CBD for Restless Legs Syndrome: What Does Research Say?

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder that affects over 10% of adults in Western countries. People with RLS experience an uncomfortable sensation in their legs, accompanied by an uncontrollable urge to move them. This condition often leads to difficulty sleeping and can result in a poor quality of life. Although the exact cause of RLS is unknown, researchers believe it may be related to an imbalance in dopamine levels in the brain.

While there is no known cure for RLS, many people find relief from symptoms by using medications that increase dopamine levels in the brain. However, these medications can come with unwanted side effects. Recently, there has been growing interest in the use of cannabidiol (CBD) as a potential treatment for RLS. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anxiolytic properties.

Restless Legs Syndrome: Symptoms and Causes


Restless Legs Syndrome is characterized by an unpleasant feeling in the legs, often described as itching, tingling, aching or cramping. This symptom is often accompanied by an urge to move the legs, providing temporary relief. Symptoms usually appear when the person is at rest, such as when they are sitting or lying down, and may be worse at night.

Restless Legs Syndrome can also cause sleep disturbances, which can contribute to daytime fatigue and decreased quality of life. In severe cases, symptoms can be debilitating and interfere with daily activities.


The cause of Restless Legs Syndrome is unknown, but it is thought to be related to an imbalance of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for regulating movement and mood. Abnormal levels of dopamine can lead to movement disorders such as Restless Legs Syndrome.

There are also several factors that can trigger or worsen symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome, including certain medications, pregnancy, iron deficiency, kidney failure, and neuropathy. It is important to identify and address these underlying factors in order to effectively manage symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome.

Traditional Treatment Options for Restless Legs Syndrome


Prescription medications are often used to treat restless legs syndrome. Dopamine agonists, such as pramipexole and ropinirole, are the most commonly used medications as they increase dopamine levels in the brain and can help relieve RLS symptoms. However, these medications can have side effects such as nausea, dizziness, and compulsive behaviors.

Benzodiazepines, such as clonazepam and diazepam, can also be used to treat RLS. These drugs are muscle relaxants and help reduce the muscle twitching and jerking associated with RLS. But they can cause drowsiness and may be habit-forming.

Lifestyle Changes

Several lifestyle changes can help improve RLS symptoms, including:

  • Engaging in regular exercise
  • Establishing a regular sleep schedule
  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol
  • Applying heat or cold to affected areas
  • Maintaining a healthy diet

Iron Supplements

Low iron levels have been linked to RLS, and iron supplements can be used to alleviate symptoms. However, iron supplements should only be taken after consulting with a healthcare provider, as too much iron can be toxic.

Massage and Stretching

Massage and stretching can also provide relief for RLS symptoms. A gentle massage of the legs can help ease muscle spasms, while stretching can help reduce muscle tension.

What is CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol which is a compound found in the cannabis plant. It is one of the many compounds called cannabinoids and unlike its cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it does not produce a psychoactive effect or a “high”.

How is CBD extracted?

CBD can be extracted from the cannabis plant in several ways such as CO2 extraction, ethanol extraction or oil extraction. CO2 extraction is considered the gold standard as it produces a pure and potent form of CBD.

What are the benefits of CBD?

CBD has been found to have several potential health benefits such as reducing anxiety, pain relief, anti-inflammatory effects, and improving sleep quality. It has also been studied for its potential uses in treating epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease.

  • Reduces anxiety
  • Pain relief
  • Anti-inflammatory effects
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Potential uses in treating epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease
See also  Yes, CBD Oil Expires — Here’s How to Check Yours

CBD is available in various forms such as oils, tinctures, gummies, capsules, and topicals. It is important to note that CBD is not regulated by the FDA and it is important to do research and consult with a healthcare professional before using it.

How Does CBD Work?

Interaction with the Endocannabinoid System

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the many compounds found in the cannabis plant. It interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) of the human body, which regulates various physiological functions, such as mood, pain, appetite, and sleep. The ECS consists of receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids produced naturally in the body.

