By: Sarah Long
Sarah Long, a chemo patient, has started taking Cannabidiol (CBD) capsules for her muscle cramps. She describes her leg cramps as occurring in her right calf. She says the muscles are “cramping so intensely, like a charley horse.” Before CBD, Sarah tried heat, epsom salt baths, self-massage. No matter what she tried “it wouldn’t release.” Only CBD capsules were able to treat her symptoms.
What Is CBD? Cannabidiol or CBD is a compound found in the cannabis plants. CBD is at higher ratio percentage in hemp than marijuana. Marijuana, on the other hand, is higher in Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. THC is the compound in cannabis that has a psychoactive effect. It is the drug that makes the user “high.” CBD, however, is non-psychoactive and used largely for therapeutic purposes.
Cannabinoids, like CBD and THC, work on the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is an internal regulatory system in mammals bodies. Like cannabis, we make our own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids. When these cannabinoids are low our body is out of balance and can suffer from a range of inflictions. Sarah Long prefers the non-psychoactive nature of CBD. She enjoys the anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal benefits that return her body to homeostasis.
As Sarah Long informs us, many cancer patients do not solely take CBD; they take THC as well. Sarah said the reason for this is unclear to her, but “how it was explained to [her is] that THC helps kill cancer while CBD helps to remove down, dead cancer cells from the bloodstream.”
Though it is true some very small trials and groups have found success with cannabis shrinking tumors, there are not enough clinical studies to say cannabis treats cancer. Sarah Long does not claim to be an expert. She says, “all I know is CBD worked like crazy to release my calf muscle, and it took my leg cramps away.”
It most certainly treats the symptoms and the side effects of chemotherapy, though. One of the primary uses of medical cannabis is to treat chemo-induced nausea and vomiting.
The only downside of CBD-use for Sarah is the cost. In the United States, Sarah explains, CBD is still associated heavily with marijuana and the psychoactivity of THC. If in a state with legal access, CBD is expensive. She says it is about $10 a gram. She gets 20 capsules per bottle. She pays $40 for a refill. She says, “I don’t take CBD all the time just because financially it is not realistic.”
All in all, CBD is what Sarah Long recommends for leg cramps. Studies support her recommendation. Studies show cannabinoids can treat muscle spasms, cramps, and spasticity.