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Cannabis and CBD for Muscle Cramps and Spasms

If you’ve ever sought out a prescription for back spasms, general muscle spasms, or routine muscle cramps, you might be curious about the soothing effects of medical marijuana.

While Western healthcare providers might prescribe muscle relaxers and opioids, patients using medical cannabis for muscle pain and associated conditions report overwhelmingly positive results—not to mention that marijuana poses a significantly lower dependence risk compared to pharmaceutical solutions.

If you’re considering trying medical cannabis to relieve common muscle ailments and spasms, this is the guide for you. We’ll explore what causes muscle cramps and spasms and break down how CBD and THC have helped patients unlock revolutionary relief from chronic pain. Continue reading for an inside look at medical cannabis treatment for muscle ailments.

What Causes Muscle Cramps and Spasms?

Before you start any treatment regimen, you should consider what’s causing your health challenges in the first place. Let’s explore some common underlying elements that might be informing your physical pain.

Exercise Recovery

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is one of the most common side effects of exercise. Symptoms of DOMS include:

  • A tingling sensation or soreness in the muscles exercised
  • General fatigue
  • Twitching and muscle spasms
  • Increased hunger and thirst

You might experience DOMS if you:

  • Start a new exercise program
  • Amplify your current routine (i.e. start lifting heavier weights or increase your sets)
  • Encounter an unusual amount of physical activity (i.e. carrying moving boxes)

In addition, overworking your muscles or attempting an aggressive exercise routine can cause injuries. While you should take as many steps to prevent injuries as possible, overexertion is a common phenomenon for people dedicated to fitness.

Menstruation

People who menstruateyoung beautiful hispanic woman in painful expression holding her belly suffering menstrual period pain lying sad on home bed having tummy cramp in female health concept face a bevy of symptoms each month—some of which are excruciating. Menstruation can also lead to muscle soreness, cramps, and pain in the pelvic area and in other areas of the body.

Depending on how the symptoms of menstruation manifest in your body, you may be very accustomed to a baseline level of pain. You may also experience lifestyle implications like:

  • Difficulty performing routine tasks or exercising
  • Fatigue
  • Widespread soreness or spasms
  • Changes in appetite or thirst

Simply put, menstruation is challenging for a significant portion of the population.

Chronic Health Conditions

A wide variety of chronic health conditions can cause muscle soreness, cramps, and spasms. To name just a few, you might experience these symptoms if you’re living with:

  • An autoimmune disease
  • Type 1 or type 2 diabetes
  • Rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis
  • One or more types of cancer

While muscle pain and spasms aren’t a definitive sign that you have one of these conditions, the pain you’re experiencing as a result is real and can lead to significant life challenges.

Even if you’re undergoing other treatments for these conditions, muscle pain and spasms may still persist and should be taken seriously by both patients and providers.

Stress

Tension in your back, shoulders, and other muscle groups can be related to stress, and there are many reasons why stress may be manifesting as physical symptoms:

  • Trauma recovery – If you went through harrowing experiences in combat, survived abuse, or encountered a frightening life event, the result of that trauma can find a home in your body. While healthcare experts are still unpacking how trauma informs physical health, the reality is that people with unresolved trauma often experience physical symptoms. Even if providers haven’t managed to quantify trauma’s impact on your physical health, your concerns are valid.
  • Chronic illness – Even if an illness isn’t causing physical symptoms like spasms and soreness, the stress you experience related to treatment can inform your physical response.
  • Lifestyle – Are you paying your way through college by working one or more jobs? Working in a high-stress career? Planning a wedding or another high-stress event? Your body may be responding to your high energy expenditure with demands for rest, as well as signs like muscle soreness and spasms.

What is CBD?

In conversations about muscle pain, spasms, and soreness, CBD is a hot topic. While healthcare researchers are still exploring the reasons why CBD is so impactful for people experiencing physical pain, patient reports simply can’t be overstated: CBD is incredibly impactful for people living with chronic or acute discomfort.

But what is CBD, exactly?

  • Cannabidiol (CBD) is a major cannabinoid. This means it’s one of the most abundant compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant. The other major cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
  • CBD isn’t psychoactive. In other words, CBD consumption doesn’t produce the “high” typically associated with marijuana. While it’s found in the marijuana plant, it can be extracted or specifically cultivated to offer patients positive effects without intoxication.
  • CBD is available in a wide variety of products. Smokables (like joints and vapes), edibles (like gummies and baked goods), tinctures (alcohol-based liquid extractions), and oils (fat-based liquid extractions) are all examples.
  • CBD is federally legal. This is thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill (a federal law legalizing the growth, sale, processing, and purchase of hemp, a CBD-rich form of the marijuana plant). Since CBD is almost always derived from hemp products, CBD is legal to purchase, possess, and consume in nearly every case.

CBD and Pain Relief

Young man stand and hold hands on back. He feels pain in kidneys area. Isolated on white backgroundWhile clinical trials and research are still catching up to decades of anecdotal evidence from patients, there’s simply no denying that CBD works for pain relief. Patients report that CBD products can:

  • Promote muscle relaxation and stress relief
  • Reduce pain, spasms, and soreness

One of the most popular administration methods for people looking to treat muscle pain with CBD is topical products like lotions, ointments, and tinctures. Infused with CBD, these products can be applied directly to the muscles that are spasming or in pain, offering relief without the need for ingestion.

CBD and Overall Wellness Support

CBD can also be useful for overall wellness support. Patients using CBD report that the powerful compound:

  • Facilitates more restful, deeper sleep
  • Helps modulate mood and disposition
  • Improves overall energy and engagement with daily life

What is THC?

Like CBD, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a major cannabinoid—a compound found in strains of the Cannabis sativa plant. The major difference between THC and CBD is that the former produces a psychoactive effect. In other words, THC can make users feel high.

However, THC has also shown promise for a wide variety of wellness applications, such as:

  • Improving sleep
  • Helping trauma survivors process thoughts, triggers, and painful memories
  • Boosting mood and disposition
  • Stimulating appetite
  • Relieving chronic pain
  • Decreasing anxiety and promoting creative thought

While THC legality is still in flux in some states, patients looking for relief from muscle spasms, soreness, and cramping may be able to pursue a medical recommendation for THC.

TL;DR: Patients looking for a prescription for back spasms and other types of muscle pain (like cramps) often consider CBD. Medical cannabis has helped people living with various types of chronic pain discover long-term, plant-based relief. Since CBD isn’t psychoactive, it can offer respite for people struggling with muscle spasms and cramps without the high typically associated with marijuana. THC, however, can also support positive wellness outcomes.

TeleLeaf: Where the Patient is the Textbook

Medical cannabis (and its major cannabinoids CBD and THC) has offered significant relief for people living with muscle spasms, cramps, and chronic pain, with a substantially lower addiction potential than traditional prescribed medications like muscle relaxers and opioids.

If you’re ready to learn more about how medical cannabis could support your overall wellness journey, reach out to the TeleLeaf team. We’re committed to connecting patients with the all-natural, plant-based health support they need to recover from injuries and improve their quality of life.

Schedule your first appointment to learn more about making medical cannabis part of your healing journey.


Sources:

Healthline. What Is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and What Can You Do About It?. https://www.healthline.com/health/doms

Medical News Today. All You Need to Know About Period Symptoms. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/312661

Harvard University School of Public Health. Menstrual Symptom Data Can Help End Period Stigma. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/applewomenshealthstudy/updates/menstrual-symptom-data-can-help-end-period-stigma/

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