5 Best Marijuana Strains for Restless Legs (2019 Update)
January 1, 2019
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5 Best Marijuana Strains for Restless Legs (2019 Update)

Find out which marijuana strains are best...
MarijuanaBreak Staff MarijuanaBreak Staff / Updated on January 1, 2019

Marijuana strains for rls

If you have unusual sensations such as crawling, prickling or aching in your legs when you sit still or lie down, or find it almost impossible to resist the urge to move them, it’s likely you have Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). As well as being common in pregnant women, it is a surprisingly regular problem amongst Americans with up to 10% of people suffering from the issue.

In this article we will explore the different treatments available for RLS and discuss how specific marijuana strains are helping millions of people worldwide.

What is Restless Legs Syndrome?

The condition is sometimes known as Willis-Ekbom disease and is a nervous system issue that results in an overwhelming urge to move your legs. It typically causes an unpleasant creeping sensation in your calves, thighs, and feet and the problem is usually at its worst at night. In rare cases, the arms are also affected.

While it is not a serious condition in itself, restless leg syndrome could be a symptom of a larger problem. Doctors usually conduct a blood test to see if there are any underlying issues.

What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome?

In the vast majority of cases, there is no obvious cause for the condition. In these instances, it is known as primary, or idiopathic, restless legs syndrome and it can run in families. Some neurologists believe restless legs syndrome could be a result of how the body handles the chemical, dopamine.

This chemical plays a role in controlling the movement of the muscles and could potentially be responsible for the involuntary movement of the legs associated with restless legs syndrome.

It is worth noting that in some instances, restless legs syndrome is the result of an underlying health condition such as kidney failure or iron deficiency anemia in what is known as secondary restless legs syndrome. Specialists have yet to come up with a satisfactory reason why the condition is so common in pregnant women. However, it usually disappears soon after giving birth.

What Are The Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome?

  • Sufferers of restless leg syndrome report the following:
  • An unpleasant creepy-crawly sensation.
  • A painful cramping sensation in the legs, often in the calves.
  • A feeling as if there is sparkling water inside the blood vessels of their legs.
  • An itching, throbbing, burning or tingling sensation.
  • An irresistible urge to move their legs.

The severity of the condition varies from mild to completely unbearable. It is interesting to note that women suffer from restless leg syndrome twice as often as men.

If you have restless legs syndrome, there is an 80% chance you also suffer from periodic limb movements in sleep (PLMS). If you have this particular condition, your leg will jerk or twitch uncontrollably. It usually happens at night when you sleep, and in many cases, the twitching and movement will cause you to wake up. The movements are relatively brief with episodes lasting from 10-60 seconds.

What is Life with Restless Legs Syndrome Like?

While it may seem like a relatively minor complaint, restless legs syndrome can have serious long-term health consequences if it interferes with your sleep. As well as preventing you from operating at full capacity, lack of sleep increases your risk of suffering from other medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

A lack of sleep also damages your immune system and makes you more likely to become ill. According to a variety of studies, people who sleep less than seven hours a night gain more weight and are at a greater risk of becoming obese than those who sleep more than seven hours. The above is just the tip of the iceberg. Lack of sleep results in loss of sex drive, reduced mental capacity, depression, anxiety and much more.

For individuals that suffer from restless legs syndrome, night time can be a miserable experience. They spend several hours tossing and turning as the unpleasant sensation in their legs take hold. This issue could happen just once a week, or it can impact sufferers practically every night.

Traditional Ways to Treat Restless Legs Syndrome ( Not Marijuana Related)

marijuana for restless legs

If the condition is part of an underlying medical problem, treating that condition will normally get rid of the issue. Otherwise, the following treatments are regularly used.

Heat, Cold, Massage

You apply heat, and cool packs to the muscles as alternating heat and cold can sometimes alleviate the aches and pains associated with the condition. Another remedy is to have someone massage your lower legs just before bedtime.

Relaxation & Exercise

Regular exercise such as brisk walks and leg stretches could help. Likewise, scheduling some relaxation time before bed could reduce the symptoms. Options include tai chi, meditation, and yoga.

Adopt Better Sleeping Habits

First and foremost, create a sleep schedule and stick to it. That means going to bed and waking up at the same time. Develop a bedtime routine designed to relax you before going to sleep. Read a book, take a bath and stay away from electronic devices!

Related article: 4 Best CBD Oils for Sleep and Insomnia (2017 Review)

Medication

First of all, make sure you’re taking your vitamins because lack of folic acid, iron, magnesium and vitamin B are associated with restless leg syndrome. You can also try over the counter medication such as naproxen, ibuprofen or ketoprofen. Prescription medication such as muscle relaxants could help, but in many cases, they don’t relieve the leg sensations and also cause drowsiness during the day.