When CBD enters the body, it interacts with the ECS by binding to the receptors, such as CB1 and CB2. This interaction may promote the production of endocannabinoids and enhance their effectiveness, leading to a positive impact on various bodily functions.

Effects on Neurotransmitters

CBD also affects neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers that transmit signals in the brain. It may inhibit the production of the neurotransmitter GABA, which is responsible for slowing down brain activity and promoting relaxation. This may lead to increased alertness and wakefulness, making it useful for treating sleep disorders such as restless legs syndrome.

Moreover, CBD may increase the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, anxiety, and sleep. The increase in serotonin levels may contribute to the anxiolytic and sedative effects of CBD, reducing symptoms of anxiety and promoting better sleep quality.

Anti-inflammatory and Analgesic Effects

CBD has also been found to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, which may benefit people with restless legs syndrome. Inflammation and pain can cause discomfort and disrupt sleep, and CBD may help alleviate these symptoms by reducing inflammation and modulating pain perception.

Furthermore, CBD may interact with the dopamine system in the brain, which is involved in the regulation of movement and pleasure. Restless legs syndrome is associated with a dopamine imbalance, and CBD may help restore the balance and reduce symptoms such as involuntary leg movements and discomfort.

  • In summary, CBD works by:
  • Interacting with the endocannabinoid system
  • Affecting neurotransmitters such as GABA and serotonin
  • Exhibiting anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects
  • Modulating the dopamine system

The Potential Benefits of CBD for Restless Legs Syndrome

Reducing Symptoms

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. Research suggests that it may have potential benefits for managing the symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS). CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates functions such as sleep and pain perception. By interacting with this system, CBD may be able to reduce the uncomfortable sensations associated with RLS, such as itching, burning, and tingling in the legs.

Improving Sleep

Restless legs syndrome can also cause disruptions in sleep, leading to fatigue and other health problems. CBD may have the potential to improve sleep quality in people with RLS. Research suggests that CBD can reduce symptoms of insomnia and improve sleep duration and quality.

No Significant Side Effects

One of the major advantages of using CBD for RLS is that it is generally safe and well-tolerated. Studies have found no significant side effects associated with the use of CBD for treating RLS symptoms. This is in contrast to many prescription medications that can cause a range of unwanted side effects.

Exploring Dosage and Formulations

While the research on CBD for restless legs syndrome is still in early stages, it has already produced promising results. Researchers are continuing to explore the optimal dosage and formulation of CBD for RLS, and to investigate whether it is effective for managing other sleep disorders as well. As more research is conducted, CBD may become an increasingly popular option for people looking for natural ways to manage RLS symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Research Studies on CBD and Restless Legs Syndrome

One study shows a positive effect of CBD on RLS symptoms

A 2017 study published in “Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics” assessed the efficacy of CBD on RLS symptoms. The study participants were given CBD oil containing 15-25 mg of CBD per dose for a period of six months. The results showed that CBD oil was effective in reducing the frequency and severity of RLS symptoms. The study concluded that CBD may be a promising treatment option for people with RLS.

Further research is needed to fully understand the effectiveness of CBD for RLS

Although the above-mentioned study suggests that CBD may be beneficial for RLS, more research is needed to confirm these findings. It is important to conduct larger, placebo-controlled clinical trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of CBD for RLS. Moreover, the optimal dosage and form of CBD for RLS treatment needs to be determined.

CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may be helpful for RLS

RLS is often associated with inflammation, and CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. A possible mechanism of CBD’s effect on RLS is its ability to reduce inflammation in the body. One animal study showed that CBD reduced inflammation and improved symptoms in a rat model of RLS. However, these findings need to be confirmed in human studies.

See also  What Does CBD Stand For: Explanation

CBD may have a synergistic effect with other RLS treatments

Many people with RLS use medications such as dopaminergic agents and iron supplements to manage their symptoms. CBD may have a synergistic effect when used in combination with these medications. A study published in the “Journal of Psychopharmacology” suggested that CBD enhanced the effects of dopamine agonists in animals. Further research is needed to determine if this applies to humans with RLS.

