CBD for Muscle Spasms

CBD for Muscle Spasms

Read Time 4:20

By: Jason Turner

If you’ve ever “over done it” while exercising or working in the yard, especially in hot weather, and felt a sudden muscle contraction and chronic pain, you may have experienced a muscle spasm. Muscle spasms can be quite painful, and now some doctors are recommending cannabis – CBD and THC – to help deal with the pain, giving people an alternative to prescription opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone which can be addictive and are often misused.

What is a Muscle Spasm?

A muscle spasm is a sudden, involuntary movement in one or more muscles. Muscle spasms are very common. They can happen in any part of the body, but they tend to affect the:

  • feet
  • hands
  • arms
  • thighs
  • abdomen
  • intercostal muscles, which are around the rib cage

Muscle pain, fatigue, and overuse are the most common pain caused by muscle spasms. Other causes include stress or anxiety, which can lead to muscle twitches in the face. When it comes to your back, trapped nerves can result in intense spasms.

Seniors, overweight people and athletes have a higher chance of experiencing muscle spasms. These cramps cause sudden pain and muscle tightness that get in the way of everyday function. Neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis can cause muscle cramps. 

If you are taking medications for conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure, cholesterol, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s, you may experience muscle spasms as a side effect too. 

How Can Cannabis Help Muscle Spasm Pain?

Medical marijuana has anti-inflammatory properties and analgesic (pain-reliever) with chemicals that interact with the endocannabinoid system to influence how the body interprets pain. THC, CBD, and terpenes are three prominent elements in cannabis (among others) which play a synergistic, integral role in fighting pain. 

  • THC produces the euphoric effects or “high” in cannabis which many people find helpful in alleviating pain. 
  • CBD appears to balance THC’s euphoric effects, reduces anxiety, and studies show it is helpful for pain management and inflammation.
  • Terpenes are what gives all plants their flavors, aromas, and potential medicinal benefits. In cannabis, the presence of certain terpenes helps determine how it affects your body. Terpenes may induce muscle relaxation, sedation, and stimulation in complimenting the effects of THC and CBD.

“[Muscle spasms are] actually one of the major categories that cannabis is used for,” says Three Wells Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Deborah Malka. “They’re very effective. As a matter of fact, if you’ve had something like a motor vehicle accident and your muscles are all tight from whiplash, you can use pain medication such as opioids or anti-inflammatories, and they don’t touch the muscle spasm. So the muscle spasms component of an injury is really best treated by cannabis.”

Choosing the Right Cannabis Product, Method and Dosage

CBD and How it May Help Muscle Spasms  

When picking the best cannabis product to help relieve pain from muscle spasms, a lot depends upon what your condition is. If it’s a simple pulled muscle, topical cannabis applied to the affected area may be your best bet. Topical cannabis creams or oils are often an effective treatment because you can apply it to a localized area, numbing your spasm and easing your muscle out of its contraction.

“With topicals you’re looking at 4-6 hours of relief, so you’ll have to use it several times a day,” Dr. Malka says. “Topicals could have THC or CBD – or preferably both – because they act on different endocannabinoid receptors. A combination of both would be giving you the most coverage.”

If there is chronic muscle spasm or spasticity, this will require internal use like an edible or tincture, Dr. Malka says. You may need high doses of a THC/CBD mix, with a dose of 10-20 mg three times per day. More THC in the mix will produce more psychoactivity, which is fine for some, but, ratios of CBD/THC up to 20:1 will relax muscles.

If you prefer inhalation, you’re in luck, since all strains have muscle relaxant properties. Those containing the terpene myrcene, found in indicas, are not only sedating but have additional muscle relaxant properties. “If you prefer to inhale then you’re going to have to do it 4-5 times a day,” Dr. Malka said.

Since all muscles of the body relax with ingested cannabis, a combination of internal and topical use can augment relief in the affected area.

