whether CBD can help treat patients, similar to pharmaceutical medicine, but thanks to the internet and a few different medical studies patients and researchers have been exposing their findings on how CBD oil is helping to cure a wide range of medical conditions.

The most popular story was the one of Charlotte Figi. At the time Charlotte was only 6 years old. As a little girl, she was experiencing over 300 epileptic seizures per week until she was successfully treated by a CBD-rich strain oil, later named Charlotte’s Web.

The high-quality CBD oil, changed her life, helping her to overcome a 6-year battle. Since her story hit the news, CBD and other cannabinoids of the cannabis plant are constantly being researched to understand how they can help to treat different medical conditions. As a matter of fact, CBD has been thought to help treat over 170 medical conditions, among them severe conditions such as Anorexia, Cancer, Arthritis, Depression, Anxiety, Chronic Pain, Insomnia, Glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and PTSD.

Recent studies have even shown that CBD, may cure life-threatening diseases by altering genes. Other studies have proven that it might even be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis and chronic pain.

The way that CBD works is that it interacts with receptors located in different parts of the central nervous system. These receptors are called CB1 and CB2. Both reflect the areas of the brain they interact with such as the limbic system. When taking CBD, this cannabinoid locks in on these receptors and affects the body in different ways. For example, it can help to block the pain caused by specific medical conditions.

While numerous studies have shown promising results, it is important to understand that CBD research is still at premature stages. A 2011 study that researched CBD for fibromyalgia showed extremely promising results. 56 of 112 participants who took CBD in the form of oil saw a great reduction in their symptoms and pain, while those using traditional methods didn’t see hardly any improvement.

Can you Buy CBD if you live in an illegal state?

The process is not cut-&-dry, and but thanks to the Farm Bill of 2014, forms of CBD can now be delivered to your doorstep. Those that live in recreational states can purchase CBD cannabis oil which is high in potency and extremely effective for helping to treat severe medical conditions, while those that live in other states that are not medical or recreational can benefit from CBD hemp oil. CBD Hemp oil is perfect for helping to treat a wide range of conditions including anxiety, depression and acute pain. 

Who is NaturalWellNessCBDOil?

My name is Jonathan, and I’ve created this loving resource that is packed with information about CBD oil. I am growing a community on Facebook and are constantly engaging with different people to help them make more informed decisions. I review products on a daily basis and provide unbiased reviews about some of the top CBD oil manufacturers. All the information on the site is FREE; I only ask that you help to share the information you find on the site with other people that are suffering. 

To your health and happiness.