Medical Research on Marijuana for Restless Legs Syndrome

Research about the use of marijuana for restless legs syndrome is relatively new, and there isn’t enough volume to draw conclusions just yet. However, the early signs are encouraging. A 2017 study by Megelin and Ghorayeb used CBD on six patients who suffered from restless legs syndrome. Every one of them reported a significant improvement in their sleep quality.

The aforementioned link between restless legs syndrome and dopamine has also been investigated at length. A 2017 study by Stampanoni et al. on the impact of cannabinoids on Parkinson’s Disease once again showed that the cannabinoids found in marijuana interact with CB1 and CB2, the endocannabinoid system’s cannabinoid receptors, to control the release of dopamine. If there is indeed a link between dopamine and restless legs syndrome, CBD could be used to regulate its release and bring a halt to the symptoms.

5 Best Marijuana Strains for Restless Legs Syndrome

Marijuana for restless legs

1 – Granddaddy Purple (Indica Marijuana Strain)

Granddaddy Purple Front

This Indica dominant marijuana strain is almost a ‘knockout’, so we don’t recommend taking it during the daytime. However, take Granddaddy Purple before going to sleep, and you’ll find it extremely hard to keep your eyes open! Seriously, it makes your eyes feel heavy in a hurry and if you’re already tired, say goodnight! Its THC level is 17-27%, and its CBD level is 7%.

2 – Holy Ghost (Hybrid Marijuana Strain)

This is a hybrid marijuana strain with 50% indica and 50% sativa. Its THC content is 28% so be prepared for lift off! Holy Ghost provides you with a focused high that gives you energy after about 10 minutes of ‘couch lock.’

3 – Purple Kush (Indica Marijuana Strain)

Purple Kush Strain Review

Purple Kush is a pure indica marijuana strain with a THC content of 22%. It routinely figures in ‘top 10 most powerful strains in the world’ lists, and it rewards users with a euphoric head high that eliminates any feelings of pain. The high spreads throughout the body and leaves you feeling sedated.

4 – AC/DC ( Hybrid Marijuana Strain)

ADCD Cannabis Strain

This is another 50:50 hybrid, and unlike other entries on the list, ACDC cannabis has a relatively low THC content (1-6%) and high CBD content of 20%. It has a strong effect on the whole body but enables you to concentrate at work, so it is worth taking during the day if restless legs syndrome strikes you as you sit down.

5 – Afghan Kush (Indica Marijuana Strain)

Also known as Afghan OG, this indica marijuana strain contains 21% THC, 6% CBD and 1% CBN. It provides your body with a calming feeling and relaxes the muscles. The impact can last for up to three hours which is plenty of time for you to get some sleep!

Final Thoughts About Marijuana For Restless Legs Syndrome

Although research is still in its embryonic phase, there is already evidence to suggest that marijuana is capable of eliminating the effects of restless legs syndrome. It can relax the entire body and help you get some much-needed sleep.

Sources
https://www.floridahospital.com/restless-legs-syndrome-rls/statistics-restless-leg-syndrome-rls
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Restless-leg-syndrome/Pages/Introduction.aspx
http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Restless-leg-syndrome/Pages/Symptoms.aspx
https://www.healthline.com/health/restless-leg-syndrome/treatments#gabapentin7
http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/lack-of-sleep-health-risks.aspx
http://www.sleep-journal.com/article/S1389-9457(17)30222-8/abstract
http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/can.2017.0002

48 comments
  1. Glenn Gale
    Help with RLS

    I have been dealing with RLS now for fifty years. I’m 59 now. I hate to say misery loves company. But knowing I’m not the only one helps. Like many of you I have tried everything. I have found that Percocet worked great after a broken leg. But being an opioid we all know how that ends up. I did stumble on a synthetic opioid called Tramadol. I’ve been on it for 5 years now. At first 100 milligrams was fine. But after 5 years it now takes 300 milligrams to get through the night. And I assume that will continue to go up. I have to say. I think it saved my life. RLS can be bad enough to contemplate suicide. Night after night of agony and no sleep you can make a very bad mistake. Tramadol is not the cure. There is none that I know of. But I can get through the night for now. Hope this helps some of you. I know what you’re going through.