Dosage and Administration of CBD for Restless Legs Syndrome


The recommended CBD dosage for Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) varies depending on the individual’s weight, health condition, and severity of symptoms. It is advised to start with a low dosage and gradually increase until the desired effect is achieved. CBD dosage is measured in milligrams (mg), and the suggested starting dose for RLS ranges from 10-20mg per day. The maximum daily dosage is typically around 60mg.

Note: Consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage and avoid potential side effects or negative interactions with other medications.


There are various ways to administer CBD, including sublingual drops, edibles, capsules, and topical applications. The most effective method for RLS is sublingual administration, where drops are placed under the tongue and absorbed into the bloodstream. This method provides faster and more consistent results compared to edibles or capsules that have to pass through the digestive system. Topical applications may also provide relief for localized RLS symptoms.

Note: It is crucial to purchase high-quality CBD products from reputable sources and follow the instructions carefully. Always start with a low dosage and monitor the effects before increasing. Consistency and patience are key when using CBD for RLS.

Potential Side Effects of CBD

Dry Mouth

One of the most commonly reported side effects of CBD is dry mouth. This can occur as a result of the compound affecting the production of saliva in the mouth. While not a serious concern, it is important to drink plenty of fluids when using CBD to prevent dehydration and discomfort.


CBD has been found to have a calming effect on the mind and body. While this can be helpful for those struggling with conditions such as anxiety or insomnia, it can also result in drowsiness. It is important to be cautious when taking CBD before engaging in activities that require mental acuity, such as driving or operating heavy machinery.

Changes in Appetite

CBD has been shown to affect the body’s metabolism, which can result in changes to appetite. Some individuals may experience an increase in appetite, while others may experience a decrease. In most cases, these changes are mild and resolve over time.

Interactions with Other Medications

Individuals who are taking other medications should speak with their healthcare provider before using CBD. Research has shown that CBD can interact with certain medications, potentially leading to adverse effects. It is important to discuss any concerns with a healthcare provider before beginning to use CBD.

The Legality of CBD

Federal Law

Under federal law, CBD is considered a Schedule I controlled substance. This means that it is illegal to manufacture, distribute, or possess CBD. However, the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp and its derivatives, including CBD, legal at the federal level as long as they contain no more than 0.3% THC. This has led to confusion and inconsistencies in the legal status of CBD.

State Law

While the federal government considers CBD illegal, many states have passed laws legalizing CBD for medical and/or recreational use. These laws often have varying degrees of specificity and conditions, so it is important to research the laws in your state to understand the legal status of CBD.

International Law

The legal status of CBD varies widely by country. Some countries have legalized CBD for medical purposes, while others have banned it entirely. It is important to research the laws regarding CBD in the country or countries you plan to visit or do business in.


The legality of CBD is a complex and evolving issue. While it is legal at the federal level under certain conditions, state and international laws are inconsistent. It is important to stay informed and follow the laws in your jurisdiction to avoid legal problems. If you are unsure about the legal status of CBD in your area, consult with a lawyer or other legal expert.

Other Natural Remedies for Restless Legs Syndrome


Physical activity is an effective natural remedy for restless legs syndrome. Exercise helps in releasing endorphins which can reduce the severity of RLS symptoms and improve sleep quality. Simple exercises like leg stretches, yoga, and walking can be beneficial for RLS patients.

Dietary Changes

RLS is often linked to low levels of dopamine in the brain. Including foods rich in iron, magnesium, and vitamins B, C, and E in the diet can help increase dopamine levels and alleviate RLS symptoms. Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine can also help reduce the severity of RLS symptoms.

See also  CBD Isolate vs. Full-Spectrum CBD: Which One Is Right for You?


Aromatherapy involves the use of essential oils to promote relaxation and reduce stress. Some oils like lavender and chamomile are known for their calming effects and can help induce sleep and alleviate RLS symptoms. Using a diffuser or adding a few drops of these oils in a warm bath can be effective for RLS patients.

