5 Best Cannabis Strains for Restless Legs (Updated)

Find out which marijuana strains are best...
MarijuanaBreak Staff MarijuanaBreak Staff / Updated on July 3, 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.

Article Sources:
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54 comments
  1. Jeanne
    Sign me up for medical marijuana for my RLS!

    I’ve had RLS for three years now, and regularly augment for about 2 weeks, when my dosages of Ropinerale (Requip) aren’t enough to handle my symptoms and my dosage is increased. I’m now up to 4mgs twice a day. I split the morning dose in half, otherwise I fall asleep while doing things. I take half around 7am and then the other half around 10am. My mornings are hell. I have constant, chronic symptoms that only walking around my house will lessen. I’m miserable until around noon, and then the afternoon is smooth sailing and I wait until my legs start to jump around 7pm to take a full pill for the night. I fall asleep rapidly, but wake up to full wakefulness around 11pm and am up until 3 or 4am. Thankfully, I’m 67 and retired, otherwise I’d never be able to hold down a job! Meanwhile, the symptoms I have are like electric shocks to the thighs, shins, ankles and feet. Nothing down the back of my legs, strangely enough. It’s a full-blown muscle spasm with pain and a severe tightening of the muscle groups into what I can only describe as a ‘clamp’. It lasts for about 20 seconds. Reminds me of labor contractions, but in my legs.

    I live in Florida, and I’ve just qualified and started the procedure for my medical marijuana card. I’ve talked to a few people and decided on vaping the oil, if the MD oks that. When I was visiting my son in Colorado, he got a specific strain for me, and after smoking it…..I had no symptoms and a healthy night’s sleep. I thought it was the high altitude he lives at (10,000 feet), but it was the pot. I’m also on a lot of supplements: Iron, Magnesium, Super B’s (all of the B vitamins in a blend), and Selenium. I have always been a little anemic, and if RLS develops, you need a bigger norm number for iron in the blood.

    By the way, my father had RLS, but there was no name for it 20 years ago. My mom used to say it was like he was running a marathon in his sleep, and eventually they had to go into twin beds, so my mom could get some rest. My oldest son has it, too. It’s a horrible disease. ‘Restless Legs’ isn’t a good name for it, because it makes you think its just a little position turning. Even this article called it “not serious”. It is serious. If people want to commit suicide over it…….it’s serious.

    Prayers and best wishes for anyone who has it………and thanks for this article. I was happy to see that medical marijuana helps.

  2. Robert livolsi
    25 years of hell

    I’ve had RLS for 25 years, I have it in the legs,arms and chest,I probably would have killed my self if I didn’t have a family, I’ve beaten myself until the pain felt better than the RLS ,you can just imagine how my kids felt watching me do this ,or just to hear me slap my legs with a stick. I have taken every drug known ,they only work for a short time.i have recently tried medical marijuana and it helped right away,I also have to find the right combination .

    1. James Brooks
      Reply to Robert L.

      Robert Livolsi – I began suffering from RLS in my arms about 40 years ago. I finally realized that 100% of the trigger was when I consumed MSG or any of the related – Modified Starch, Hydrolyzed Yeast, Autolyzed Proteins, or similar “Natural Flavorings”. I also suffer from RLS which is concentrated in the knees. That is mainly triggered by anything that puts a strain on my immune system – chemical cleaners, dryer sheets, pesticides, paints and to some extent, dusts and pollen. I have had good success using Kratom, but it is not meant to be used on a daily basis. Am looking forward to trying some of these strains when feasible. Hope this is of some help. Good luck, Jim

  3. Evelyn Snowden
    My view

    We hear a lot of measures these days, to opt for alternative medicines, to heal various nervous problems, like acupuncture, marijuana, homeopathy, naturopathy and what not. These sometimes help and sometimes not, but we must not ignore our Allopathy, or the normal medicine, that we must take for such problems. It can do more harm than good if we just rely on alternative paths.

  4. Monte
    Finally, some relief!

    I’m 69 and have had rls for about 15 years. I’ve gone through all the meds, had some short term success and augmented on requip. Now I smoke weed – illegally – along with 15 mg of methadone and have no problems. I finally can get a full night of restful sleep.

  5. Dave
    Tried everything but pot.

    My name is Dave in New Jersey. Well after reading about some of your experiences I guess I don’t have the worst case in the world after all. I have tried 7 different medications some reaching the very top levels of mgs. My restless legs has gotten so bad in the last few months that I wanted to kill myself. And it lasts for hours. Some of you say it last for days I would have shot myself if that was the case. I was in a car accident and I have spinal herniation damage an i still walk and jog some but the back pain is really bad even after months of physical therapy. So now I’m thinking about trying pot oil vape I can’t take smoke of any kind but they said that’s the best The vape or possibly eating the oil. I will talk to somebody when I go to Vegas as it’s legal there. I’m getting a nerve test Monday because I’m afraid it could lead to Parkinson’s which the doctor says I won’t get but I got to make sure. This is a dopamine effects on the brain not nerves or veins whatever my neurologist said it’s strictly from the brain so all the other stuff acupuncture all that is a waste apparently. So my next step is to try pot oil eating it or vaping it and I have to talk to the guys there to find what strain I should use inoa probably have to experiment. This site has actually cheered me up some cuz I don’t feel so alone. I do have many problems and one of them is I take a lot of medication that seems to aggravate the medications I was taking like the neupro patch. I also have herpes and I am 63 years old. I look good I’m in good shape and I date a lot of younger women but one bit me thank goodness I never get any sores or anything. I stopped taking my herpes medicine which made me more aroused which is a good thing I guess haha but it seemed to make my restless legs worse so for now I stopped it but I have to go back on it if I want to date again and of course I wear condoms now which I should have before. I had a car accident which caused a herniation to my lower back and neck and of course I take the medication for the herpe and now I’m going back to ropinorol which makes you seasick but I try to take it before bed. I am going to try the pot oil vape or eating it very soon I’ll let you know how it worked.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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 !!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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