does cbd oil work for rsl

Restless legs syndrome: The benefits of CBD

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) or Willis-Ekbom disease is a neurological disorder characterized by an uncontrollable urge to move the legs, especially at night. In North America and Eastern Europe, it is estimated that 4-29% of the population is affected by this disorder, which severely affects the quality of life of sufferers. Currently, there is no official treatment or cure for RLS. As a general rule, doctors recommend a healthier lifestyle, possibly with medication to reduce stress and ease pain. However, these medications are restrictive, as they cause side effects and do not really solve the underlying problem. For some people, CBD (cannabidiol) is a natural alternative that improves their condition day and night.

Recent clinical research indicates that CBD helps relieve many of the symptoms of RLS, while improving the quality of sleep for patients who often suffer from insomnia. With CBD, they can finally have productive days and peaceful nights.

What are the positive effects of CBD on RLS? How to properly consume CBD to relieve the symptoms of this neurological disorder, in what form and at what dosage? To fully understand how CBD works on RLS, let’s start by looking at the elements that characterize this condition.

What is restless legs syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is a neurological disorder that can occur at any time in your life. Symptoms tend to occur at night, when your body is at rest, making it especially difficult to sleep. Automatically, lack of sleep can have a serious impact on your quality of life.

For most RLS sufferers, symptoms include itching and tingling in the legs that causes involuntary movements. All this restlessness prevents them from sleeping and leads to a feeling of intense fatigue during the day. A vicious circle that does not give patients a single second of respite.

Pain, discomfort, lack of sleep. All these negative aspects affect the physical and psychological well-being of patients. To relieve their symptoms, many people feel the need to move around nervously, which will naturally increase their level of stress and anxiety on a daily basis. Common situations such as going to class or staying for dinner can become embarrassing and impact their social life. Because of this, it’ s important to change habits and learn how to manage stress to get rid of this disorder, and this is where CBD comes in.

What are the benefits of CBD to combat RLS?

Scientific studies from 2017 have revealed the positive impact of therapeutic cannabis on RLS symptoms. On the one hand, it improves quality of life during the day by calming nervousness. On the other hand, it soothes itching and nighttime discomfort that prevents sleep, while providing patients with quality, restorative, and deep sleep. According to the study, 5 out of 6 participants confirmed a total remission following a treatment exclusively based on cannabis. On the other hand, all participants noted a significant improvement of their sleep at the end of the treatment.

As this study was carried out on only a few people, one can wonder if these results are valid for all patients. For the researchers, if CBD is so effective to fight against RLS, it is in particular thanks to its positive effects on the production of dopamine, also called the hormone of happiness. Indeed, RLS is caused by a neurological disorder, itself caused by a dopamine imbalance. Therefore, taking CBD helps the brain to stimulate this neurotransmitter and regulate it in a completely natural way.

Furthermore, scientists are unanimous in saying that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system and offers a whole host of therapeutic virtues that can soothe pain and effectively reduce stress. Thanks to its anti-anxiety properties, hemp allows for a lighter, calmer, and more serene mind. That’s why RLS sufferers who take CBD before bed are finally able to find sleep, rest, and have a great day.

How to consume CBD to relieve the symptoms of RLS?

CBD oil

Typically, RLS sufferers take CBD oil orally or sublingually to relieve their symptoms. To enjoy the relaxing effects for a few hours, you can pour a few drops on your food or in your drinks. If you prefer a fast-acting, but shorter-lasting effect, you can pour a few drops of CBD oil directly under your tongue.

CBD flowers and resins

With CBD flowers and resins, the scents and flavors are all there. To consume them in a healthy way, you can use a vaporizer, or crumble them to incorporate them in your dishes or in your herbal teas. The advantage of vaporization is that the effects will be almost instantaneous and all the flavors of hemp will be perfectly preserved. If you choose to incorporate them in your culinary preparations, the relaxing effects will take longer to appear, but they will last effectively for a few hours.

CBD capsules

If you don’t like the taste of hemp and prefer a neutral product to get the benefits of medical cannabis, you may well turn to CBD capsules. These edible capsules have no taste or smell, but have the same soothing effects as oil or resin. Plus, the small capsule boxes are easy and discreet to carry around on a daily basis.