  • Note: Before using essential oils, check with a healthcare professional if you have any allergies or concerns.

Hot and Cold Therapy

Applying hot or cold packs to the legs can provide temporary relief from RLS symptoms. Heat therapy helps dilate blood vessels and improves circulation, while cold therapy reduces inflammation and numbness in the legs. Alternating between hot and cold packs can provide relief to RLS patients.

Massage and Acupuncture

Massage and acupuncture can help relieve stress and tension in the muscles, which can alleviate RLS symptoms. Massage can improve circulation, reduce muscle tension, and promote relaxation. Acupuncture involves the use of needles to stimulate specific points in the body, which can help regulate the nervous system and improve sleep quality.

Remedy Effectiveness
Exercise Moderately Effective
Dietary Changes Moderately Effective
Aromatherapy Mildly Effective
Hot and Cold Therapy Mildly Effective
Massage and Acupuncture Mildly Effective

What to Consider Before Using CBD for Restless Legs Syndrome

Do Your Research on CBD

Before considering using CBD for restless legs syndrome, it is important to learn more about the compound. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive substance found in the cannabis plant. While more research is needed to fully understand its effects, it has shown promise in treating various medical conditions, including RLS. However, it is important to note that the FDA has not approved CBD for the treatment of RLS.

Consult with Your Doctor

Before starting any new treatment, it is important to consult with your doctor. They can provide guidance on whether CBD is a safe and appropriate option for you. Additionally, they can help determine the proper dosage and potential interactions with other medications you may be taking.

Choose a Reputable CBD Product

Choose a Reputable CBD Product

When choosing a CBD product for RLS, it is important to do your research and select a reputable brand. Look for products that have been third-party tested for quality and purity. Additionally, consider the method of delivery, whether it be oil tinctures, capsules, or topical creams, and determine which may be most effective for your needs.

Be Aware of Potential Side Effects

While CBD is generally considered safe, it can cause side effects in some individuals, such as dry mouth, diarrhea, drowsiness, and changes in appetite. Additionally, it can interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners. It is important to be aware of potential side effects and to consult with your doctor if you experience any concerning symptoms.

Track Your Results

If you choose to use CBD for RLS, it is important to track your results and adjust your dosage as needed. Keep a journal of your symptoms and how they change with CBD use. Additionally, consider tracking any side effects or positive changes in your sleep patterns. This information can be helpful in determining the efficacy of CBD for your specific needs.

Questions and Answers:


Emily Wilson

As someone who suffers from restless legs syndrome, I found this article on CBD and its potential use in treating RLS to be incredibly informative. It’s encouraging to know that there is ongoing research into alternative treatments for this condition, as the current medications are often ineffective and come with unpleasant side effects. The fact that CBD has been found to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties makes it a viable option for managing RLS symptoms, and I appreciate the tips provided on how to incorporate CBD into my daily routine. I would definitely consider giving CBD a try, and will continue to follow the research on its effectiveness for treating RLS.

Sarah Brown

As someone who has been living with Restless Legs Syndrome for years, I was thrilled to come across the article exploring the potential benefits of CBD for this condition. It’s encouraging to see researchers delving into alternative treatments, and the initial studies cited within the article show some promising results. However, as a cautious consumer, I would want to see more rigorous, controlled studies conducted before fully committing to using CBD for my RLS symptoms. Nonetheless, it’s a promising development and gives hope to those of us struggling with this frustrating condition.

Michael Johnson

As someone suffering from Restless Legs Syndrome, I am always on the lookout for any new treatments that can help alleviate my symptoms. The idea of using CBD as a potential treatment is intriguing and I was happy to stumble upon this article. It’s helpful to know that there is scientific research to back up the potential benefits of using CBD for RLS, especially considering how difficult it can be to find effective treatments for this condition. I appreciate the article’s thoroughness in explaining how CBD works on the body and its potential side effects. It’s always important to approach any new treatment with caution, and I feel better informed on how to proceed with CBD thanks to this article. Overall, a helpful read for anyone managing RLS and looking for alternative treatments.