Medical Cannabis in the Treatment of Leg Cramps at Night

Medical cannabis used to treat leg cramps at night

Image Credit: By Stock-Asso on shutterstock.

Nocturnal leg cramps are also known as charley horse. It refers to the sudden muscle contraction (shortening of the muscles) we usually experience on our calf during the night (even possible in the day).

Leg cramps are characterized by tight and knotted muscles. These spasms can sometimes be painful. The usually last a few minutes but can recur frequently if it is severe. We cannot control these contractions, but we can massage the muscles as it happens to lessen the pain. Although leg cramps are linked to restless legs syndrome (RLS) or Willis-Ekbom Disease, they are both completely different.

RLS causes an uncomfortable and unpleasant sensations such as pins and needles and itching. These symptoms can cause the urge you to move your legs. RLS is not painful like leg cramps are.

What Causes Leg Cramps?

Leg cramps that seems to happen with no apparent reason are called Idiopathic leg cramps. There is no identified cause for leg cramps, but researches have theories on why leg cramps occur. Listed below are some of these theories.

Sitting/Standing for long periods:This is because our leg muscles are active during these occasions. Standing and walking on concrete floors may not help. As well as improper sitting positions and posture.

  • Intense Exercise: Overexertion of our muscles during the day can cause these cramps at night.
  • Linked to medications and other medical conditions. Such as:
  • Pregnancy
  • Alcoholism
  • Neuromuscular Disorders
  • Endocrine Disorders
  • Dehydration
  • Structural Disorders (flat feet)
  • Statins, beta agonists, and diuretics
  • A study said that leg cramps at night usually happens during the winter months rather than the summer. Researchers believe that this is due to the lack of Vitamin D exposure from the sun. Vitamin D is beneficial for our nerves, and during winter months Vitamin D is hard to come by in certain countries. This statement earned some arguments of course.

    How Can You Treat Leg Cramps?

    Since leg cramps and uncontrollable and happen suddenly and for short periods of time, it’s difficult to treat it. However, if you suffer from leg cramps you can take steps to try and decrease its occurrence or to prevent them. The steps to treating leg cramps are:

    1. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is the best thing that we can do for our bodies. We lose a lot of water during the day, especially if we have an active lifestyle. It’s essential to drink plenty of water so that we replenish ourselves. It’s important to note that a body that is dehydrated can make muscles a lot more vulnerable to cramps
    2. Stretching: Is vital for your body and your mind. Yoga is a great example of this. If you are suffering from a leg cramp, stretch it out straight away and gently rub the muscle affected. This will help ease the pain and hopefully decreased it’s time period.
    3. Include magnesium in your diet: This is a crucial need for muscles and nerves. B vitamins keep nerves and cells healthy. You can add these into your diet through a supplement. Researchers have found that cramps are more so to do with nerves rather than our muscles. So these supplements can really help with decreasing your risk of suffering from leg cramps.
    4. Use medication only for persistent cramps: It’s important to not depend too much on these types of medications because extensive use can harm our kidneys.

    What Is Medical Cannabis?

    Cannabis, also known as marijuana is a plant that has been known for a lot of controversy. But in recent years this plant is giving people hope for its medicinal properties. In the area of medicine researchers have conducted many studies on the cannabis plant. Miraculously, evidence shows that cannabis can treat some ailments like:

    • Insomnia
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Acne
    • Cancer
    • And many more

    In general, there are several classifications of the cannabis plant. These are:

    • Sativa
    • Indica
    • Ruderalis
    • Hybrids (different strains that are combined)

    Medicinal Cannabis For Treating Leg Cramps

    Treating muscles cramps and spasms using cannabis is a two level process. Since marijuana is clinically proven to contain anti-inflammatory properties, it can help with inflammation and even pain. When a muscle becomes contracted there will be deterioration of the tissues around the affected area.

    These tissues pull apart and immediately become strained. Once this occurs, the immune system will go into action. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is apart of this activation too. The ECS is a system within our body’s where cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) connect with cannabinoids.

    Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that are also found in the cannabis plant. They communicate with each other and send signals to the brain and neuron receptors to increase the healing process. This event will result in the positive response of the body to release tension. This in turn allows muscles to relax.

    There are several strains of cannabis that you can choose from. These strains are:

    1. Stephen Hawking’s kush: Ideal before a workout
    2. CBD critical cure: This is ideal for those who struggle to sleep
    3. Cali Big Bud: This is generally used by experienced smokers because of its high potency
    4. Pure OG Budder: This offers relief and a euphoric feeling. It is also known for its long-term effects
    5. Irene Kush: Has immediate pain relief from just the first puff
    6. Blue Blood: Is known to prevent muscles cramps from forming. This can also be effective in treating women who suffer from severe PMS

    Small but rigorous clinical trials observed the effectiveness of marijuana in spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis. It showed a significant and less dramatic effect compared to the survey and incidents records made with spasms.

    Clinical experiments and studies provide evidence that cannabis is effective in treating many ailments. However, more studies need to be conducted to answer many unanswered questions such as, what the long-term side effects of medicinal cannabis are.

    If you wish to try medicinal cannabis for treating leg cramps or a different medical condition, it’s important that you talk to your doctor first. They can provide you with all of the information regarding medicinal cannabis and what strains, doses and methods are best suited for you.

    The cannabis plant is an illegal substance across the globe. However, governments are starting to take steps towards legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes. Due to this, cannabis lies in a legal grey area. Therefore, it’s important that you read up on your state and/or country’s laws regarding the cannabis plant. This will prevent you from conducting in any illegal activity.

    Editorial Staff
    Editorial Staff
    At cannabisMD we aim to provide you with all the information and knowledge you need to take the next step in your personal cannabis journey! Read about our team

    1 Comment

    1. Linda Contreras says:

      Need relief from leg cramps at night, witch treatment is the best. Would not like to ingest. Prefer topical remedies.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *