CBD Oil for Muscle Spasms: Is Cannabidiol an Effective Treatment?

Man in Running Attire Suffers Spasms on the Legs While Sitting on the Ground
Written by Livvy Ashton | Last updated: July 14, 2021

CBD is a great way to relieve the symptoms of muscle spasms.

In this article, we will be looking at the best CBD for muscle spasms.

We’ll cover how it works, what dose to use, what forms work best, and what side-effects to watch out for.

What Are Muscle Spasms?

Muscle spasms, also known as muscle cramps, are the result of involuntary contractions. Muscle spasms can become an issue if they cannot be relaxed naturally.

Anyone can suffer from muscle spasms with the most common muscle groups being the thighs, claws, arms, hands, and feet.

Pain levels range from mild annoyance to severe pain.

When you suffer from muscle spasms, the affected muscle may feel harder and look distorted. This is due to the involuntary contractions. These spasms can last a few seconds to 10 minutes or more.

Muscle spasms can happen at any time to people of all ages. When you’re exercising, sitting still, sleeping, or even walking to the shop you can experience these cramps.

Some people suffer more than others. People with diabetes, anemia, MS, spinal injuries, or kidney disease can suffer more from this issue than people in good health.

What Causes Muscle Spasms?

woman inn jogging outfit holds her right leg due to muscle spasm while on the road

Whether you suffer from the above ailments or not, there are a few common issues that can cause muscle spasms. See the list below.

  • Over-exercising
  • Insufficient stretching before physical activity
  • Dehydration
  • Stress
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Physical activity in hot climates
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Too much caffeine
  • Exhaustion and lack of sleep
  • Certain prescription medications

Methods to Reduce or Prevent Muscle Spasms

As well as using CBD for muscle spasms there are some ways you can reduce or prevent the spasms entirely. Of course, if you suffer from a disease, illness, or take medication that causes muscle spasms, these pointers may not help.

If you regularly suffer from muscle spasms, then implementing a few of the points below may help you:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Make sure to stretch before strenuous activity
  • Try and lower your stress levels (CBD is great for this)
  • Get a full 8 hours rest at night
  • Take mineral supplements that include magnesium, potassium, and sodium
  • If prescription meds are causing issues, speak with your doctor about alternatives
  • Cut down on the caffeine
  • Avoid over-exercising

Muscle Spasms & the Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system is made up of cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. It’s a complex cell-signaling system that was first identified in the 1990s.

Regardless of whether you use CBD or other cannabis products, this system is part of everyone’s biology.

Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids made inside the body. They help regulate a range of functions and processes. See the list below for a few of these.

  • Mood and emotion
  • Sleep
  • Memory
  • Appetite
  • Fertility
  • Immune response
  • metabolism

In the same way that endocannabinoids interact with the body, cannabinoids from the hemp plant do as well — including CBD. They do this by interacting with CB1 and CB2 receptors.

CB1 receptors have been identified predominantly in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). They’ve also been found in connective tissues, the intestines, gonads, and other peripheral organs.

CB2 receptors have been identified in white blood cells, the spleen, tonsils, thymus, and lymphatic system.

CBD and other cannabinoids interact with these receptors. Studies have shown that CBD impacts receptor activity. They can interact with neurotransmitters, reduce inflammation, and aid in pain relief.

When a muscle contracts, causing cramps and spasms, it’s because of a chemical message from the central nervous system. The body’s endocannabinoid system can take care of this and reduce contractions and pain.

If the body struggles to produce enough endocannabinoids to stop these chemical signals, then muscle spasms will continue to cause discomfort.

This is where CBD comes in.

CBD interacts with the CB1 receptors in the central nervous system and effectively slows the chemical signals that are causing the spasms [1].

This results in muscle relaxation and fewer muscle contractions. Pain relief coincides with these effects.

Can CBD Relieve Muscle Spasms?

man in white shirt pushes through his hands his muscle spasms on upper and lower back

As mentioned in the last section, CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to relieve muscle spasms and the pain associated with it.

CBD Relaxes the Muscles

CBD is a great muscle relaxant. Unlike painkillers, muscle relaxants work to solve the issue of muscle cramps rather than just numbing the pain that results from it.

