There’s no telling when a muscle spasm is going to throw you off course. One might show up during a hike, on a bike or during a trip to the gym. You might be bedeviled by one doing a little light housework, some serious hard labor or just walking down the street.
And there are few words that properly describe the first seconds of pain-induced panic that accompanies a waking-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night muscle spasm or cramp.
Beyond that, however, there are muscle spasms that are both chronic and debilitating. Those suffering from multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and Tourette’s syndrome know the special hell of repeated muscle spasms inflicting an already weakened body.
For all the advances in medicine in recent decades, there hasn’t been much in the way of any development of a solid treatment that works over a broad swath of muscle spasms, although prescription medicines have long been the go-to treatment for those who go to doctors for help dealing with spasms. Sometimes the meds work. Sometimes not.
For the non-pharmaceutical ways of attacking the spasm, there are many, and those sometimes work at cross purposes. For example, the application of heat is suggested, but so is the application of cold. You can stretch or you can massage the impacted area. Vitamin B complex supplements are widely believed to help control leg cramps, but the Mayo Clinic says “more researched is needed to confirm this belief.”
The causes of muscle spasms depend on which part of the body is impacted, any risk factors present at the time the spasm hit and the environment. Dehydration and expenditure of electrolytes are believed to be primary contributing factors.
Cannabis Reduces Inflammation
For many now, cannabis is proving to be a quality treatment. One of the primary benefits of cannabis in the battle against muscle spasms is that cannabis reduces inflammation. And inflammation is one of the primary direct causes of muscle spasms. Cannabis compounds, including CBD and THC, are known to deactivate inflammatory proteins in the body.
More than that, pain relief has long been known to be a significant impact of marijuana use. When CBD and THC are present in the body thanks to cannabis, they bind to elements within the endocannabinoid system, which is a network of cell receptors. Those receptors, when mound to CBD and THC, release an anti-inflammatory response.
Cannabis Best For Muscle Spasms
Some investigatory studies done on patients impacted by multiple sclerosis have shown that the application of oral cannabis extracts brings relief. Patients have been seen to have improvement in their muscle cramps at double the rate of a placebo. In a study of 500 subjects, more than half resulted in a 20 percent improvement of muscle spasticity after a month of cannabis treatment.
In 2014, the Journal of Psychopharmacology reported on a study where participants ingested 300mg of cannabidiol (CBD) daily. Those involved in the study reported an increase in quality of life and well-being. That’s significant because CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, so those afflicted by muscle spasms who don’t want to feel high can get relief without risking that feeling.
For those wanting to explore using marijuana in its various forms to combat muscle spasms, cannabis can have the desired impact when smoked, eaten as part of an infused edible or applied topically.
CBD Topical Salves, Lotions, Creams
Topicals generally are made with higher concentrations of CBD and are rubbed into the skin at the area of spasm. Practitioners say CBD-infused creams, lotions, salves and oils numb the localized area, directly influencing the spasm. When combined with massage-like motions and small amounts of stretching, the spasm relief can come even more quickly.
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