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If you suffer from restless legs syndrome (RLS), the first thing you might notice is unpleasant and unusual sensations such as itching, tingling, creeping, or even burning in your legs. These feelings make it almost impossible to sit still or stay asleep.
This disorder, very common in pregnant women, affects around 10% of Americans.
Here’s how cannabis can help you treat it and recover your nights.
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a common neurological disorder that induces uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an unavoidable need to move them. It is also categorized as a sleep disorder because the symptoms are usually experienced towards the late afternoon and evening, making it difficult to fall asleep or sit still for long periods of time.
This restless sensation is often alleviated when the person goes for a walk or other physical activity, but the relief usually ceases when the movement does. RLS is linked to low iron levels in the blood, which directly affects the body’s ability to create dopamine. This can hinder the pathways in the brain that deliver the message to the muscles that enable smooth, controlled movement of your body.
It’s a no-brainer to add cannabis to the list of possible treatments for RLS, as certain strains of our favorite plant are capable of generating dopamine in the body and providing some potential comfort for the condition.
RLS is also known as Willis-Ekbom Syndrome, named after the two scientists who devoted their careers to the studying of the disorder. Doctors state that the disorder is more common in women, particularly pregnant women, and that it also can be hereditary.
Some of the physical symptoms include:
The disturbance of sleep that RLS patients run into also influences their everyday lives. In addition to being tired throughout the day, and possibly falling asleep at work or school, the adverse side effects of sleep disorders include:
Sleeping with a vibrating pad under your legs, moderate aerobic exercise, iron supplements, and lower body strength training are some of the remedies that have been known to help treat RLS. There is also dopamine treatment, which is used to treat Parkinson’s, that helps alleviate the symptoms temporarily, but too much of the medication has proven to be ineffective over time and will eventually make the disease worse.
If you’ve tried the treatments listed above or those recommended by your doctor and have experienced little to no relief, cannabis could be an alternative that is worth a shot, and there have been some studies to back that claim up. Here’s a list of the strains that are optimal for fighting the symptoms of this neurological disorder.
This sativa might not seem like it would be beneficial for relaxation and pain relief, but when you consider the high CBD content, you might think differently. Put your body at ease with this strain that contains a microscopic amount of THC (less than 1%), but will provide relief for those suffering the harsh effects of RLS. The strain is named for Charlotte Figi, a young girl who was in the national spotlight after using it to stop her seizures that resulted from epilepsy.
With CBD levels reaching an average of 17%, Charlotte’s Web will ease RLS symptoms without any of the psychoactive effects that some patients might not be comfortable with.
There’s an old rumor that Grandaddy Purp is named after Grandpa Joe from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, who was so stoned off the strain that he planted his ass in bed for decades. Okay, that might not be factually accurate, but if your RLS is making you want to leap out of bed like Grandpa Joe on the way to the factory, this strain is just what you need to finally knock out and get some sleep.
GDP is one of the most popular indicas out there, that happens to be especially effective at alleviating insomnia, muscle spasms, stress, and pain.
Don’t worry, you won’t be singing “Shook Me All Night Long” after taking a few puffs of this. Another strain with a high CBD level (around 14%), ACDC is made from the popular CBD strain Cannatonic, which leaves you feeling as relaxed as a puppy in a sea of pillows.
This extreme comfort does not diminish your focus or consciousness, which makes CBD strains like this extremely beneficial for conditions like RLS. This strain is also used to combat epilepsy, chemotherapy, and pain.
Continuing down the list of strains with high CBD levels, Cherry Burst contains a high CBD to THC ratio. This strain tastes of sweet berries and cherries that are mixed with pine and woodsy notes. Used to treat inflammation, chronic pain, and seizures, there’s no double Cherry Burst is worth a shot for RLS patients.
Stephen Hawking Kush is an indica-dominant hybrid that boasts a 5:1 CBD to THC ratio, making it another beneficial addition to our list. You won’t quite feel like you’ve been sucked into a black hole with this low THC content, but you will be excessively soothed and relaxed.
Hints of berries and mint will also provide an enjoyable smoke. The theory of everything tranquil might be proven as fact after you’ve consumed this strain.
Don’t let the name fool you with this strain. You won’t be jumping off the walls like you just escaped from Arkham Asylum after a few puffs of this. The sativa-dominant hybrid is rich in CBD and usually contains about 5-10% THC.
The CBD to THC ratio is about 1:1 on Harlequin, with the relaxing effects of the CBD taking command while providing a focused and clear experience. Even with THC levels higher than some previously mentioned strains, many users claim the calming feeling heavily outweighs any psychoactive high they might’ve felt.
Speaking of the strain sparked the decision to add this famed strain to the list. I remember fondly the first time I tried Cannatonic, I smoked it in a parking lot before work and had one of the best shifts in a long time. I was super relaxed, but not in a goofy and giggle kind of way that some sativas would generate.
I can best describe it as a ‘tranquil awareness.’ It’s how all of us deserve to feel, all the time. It would be a much friendlier and helpful world if we all had some Cannatonic in our lives, and the CBD that envelops the chemical makeup of the strain is so beneficial to those suffering from RLS.
The next few strains that round out our list will feature higher THC content for those looking to elevate their minds as well as their comfort levels. Key Lime Pie is an intense indica that weighs heavily in THC content (around 20%) and is ideal for relieving symptoms of disorders like PTSD, manic depression, arthritis, and insomnia.
Your high will be mostly felt throughout your body, but your mind will also have a creativity boost that won’t have you leaping out of your seat but will keep you focused enough to get stuff done.
With THC levels above 20% and CBD usually north of 6%, this is a great body high that will do wonders against an agitation you might be having as a result of RLS. Plant your head on the pillow after a bowl of Afghan Kush, also known as Afghan OG, that originates from the Kush mountains of the Middle East. As it is a heavy indica, your appetite will increase.
Very similar to Grandaddy Purp, this strain will provide a relaxing and happy high that is great for chilling out and resting up. Grape Ape offers a dash of sativa in its genetic makeup, providing some cerebral effects to pair with the sedating and calming feeling. This uplifting hybrid that is about 90% indica would provide an intoxicating feeling while pacifying the user’s restlessness.
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