The beauty of CBD is that it gets to the root of the problem and influences the chemical signals that cause muscle spasms (as mentioned in the last section).

Unlike spasmolytic and neuromuscular blockers, CBD has few negative side effects and works with your body’s natural functions rather than against them.

Spasmolytic muscle relaxants are particularly dangerous, especially for older people. They can increase heart rate, blood pressure, and can be incredibly addictive as this type of medication is part of the opioid group.

CBD certainly isn’t dangerous, doesn’t increase the heart rate, and there are no documented cases of addiction to the cannabinoid.

CBD Reduces Stress

CBD helps reduce stress which can be a trigger for muscle spasms.

There is a lot to say about CBD reducing stress and anxiety [2]. The cannabinoid is commonly used to help these problems by people all over the world.

Although stress is not directly related to muscle spasms, it can be one of the reasons you’re experiencing these issues.

It’s important to address the cause of an issue. If stress is giving you muscle spasms, you should work toward reducing or eliminating it completely. Lowering stress levels using CBD could be a great long-term treatment if stress is the cause.

CBD Can Aid Sleep

Lack of sleep and exhaustion can cause muscles to spasm. CBD can help you get to sleep faster and achieve a full nights’ rest.

If you struggle with sleep, high-doses of CBD before bedtime can help you doze off into a deep sleep. Stress is often the cause of lack of sleep, so both factors go hand in hand.

Some research shows that CBD can have an effect on cortisol levels [3].

Cortisol regulates your sleep cycle. Some people (particularly insomnia sufferers) have high levels of cortisol at night which keeps them awake.

Taking high doses of CBD at night can decrease cortisol levels, getting you to sleep easier and faster.

CBD Aids Muscle Recovery

CBD is believed to aid in muscle recovery [4]. Many athletes and fitness fanatics use CBD as it can speed up the muscle recovery process.

If you’re experiencing muscle spasms after exercise or excessive physical activity, this benefit will help you get instant and long-term relief.

During strenuous exercise, the muscles tear and rebuild during the recovery period. During this period some people experience cramping and spasms. If you can recover more efficiently you will experience less discomfort.

How Much CBD to Take for Muscle Spasms?

a hand holding CBD Oil dropper with enough amount of CBD Oil with blurry plants on the background

High-potency CBD oil is the best treatment for muscle spasms. 

How much you take will depend on you and how your body reacts to the CBD. If you’ve never used CBD before it’s best to start small and work your way up.

The dosage needed to stop muscle spasms will vary from person to person, so a bit of self-experimentation is needed to find your balance. Steadily increase your dosages until you get the effect you’re looking for.

Oils are the easiest way to find out how many milligrams of CBD you need to control muscle spasms. You can adjust the dosage by increasing or decreasing the drops of oil taken.

Final Thoughts: Does CBD Work for Muscle Spasms?

CBD is a great way to reduce muscle spasms and pain you may have as a result of them. Unlike other muscle relaxants and painkillers, CBD has few negative effects on your body and is a natural product.

As well as solving the problem directly, CBD has a number of benefits that work together to reduce muscle spasms for the long-term.

If you got to the end of this read, you’ll know exactly how CBD can help muscle spasms and what to look for when it comes time to purchase a treatment.

If you have any questions about CBD and muscle spasms, please comment down below.

Thanks for reading.

References Used in This Article

  1. Shenglong Zou and Ujendra Kumar. (2018). Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System. International journal of molecular science,19(3): 833.
  2. Esther M. Blessing, Maria M. Steenkamp, Jorge Manzanares, and Charles R. Marmar. (2015). Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Springer Neurotherapeutics, 12(4): 825–836.
  3. Scott Shannon, Nicole Lewis, Heather Lee, and Shannon Hughes. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente Journal, 23: 18-041.
  4. Danielle McCartney, Melissa J. Benson, Ben Desbrow, Christopher Irwin, Anastasia Suraev, and Iain S. McGregor. (2020). Cannabidiol and Sports Performance: a Narrative Review of Relevant Evidence and Recommendations for Future Research. Springer Sports Medicine-Open, 6: 27.

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.

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