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In my beauty research, however, I’ve realized that cannabidiol or CBD is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse, and since inflammation is the cause behind many woes—including muscle soreness—the wheels in my head started turning. Perhaps, by slathering a CBD-rich product all over my gams, I could enhance my recovery and optimize my workouts even more.
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The non-psychoactive part of the marijuana plant, CBD, has been all the rage for its multifaceted topical benefits. I’ve already tried CBD skin-care products, so I’m beyond ready to use it to enhance my workouts. “CBD is an active cannabinoid found in cannabis and has multiple uses in improving inflammatory conditions when used topically, like eczema, and even improving wound healing, itching, pain, and has even reported to improve a rare blistering disorder of skin,” says Rachel Nazarian, MD, a dermatologist with New York’s Schweiger Dermatology Group. “It would be great for sore muscles, because it has an analgesic effect which decreases pain.” Bingo.
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As someone who works out 5 days a week—with each workout containing at least a two mile run—you could say that I’m always sore. That means that my legs frequently feel as heavy as cement, my hamstrings are continually tight, my quads are always quaking, and my calves know what it means to be knotted. Maybe I’m being a smidge dramatic (and maybe I need to foam roll more), but all of that running takes a serious toll on my legs.
This editor tried CBD for muscle soreness for a week and noticed a difference. Here, she discusses how it can be used in your recovery regimen.
If muscle spasms are caused by multiple sclerosis, Alaska, Connecticut , Florida , Georgia , Illinois , Louisiana , Maine , Massachusetts , New Hampshire , New Jersey , New Mexico , New York , Ohio , Pennsylvania , Vermont , and West Virginia have approved medical cannabis for treatment purposes.
For those whose spasms and spasms are related to multiple sclerosis, cannabis has demonstrated it can offer relief 9 . In what was the largest multinational clinical trial of its kind, multiple sclerosis patients suffering from spasms were treated with cannabis containing THC and CBD. After 12 weeks, the patients experienced significantly reduced spasticity severity compared with patients receiving the placebo. While the trial lasted 12 weeks, patients reported significant improvements in spasticity after just four weeks 8 . The same patients also reported significant improvement in quality-of-life measures over the 16 weeks 10 . In another study, approximately two-thirds of patients reported improvements in spasticity after 50 weeks of treatment with cannabis containing THC and CBD 4 .
Muscle spasms are when a muscle tightens and contracts involuntarily, causing pain and potentially serious joint mobility issues. Studies have shown cannabinoids effectively reduce the frequency and intensity of spasms, including in patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
For those with multiple sclerosis, spasms can be stimulated by sudden movements, temperature changes, humidity and from wearing tight clothing.
Muscle spasms will interfere with regular motor function and can cause distressing symptoms. If left untreated, spasms can lead to soft tissue shortening, which in turn can cause frozen or disabling contractures in the hip, knee, ankle, shoulder and elbow joints.
Cannabis has even shown to be effectively lower the frequency and intensity of spasms in multiple sclerosis patients whose spasms had been previously unrelieved by traditional anti-spasticity therapy. After 15 weeks of treatment, patients saw a significant reduction in spasticity. Improvements were seen within the first four weeks 3 .
Overview of Spasms
Currently, 17 states have approved medical cannabis for the treatment of spasms. These states include: Arizona , Arkansas , California , Colorado , Delaware , Florida , Hawaii , Louisiana , Maryland , Michigan , Minnesota , Montana , Nevada , New Hampshire , Oregon , Rhode Island , and Washington .
The two major cannabinoids found in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) , are responsible for cannabis’ effectiveness at muscle spasm relief. There’s strong evidence that suggests that cannabinoid-induced reductions in muscle tremors and spasticity are due to the activation of the cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, of the endocannabinoid system 5 . THC and CBD have demonstrated that they interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors and their actions on the two receptors regulates the excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters necessary to curtail spasms 6,8 .
Studies have shown cannabinoids effectively reduce the frequency and intensity of spasms, including in patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.