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Restless Leg Syndrome and CBD

What is CBD Oil? 

One of over 110 chemical compounds that are present in the cannabis plant, CBD stands for cannabidiol. This is due to the chemical compounds being referred to as cannabinoids. They can react impressively with the body, creating a range of mood-enhancing effects.

This is due to our bodies reacting to the chemicals on cannabinoid receptors through our endocannabinoid system. This is why we see CBD oil helping with memory, pain and appetite reduction.

You are probably wondering how the endocannabinoid system works in our bodies. Well, our bodies naturally produce endocannabinoids - they don't just come from the cannabis plant. Using a supplement like CBD helps boost this production, so it is worthwhile using CBD oils and capsules. 

Some people mix up CBD with THC, believing it will have the same impact as the psychoactive compound. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol and is currently a component of the cannabis plant that is illegal. This is due to being able to make you high or inebriated. CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive properties and, thus, you can’t get high from it. This is why it is a controlled and legal substance in the UK. 


What is Restless Leg Syndrome 

Restless leg syndrome, also referred to as Willis-Ekbom disease or RLS, is a neurological disorder which affects about 10% of the UK Population, potentially more due to many cases being unreported. Restless Leg Syndrome has also been shown to be prevalent in pregnant women, particularly in the last three months of pregnancy, although it is not clear why that might be. 

RLS can cause unpleasant sensations in the legs, usually exposing itself as a powerful urge to move them. It can often be accompanied by a sensation of tingling, twitching or general discomfort in the legs that makes it uncomfortable to keep still. The condition mostly affects people at nightime, when trying to sleep, or any activity that involves sitting or laying still. 

It is said that restless leg syndrome can temporarily affect everybody within their lifetimes, and not everybody who’s got it will suffer from it chronically - symptoms can come and go, and increase or decrease in severity based on lifestyle choices, diet, and exercise. There are however individuals who find the condition affects them so intensely that they reach out for prescription medication to get relief.

The biggest downside of the condition, alongside the unpleasant sensations is that it can often make it very difficult to sleep and remain asleep, as the tingling can constantly urge the individual to move and turn making it hard for them to settle and fall asleep. This can further translate itself into sleep deprivation, low mood, irritability and a myriad of other health problems. 

At least 80 percent of people with RLS have a related condition called periodic limb movement of sleep (PLMS). PLMS causes the legs to twitch or jerk during sleep. It can happen as often as every 15 to 40 seconds and can continue all night long. PLMS can also lead to sleep deprivation.

Can CBD Help with Restless Leg Syndrome?

CBD has undergone multiple clinical trials which have unearthed its healing properties. CBD is present in two drug treatments for epilepsy, approved for use by the NHS in late 2019. This shows how CBD research is already having a huge impact on the treatment of certain chronic and non-chronic illnesses, particularly neurological conditions.

While research is still ongoing, it is clear that CBD has some incredible potential to treat degenerative conditions. Some evidence suggests that CBD has shown improvements in illnesses like Parkinsons, Alzheimers, Crohn’s, and Arthritis. As well as physical maladies, it has shown positive effects on conditions such as anxiety and depression, as well as addiction. 

Thanks to the success people had in managing their neurological conditions with CBD oil, it has became increasingly popular amongst people suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome. Previously, some of the home remedies of treating symptoms included taking hot baths, hot or cold compresses around legs, massages and exercises. Medication was also prescribed in certain cases, which did not target the condition itself however proved to improve some of the symptoms. 

The medications used for Restless Leg Syndrome are classified as Dopamine Agonists. These are commonly used to treat parkinson's disease, and have many side effects such as increased sleepiness, dizziness, and dry mouth. Finding a natural alternative with little to none side effects is therefore a priority for many people, with CBD often being the perfect solution. 

A study conducted by the Center for Clinical Science on 6 patients shows that CBD oil can relieve the symptoms of RLS. These participants observed reduced intensity or disappearance of the RLS symptoms after using CBD oil.

Research on the benefits of CBD to the body reveals that it is a muscle relaxant with powerful nerve-calming effects. It can be applied topically on the legs or taken orally to experience relief from your symptoms. Some people with RLS claim to have witnessed reduced sensations after using a CBD tincture under the tongue or applying topically on the legs before going to bed.

It is not clear whether CBD ends up treating the underlying causes of the symptoms of RLS. But users have reported better sleeping patterns. 

Despite these developments, CBD is still considered a food supplement rather than an actual medication but it brings much hope for alternative treatments in the future. For now, you can legally purchase CBD oil and other CBD products over the counter throughout the UK. The advertising regulations surrounding CBD are extremely strict and prohibit companies from marketing it as anything more than a wellness supplement. 

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