CBD oil has been touted as an elixir for many conditions. Could it help control restless legs syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) affects up to 10 percent of the U.S. population, causing people to lose sleep due to uncontrollable spasms in the legs when they try to rest. If you suffer from RLS, you may find temporary relief by moving your legs in an attempt to stop the cramping and tingling sensation in your legs. Unfortunately, those unpleasant symptoms do not go away and you feel tired during the day due to lack of restful sleep.

Because the probable causes of RLS cover a wide range of conditions, from iron deficiency and low dopamine in the brain to varicose veins, remedies are elusive. However, a small number of studies and anecdotal reports suggest that CBD oil may help relieve the uncomfortable sensations of RLS and swollen varicose veins.

How CBD oil works in RLS

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is found in the hemp plant along with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Both substances interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates our perception of certain physiological sensations, such as mood, hunger, energy level, pain and sleep, among many others. The difference between CBD and medical hemp is that CBD oil is most often derived from industrial hemp, which contains a higher amount of cannabidiol, but does not contain THC, the psychoactive agent that creates a feeling of euphoria in the user. That’s why you can buy CBD oil in retail stores.

In recent years, many states have approved medical hemp to treat a variety of conditions, including chronic pain and inflammation. For RLS patients, the main benefit of CBD oil is its relaxing effect, which makes it easier for a person to get a restful night’s sleep. That conclusion is supported by a recent study, which reports that RLS patients experience a reduction in symptoms after taking hemp.

CBD oil is not a cure for RLS; it simply relieves some of the painful side effects of the condition. If you think you suffer from RLS, you will need a complete diagnostic workup to determine what may be causing it. RLS has been attributed to several medical conditions, including iron deficiency, kidney disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. It could also be due to medications you take, such as antidepressants and anti-nausea medications. If you have one of these conditions, you will be prescribed dopamine agents to increase dopamine levels in the brain, iron supplements or other medication to treat that condition.

Varicose Vein Treatment for RLS

Another possible cause of your RLS could be varicose veins. Varicose veins and RLS share many symptoms, such as leg pain and cramping. Studies have suggested a connection between RLS and varicose veins. According to research, when people with RLS and venous insufficiency were treated for varicose veins, RLS symptoms decreased significantly.

Similar to its calming effect on RLS patients, CBD oil may reduce the discomfort and inflammation caused by varicose veins. If you don’t want to use CBD or medical hemp, you can try hemp oil, which contains neither CBD nor THC. Instead, it contains omega-3 fatty acids that thin the blood as it flows through the veins. Varicose veins develop when blood becomes blocked in the veins due to malfunctioning valves. Any substance that increases the speed of blood flow helps circulation, decreases swelling and reduces the appearance of varicose veins.

CBD tablets can be taken before bedtime orally or topically. Start with a low dose and, of course, check with your doctor first to make sure it does not interfere with other medications you may be prescribed.

Gary J. Carrion