  2. Joanne Drumb
    I thought the artical helped, as I didn't realize how many people have this.

    I am to the point that I haven’t slept in 3 days. Yesterday it started around 2 pm. And its still going strong, I dread tonight as its worse at nite. I have tried hot and cold and exercise , also walking. As long as I keep moving it is not to noticeable . But I am 79 years old and running out of gas. So I have been looking into the oil . Its legal in my state but its just the plain oil . I was wondering if it would help. I cannot go on another week like this I take Ropineral once in the day and once at night. But its seems like it getting worse. Let me know if the oil helps.

  3. John Farmer
    Lifetime of rls

    I have had relentless, progressive rls for 35 years. They are studying abnormalities in metabolic pathways in the brain, but have not come up with the key problem or problems. 35 years ago I fell 17 feet off a ladder and was given Vicodin for the pain. It helped with the pain but I was overjoyed to find it took away my rls. It has been known for a long time that opioids help rls (not cure). I have taken some form of opiate for 35 years and am not addicted. I have gone to Johns Hopkins twice and they approve of their use. Further on I have had to add clonopin and gabapentin. Further relief came from iron. I am going to try the medical marijuana, with the expectation that I will be able to lower some of the other meds.

  4. Gerrit
    CBD... what a change!

    Further to my post of November… I was strongly suggested to try vaping CBD. So I did. I went into a separate bedroom and the first night I slept for almost 10 hours. Second night again. Now, many moons later, I do get up after a few hours of sleep for a bathroom brake but easily fall back asleep. Sometimes I am vaguely aware of restless symptoms but thus far (knock knock on wood) never to the point where I get totally frustrated. Read up on it (especially on the possible downsides of heating the oil to the point where cancer causing agents are created/released). When I sleep next to my darling, I do not sleep as well because all these years I have tried to make sure my tossing and turning didn’t wake her up so I automatically don’t allow myself a deep sleep. But when I sleep by myself, I’m ‘gone’ and 8 hours is the nowadays standard. Mmmmmm !!

  5. Becky
    How to transition from Rx meds to MMJ

    Severe RLS has plagued me and made my life a living hell for over 4 decades. I’ve experienced augmentation on every approved RX med except the patch, which I couldn’t tolerate because of the adhesive, and Horizant which I’m using now, along with a low dose of methadone. I’ve used cannabis recreationally in the past and, as my RLS symptoms worsened, I noticed relief when I smoked. Now I’ve finally gotten my MMJ card and want to try to replace my Rx meds with cannabis. Horizant is horribly expensive – think mortgage payment , and methadone’s side effects are as bad or worse than the RLS symptoms, in a totally different way – mentally. Does anyone have suggestions based on personal experience as to how to transition off Rx meds and onto MMJ? I don’t want to smoke because of the possible carcinogen problems; is vaping as effective and also safer than joints? TYIA

    1. Ruth Barbera
      My experience

      I recently moved from Requip to mmj. I have had very little problems with restless legs since starting the new routine. My problem now is getting the right dosage and product down to a science. I’ve always had a lot of energy and now I have less then none. If I don’t use any mmj during the day I start to get the rls symotoms in the early evening. If I do use it early in the day I’m tired the rest of the day so I’m trying to find a product that will work with a smaller amount.

      If you have any luck I’d like to hear about it so meyba we can help each other out.

  6. Jack
    I use it

    I have pretty bad rls and do a lot of kicking in my sleep, and i tried Granddaddy Purple distillate in a vape pen long before i read this article. It absolutely helps! Just 2 puffs almost instantly relieves the rls nearly completely, and stops my kicking for at least a few hrs.

  7. Karen
    Cannbis causing rls symptoms

    Interesting topic. I’m 70 years old, positive family history for rls, my mother had it for years. I had a brief bit about 20 years ago, which only manifested after I smoked cannabis. I treated myself with a homeopathic remedy, and it all resolved. Now, I’m noticing it again. Again, only noticed after smoking pot. In past year I’ve had other health issues, including severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome. IBS. The IBS was extreme for months, finally under control. So I googled and found this. Am seeing a naturopathic doctor, also. Will discuss with my docs. Not taking anything for it. Wonder if nutrient deficiencies are related. I take most of the vitamins mentioned, not regularly. Will give an update one day.

  8. Gerrit
    Wake up! (literally, l mean)

    Robert Et Al.,

    4AM and lm reading all of your comments about me. Many years of rls have been followed by years of RLs and restless arms and restless torso. Especially Robert l would advise to wake yourself up completely. Its the only thing that works for me. Once fully awake the R… bodyparts relax. I still cant believe no researcher has found the link between rls and the sleepy state of mind that always creates it. Few have mentioned the agony of the spouse having to deal with this. We have a king with separate mattresses so my movements are not as easily transferred to ‘her side’. Nevertheless, often she wakes up from my movements and has no choice but to wake me up (or kill me cause she gets very cranky when she doesnt get her 8 hrs). Ohw, 8 hrs of sleep. Just the thought puts a smile on my face! I will definitely take your advice and try the various options mentioned to see if after decades of this, there is a form of ‘permanent’ relief. Been up now for close to an hour and my R arms are almost gone. One episode of Frasier should finish it off completely. Good night everybody! 😉

  9. Bev Collier
    Desperatlely seeking help with RLS

    I too have severe RLS. I’m a healthy 63 year old female who has suffered with this most of my adult life. I also get it in my arms and shoulders from time to time. I take all my important vitamins, have no health problems and work out at least 3 days per week. Working out has done nothing to help. In fact, I’d have to say, the harder I work out my legs and arms, the worse the RLS is at night. I stretch before bed each night, I go to bed by 10 pm, and within an hour to an hour and a half, I am awaken by jumpy legs (and arms) sometimes) so bad that I have to get out of bed and do twenty squats. Some times, I have to do this twice a night as they eventually come back. To say I can recall a time when I actually got a good nights sleep without the help of an occasional sleeping pill, would be a lie. Naturally, I don’t want to take sleeping pills and so I only take a little piece of once every week or so because I’m so exhausted, that I need to sleep. I am desperately looking for a cannibas solution as nothing else has ever worked for me, however, I don’t want to get stoned every night. From all I’ve been reading there is probably something out there, with CBD oil blended perhaps with just a touch of THC to help with the sleep, that might help. If anyone finds it, please contact me. I do live in Canada so it is legally available to me now, but with so many different products out there, I have no idea where to begin.

    1. Jo Fick
      What does high feel like?

      Bev, that’s a pretty common response to MMJ. “I don’t want to get high/stoned.” I didn’t realize until using it that it’s not what I thought it would be like. Very often, you only need a few hits to get relief, and that’s not enough to give you any appreciable feeling of being high. And when I do get a little buzzed, I know it just comes with the territory. It’s not horrible. Watch something funny on tv. And it doesn’t last long either.

    2. Sheila
      where to start?

      I had my family doctor refer me to a Cannibis Clinic in my area (Winnipeg, MB), as I was wanting to try it for my chronic back pain – like you, I didn’t know where to start, and wanted to be advised by someone with medical training. I’ve since had back surgery, and my pain levels are coming down to the point where I think I can eventually wean off of all the prescriptions I’ve been using for years (Yay!) But now I have RLS! The Cannibis Clinic advised me of some different strains I could try to help with this. I think it’s worth looking into, although not a cheap method of relief, compared to other medicinal options.

  10. Chelle
    Marijuana causes rls for me

    I suffer with rls. Usually marijuana helps, occasionally certain strains actually cause it for me. For instance, Candyland gives me severe rls for hours.

    Is there any research on marijuana causing rls?

    1. Gasbird
      Increased discomfort with some strains

      As previously mentioned, some strains actually increase the discomfort of RLS, while others relieve the symptoms. More research is needed.

    2. Tom Donahue
      Same problem, What happened?

      It helped initially and stopped RLS in its tracks, then after using it for about a month the RLS was continuing through the night even though I was taking more Ropineral and it wouldn’t touch it. Now any form of Canabis smoked has caused the same thing. it wouldn’t reside.

  11. Christopher P. Diehl
    Baking soda for RLS

    I have severe rls. To the point of contemplating suicide. Best way for me to describe it is someone is hitting your knee cap with a hammer to test your reflexes. About every 30 seconds my legs jump uncontrollably. This happens all day every day and the only way i get relief is if I walk around. Last night at about 830 made 72 hours straight I was without sleep. I read an article saying to mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water and drink it. I swear on everything that in 20 minutes my restless legs were gone. I slept for about 16 hours. If you live in a state that mj is illegal or you don’t want to go that route please try the baking soda. It really worked. Also try a bar of IVORY soap or IRISH SPRING in your sock before bed. It helps a lot of people. God Bless all of you and I’m praying we can get through this.

    1. Peter Erikson
      Can't last too many years longer

      All my life I’ve had little tricks to stop my RLS symptoms from getting worse at night, starting at about age 10. Now that I’m 61, forget about it — it’s always bad and nothing helps. I can’t imagine living with this that many more years. I saw the comment about baking soda; maybe I’ll try it. If I have to pee at all, it makes my RLS especially bad. So I’ll get up for a while and then stand at the urinal for as much as 5 or 10 minutes to empty my bladder in drips and drabs.

      1. Jay Moroso
        Long pee time

        Get your prostate checked. Probably enlarged, causing the blockage/low urine flow.

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