Best Cannabis Strain for Muscle Spasms

We looked at five popular cannabis strains for dealing with pain, and keep in mind there are many more that may help. For these five strains, though, you’ll see that the general THC to CBD ratio and main terpenes fluctuate. They may also vary depending on the source of the strain, and whether it is natural flower or processed cannabis product like an oil, concentrate, tincture, etc.

  1. ACDC is a Sativa Hybrid with a low THC and high CBD ratio. Its terpenes are typically Beta-Caryophyllene, Linalool, Beta-Myrcene, Alpha-Pinene, and D-Limonene.
  2. Grandaddy Purple is an Indica strain with a high THC to low CBD ratio. The terpenes are generally Beta-Myrcene, Linalool, and Alpha-Pinene.
  3. Harlequin is another Sativa Hybrid with a fairly even THC to CBD ratio. Its terpenes are Linalool, Beta-Myrcene, Alpha-Pinene, D-Limonene, and Beta-Caryophyllene.
  4. OG Kush is an Indica with a high THC to low CBD ratio, and it’s terpenes are Aryophyllene, D-Limonene, and Beta-Myrcene.
  5. Skywalker OG is an Indica Hybrid that is also known for a high THC to low CBD ratio. Its terpenes are generally D-Limonene, Beta-Caryophyllene, and Linalool.

If you’re dealing with muscle spasms and decide to use cannabis to treat muscle spasms, Three Wells is here to help you find the right product, strain and ingestion method that fits your needs.


Does CBD oil act as a muscle relaxer?

Yes, it does.  The cannabis plant contains two anti-inflammatory substances that have been shown to act as muscle relaxants! CBD’s effectiveness at alleviating muscle spasms is just one of the many potential uses for it. Adults in search of a better life free of pain have switched over to CBD from prescription medications  (like carisoprodol or benzodiazepines) due to the high costs and dangerous side effects.

How long does it take for CBD oil to work for muscle pain?

It depends on how you consume it. If you use a topical product for localized pain relief, that would typically last anywhere from a few minutes to 4-6 hours, so you’ll have to use it multiple times per day.

How much CBD does it take to relax muscles?

CBD is commonly regarded as safe to use. High doses of up to 1,500 mg per day have been shown to be well tolerated by humans. Determining your own dose can be tricky, and should not interfere with other drugs you may already be on, because there is no “standard” dose for CBD.

A general rule of thumb for taking CBD oil is 1-6 milligrams per 10 pounds of body weight, depending on the severity and type of pain you are experiencing – this rule of thumb DOES NOT apply to THC. Another option for CBD dosing is to start with 5 to 10 milligrams per day and increase by 5 to 10 until you find relief. This isn’t a sure thing, but it will help you.

Does CBD help with back spasms?

Yes it does! CBD is a new and relatively effective treatment for pain, including back spasm. The studies suggest it may help relieve inflammation, which often enters chronic back pain cases.That said, topical products may have the added benefit of targeting one particular area- such as back pain- more intensely than others .

Which form of CBD works for muscle spasms?

There has only been a brief mention of any CBD’s ability to alleviate muscle spasms or cramps throughout the current clinical studies. Most clinical investigations have THC and CBD or THC alone being recommended for helping these types of conditions.

A recent study found that CBD Oil transdermal application resulted in significant pain relief in patients with peripheral neuropathy.

It is essential to distinguish between multiple sclerosis and peripheral neuropathy; however, there are several symptoms both disorders share.

Ultimately, CBD users who are more comfortable with the substance could try full-spectrum CBD oils or balms for topical applications to relieve pain from specific points on their bodies. And combine ingested forms such as sublingual administration with CBD capsules for the overall treatment of pain and well-being based on individual preferences.

CBD patches have proven to be an effective form of treatment for inflammation and localized pain. They help with medical conditions like muscle spasms, multiple sclerosis, lower back pains, injuries, and chemotherapy-induced nausea.

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