Restless leg syndrome affects roughly one in 10 adults in the US, a condition known for keeping people up at night because of the overwhelming urge to move the legs while at rest. Also known as Willis Ekbom Disease, restless leg syndrome is a wickedly debilitating sleep disorder that keeps countless people up at night. Many people however, are finding relief from restless leg syndrome by using medical marijuana.
Prescription medication is often given for restless leg syndrome. Dopamine agonists and agents, benzodiazepines, and opioids are common prescriptions for restless leg syndrome, but can all come with a host of unwanted side effects. Opioids and benzos can be addicting, and dopamine medications can cause nausea, vomiting, and even make symptoms worse. What’s more, is these prescriptions don’t even work for everyone.
Medical marijuana might, though.
Scientists Discover Restless Leg Syndrome Patients Find “Immediate Relief” After Smoking Marijuana
In June 2017, French scientists evaluated six restless leg syndrome patients. Each patient was known to be “treatment resistant”, which means that they did not see an improvement through traditional medications. Smoking medical marijuana however, changed everything.
After smoking a few hits of medical cannabis, each patient in the evaluation reported an immediate sense of relief. Patients also noted “total relief of RLS symptoms, as well as a complete improvement of sleep quality.”
Those that conducted the study say that “robust clinical trials are required to test the adequate profile of the effectiveness and safety of cannabinoids in RLS.” Basically, like with so many other health conditions, there is a need for further testing to gauge the adequacy of medical marijuana for RLS.
Sleep specialist and co-author of the study, Dr. Imad Ghorayeb, did say however, “Although I do not recommend the systematic use of cannabis, I would not go against patients with severe and refractory RLS who admit cannabis use.”
Medical Marijuana for Restless Leg Syndrome: People Report Relief from Symptoms and Better Sleep
While this is one of the first published studies conducted on medical marijuana for RLS, there have been reports of several people finding relief by using cannabis.
The Restless Leg Syndrome Foundation noted in 2015 that although there haven’t been any clinical trials or studies to date, “anecdotal evidence from some patients’ experiences with the drug have shown improvement in some of the symptoms commonly associated with RLS.”
The RLS Foundation also reported that patients find the most benefit by smoking marijuana, rather than ingesting it. Just a few puffs from a pipe, joint, or vaporizer has shown to give immediate relief, with even the most severe symptoms eliminated in just a couple of minutes.
Other observations made in the 70s showed the same, highlighting the fact that smoking smaller doses of cannabis seemed to have the greatest effect. Rather than getting extremely baked before bed, microdosing marijuana before bed is the best bet for getting relief from restless leg syndrome.
More research is necessary, yes. And no one is saying medical marijuana is a magic cure that will make restless leg syndrome go away. It doesn’t work for everyone, but neither do the prescriptions that are commonly prescribed. It does however, work for some. And it’s a great way to help people get the sleep they need.
Are you someone who suffers from restless leg syndrome? Have you found relief using medical marijuana? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.