How much CBD should I take to relieve RLS symptoms?

With CBD, there is no risk of overdosing, but there is no perfect dosage either. If you suffer from RLS, you should adjust the dosage according to the intensity of your pain and how you feel. Start with a low dose to see if it does much for you or not. If you feel that you need more, increase the doses gradually. If in doubt, ask your doctor or a pharmacist for advice, who will be able to guide you towards the most suitable dosage for you. Once again, it is important to remember that CBD is not a medicine and that it cannot replace a real medical follow-up. Sometimes, CBD is enough on its own. But in some cases, it can be used in addition to a medical treatment. Whatever the case, listen to your body and choose the CBD format that suits you best.

Can CBD permanently cure RLS?

No, CBD is not a medicine and it does not cure any disease. On the other hand, it can help relieve many symptoms and restore a better quality of life. In other words, it helps you get back to quality sleep, reduce stress and anxiety and thus, it accompanies you in a gentle and totally natural healing process.

Can CBD cause neurological side effects?

No, CBD is not known to cause neurological side effects, unlike some drug treatments. In fact, CBD is a natural substance that has powerful protective properties for the brain and neurons.

What is RSO?

Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO, is a full extract cannabis oil meant to be taken orally or applied topically. RSO is a marijuana extract made utilizing a solvent to extract cannabinoids. The most common solvent used to produce RSO is grain alcohol, but some other solvents like ethanol or butane are sometimes used. Flower (bud) material is placed in a large container and alcohol is added. The entire mixture is stirred and crushed into the alcohol. After a time, the alcohol is drained from the remaining plant material. That mixture is then heated in a container, such as a rice cooker, so that the residual alcohol evaporates. The end product is a high potency oil often dark in color with a thick consistency. RSO can be siphoned into a syringe style applicator for dosing which offers the advantage of a long shelf life as oxidation does not easily occur.

Typically, a single syringe of RSO contains around 600 mg of THC; however, this is dependent upon the source material used. Traditional RSO is made from indica plants that are high in THC; however, any strain can be used to make RSO. The final results will depend upon what strains were used and the moisture content of the plants themselves. The strains used also account for the color and consistency of the oil. Some plants result in a light amber color with a viscous consistency while others have a darker, thicker consistency. In some cases, other portions of the plant, such as fan leaves, are used in the mixture so as to get the maximum amount of cannabinoids from a crop. This will cause the end product to have a more astringent taste and darker color as well.

Who is Rick Simpson?

Rick Simpson is a Canadian man who helped pioneer full extract cannabis oil. In 2003, he was diagnosed with a form of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma. After reading about a study from the National Cancer Institute in which THC was found to kill cancer cells in mice, he decided to attempt treating his cancer with full extract cannabis oil by applying it directly to the affected area and covering it with a bandage. After several days, he removed the bandage and found the affected area had cleared up. It was after this recovery that he began to produce the full extract cannabis oil for those in need and became famous for it. Thus, the full extract oil became known as Rick Simpson Oil, colloquially called RSO.

Traditional RSO Dosing

There is a method that Rick Simpson suggests when using an RSO regimen. The goal is to consume 60 grams of RSO over the course of 90 days. In the first week, three doses should be taken each day, once in the morning, afternoon, and at night. RSO is very potent. The beginning dose should be the size of a half a grain of rice. After the first week, the measured dose should be doubled every four days. It will take approximately three to five weeks before the dosage reaches a full gram of RSO in a day. Continue to take a full gram in a day until the full 60 grams is consumed. The most common side effects when undertaking an RSO regimen is excessive tiredness and/or psychoactivity. Over time, the body will adjust to the higher dose of RSO; this typically takes three to four weeks.

Interested in learning more about using RSO as part of your treatment plan? Schedule a consultation with an expert. If you’re in the Ann Arbor area, contact the team at Arbors Wellness for a free consultation.

Who is Rick Simpson and what is Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)?

Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO, is a cannabis concentrate used for many different medical benefits, including relieving cancer symptoms. It has a thick, syrupy consistency and can be applied as a topical or ingested in food or drinks.

In this article we’ll go over who Rick Simpson is and why he created this oil, how it’s used, how to make your own RSO at home, and whether or not you can smoke it.

What is RSO?

Rick Simpson. (Courtesy of Rick Simpson)

In 2003, Rick Simpson created a cannabis oil after three suspicious bumps on his arm turned out to be basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. Simpson had used cannabis to treat medical issues in the past, so he made a cannabis oil to treat his skin cancer topically, applying it to a bandage and covering the cancerous spots.

Within days, the cancerous growths disappeared. Although his physician refused to acknowledge cannabis as a treatment alternative, Simpson became a true believer in the medicinal powers of cannabis and spread the word of his cannabis oil, later called RSO after him.

Benefits of RSO

It’s important to note that there are currently no scientific studies that prove the effectiveness of RSO. However, it is mainly used to help treat skin cancer, and many people report that it helps relieve symptoms of other conditions.

Compared to other forms of cannabis, RSO is great because it’s easy to make, it’s discrete and odorless, and can be taken orally on its own, or mixed with any food.

How to use RSO

For medical patients, it is always recommended to consult your physician before starting any new treatment regimen. However, some physicians may be averse to cannabis as a course of treatment. If you decide to use RSO, proceed with caution and at your own discretion.

Below is a recommended RSO regimen. When look for symptom relief for a condition or for medical benefits, for one patient, the goal is to gradually consume 60 grams of Rick Simpson Oil over the course of a 90-day period.

Week 1: Start with three doses every day

Each dose should be about the size of half a grain of rice and should be administered once every eight hours (morning, noon, and night); the first dose will be about ¼ drop of RSO.

Weeks 2 through 5: Double your dose every four days

The average person will take between three and five weeks to reach the full dosage of one gram of RSO per day.

Weeks 5 through 12: Take one gram of RSO daily until you’ve consumed the full 60 grams

Eventually, the patient will be taking about 8-9 rice-sized drops of RSO every eight hours.

Side effects

Mainly sleepiness, which is a natural part of the healing process. Increasing the dose gradually will help minimize the psychoactive effects and keep your tolerance to a functional level. Daytime sleepiness should fade within three to four weeks.

The taste of the RSO may be slightly bitter or unpleasant, so patients may prefer to ingest the oil by swallowing it directly or mixing it with food, such as bananas, to help mask the taste.

Continued regimen

After a 12-week regimen of RSO, you may want to continue the treatment but it should be at a significantly reduced rate. About one to two grams of RSO per month is enough for a regular maintenance dose.

Rick Simpson Oil should not be considered a cure-all for medical conditions, but many patients have experienced significant relief from their medical symptoms and conditions with the use of RSO.

Can you smoke or dab RSO?

As RSO is an oil, it can be smoked or dabbed, however, it depends on what solvent was used to make it—if a highly flammable solvent was used, do not attempt to smoke or dab RSO. Always check with your budtender on how the product was created and whether or not it is safe to dab or smoke.

If making RSO at home, you must be sure to burn off all the alcohol completely. As this can be tricky and the product will not have been tested for chemicals, we recommend not smoking or dabbing RSO you make at home.

Cooking with RSO

You can cook with RSO as well, just as you can with cannabutter or cannabis cooking oil. Consider the dish you’ll be making and keep in mind the texture and stickiness of RSO.

As far as baking, it will be easier to mix it in with something that has more liquid ingredients, like a cake or brownies, as opposed to cookies.

RSO is great for drizzling over any type of food, but the taste can be a little off-putting for some. You may want to mix it with a sauce or something else to mask the flavor.

How to make RSO

Making your own RSO at home is not difficult, and the process isn’t all that different from making cannabutter or other kinds of infused cannabis oil. Rick Simpson recommends using indica cannabis strains for best results, although you can use any strain, especially if a particular one works best for your medical condition.

Don’t want to cook? Buy RSO products here

Rick Simpson Oil recipe

This recipe will produce the full 60 grams of oil for a 90-day treatment regimen. If you’re looking for a smaller treatment course, you can easily divide the recipe into smaller amounts. For example, one ounce of cannabis will produce 3-4 grams of RSO.

  • 1 pound of dried cannabis material (indica strain)
  • 2 gallons of solvent—Rick recommends 99% isopropyl alcohol, but you can also use wood grain alcohol
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Deep bowl
  • Wooden spoon for stirring
  • Cheesecloth
  • Rice cooker
  • Plastic catheter tip syringe (60mL)
  1. Place dry cannabis material into the 5-gallon bucket and pour in the solvent until the plant matter is covered.
  2. Stir and crush the plant material with your wooden spoon while adding the solvent to your mixture. Continue stirring the mixture for about three minutes while the THC dissolves into the solvent. This will dissolve about 80% of the THC into the solvent.
  3. Drain the solvent from the plant material into your bowl using the cheesecloth. Place the plant material back in the bucket and add more solvent. Continue stirring for another three minutes.
  4. Drain the solvent from your plant material into your bowl using the cheesecloth and discard the remaining plant material.
  5. Transfer your solvent to your rice cooker until it is about ¾ full and turn on your rice cooker.
    Note: While you don’t necessarily need a rice cooker, if you’ve never made RSO before, rice cookers are exceptionally useful in this instance for maintaining a slow, steady temperature. If your mixture heats above 300 °F (148 °C ), the cannabinoids will cook off and the RSO will be unusable. It is not recommended to use a Crockpot or slow cooker, as this may overheat your mixture.
  6. The rice cooker should maintain a steady temperature between 210-230 °F (100-110 °C ), which is the correct heat setting for decarboxylation to occur.
  7. As the rice cooker heats up, the solvent will slowly evaporate. Continue to add your mixture to the rice cooker gradually.
    Note: Make sure your rice cooker is in an open, well-ventilated area, and avoid all flames, stovetops, sparks, and cigarettes, as the solvent is highly combustible.
  8. Once the solvent has evaporated, siphon the oil into your syringe for easy dosing. The RSO will be thick, so if you have trouble dispensing it, run the syringe under hot water and the RSO mixture should dispense with ease.

The story of Rick Simpson

Rick Simpson stumbled upon cannabis fame purely by accident. Long before “Rick Simpson Oil” was coined as a term, and long before cannabis was considered remotely mainstream, Rick Simpson was an engineer working in a Canadian hospital in 1997.

Working in a hospital boiler room covering asbestos on pipes with a potent aerosol glue, toxic fumes built up in the poorly ventilated room and caused a temporary nervous system shock, making him fall off his ladder and hit his head. He was knocked unconscious and when he awoke, his colleagues took him to an emergency room.

He suffered dizzy spells and a ringing in his ears for years after the accident, but his prescribed medication had little effect, even making his symptoms worse. After seeing a documentary highlighting the positive benefits of cannabis, Simpson inquired about medical marijuana, but his doctor refused to consider it as a treatment. Simpson ended up sourcing cannabis on his own and saw a significant improvement in his tinnitus and other symptoms.

In 2003, after being diagnosed with skin cancer, Simpson did some research and heard about a study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in which THC was found to kill cancer cells in mice. He created the oil that would become RSO to treat his skin cancer topically. After four days, the cancerous growths had disappeared. His physician wouldn’t believe it, but Simpson was convinced of the medicinal powers of cannabis.

From then on out, he began cultivating his own cannabis and harvesting plants to create his own specialized form of cannabis concentrate, now known as Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO. It became his mission and goal to distribute cannabis oil to those who needed it, free of charge. He helped treat more than 5,000 patients with RSO, but his journey was not without its setbacks and struggles.

Simpson’s own doctor refused to acknowledge the benefits, and Simpson faced arrest and persecution in his native Canada. His home was raided on multiple occasions and he had over 2,600 plants cut down and confiscated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, but Simpson persevered and continued to distribute cannabis oil. To this day, he continues to spread the word of his findings.

Have you ever used RSO? How has it impacted your life? Let us know in the comments!

This post was originally published on May 12, 2017. It was most recently updated on July 7, 2020.