Cramps, not to be confused with seizures or spasm, are usually short-lived and non-damaging, can be incredibly painful and cause immobility. A cramp is a sudden involuntary muscle contraction. Both skeletal muscles and smooth muscles can cramp.
Cramps are often associated with pregnancy and premenstrual symptoms. A cramp can also occur when running or even simply lying in bed. One of the most noted cramps of 2017 happened in August when legendary Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt fell to the ground losing the IAAF world championship.
Cramps aren’t so dangerous and are usually self-treated, but they can result in injury and pain. For athletes, the results of a cramp may be a bit harder to deal with. For women, cramps may be feared every month, and for some, can be so debilitating that they affect everyday life and work. Cramps are usually a sign of an underlying deficiency or condition. Let’s look at what causes cramps.
Cramps can be the result of many different conditions and deficiencies. Pregnancy, kidney disease, thyroid disease, and lack of magnesium, calcium, and potassium can all cause cramping. In some cases, muscles are unable to relax properly due to insufficient ATP levels.
Nighttime leg cramp sometimes diagnosed restless leg syndrome, is not well understood but still defined and usually attributed to dehydration and lack of electrolytes. Athletes get cramps usually because of muscle fatigue or inadequate stretching, heat, dehydration, and electrolyte depletion.
A multitude of pharmaceuticals, such as diuretics, iron sucrose IV, conjugated estrogens, LABAs, Naproxen, Raloxifene, and conjugated estrogens have also been known to cause nocturnal leg cramps. Cramps, especially in the night or during physical stress, can induce serious stress and anxiety. Many people with cramps miss work, school, and may have psychosocial difficulties related to them.
Minor cramping can usually be self-treated with various home remedies, but severe cramps deserve professional attention. Stretching, massage and hydration can help to treat simple cramps.
For decades, the anti-malaria medication Quinine was prescribed for night time leg cramps. 10 years ago, however, the FDA banned all unapproved Quinine drugs due to their potentially deadly side effects except for one, Qualaquin. Two years after the ban, in the first half of 2008 more than 124,000 people in the U.S. received close to 300,000 prescriptions for the drug, according to the FDA.
For women suffering from menstrual cramps, over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed. There are even drugs advertised specifically for these cramps. The FDA warns that the habitual use of [NSAIDs], such as aspirin and Tylenol, can have detrimental effects on the liver and kidneys. NSAIDs increase the risk of heart attack and stroke when used for long periods, and most people using them do so on a daily basis to manage symptoms of cramps, pain, and inflammation regardless of the evidence proving their dangers.
Advances in science and understanding of the [endocannabinoid] system are suggesting that medical marijuana may help to alleviate pain in women with endometriosis. A recent study of women with endometriosis, a common condition where uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus, elucidated that manipulating the endocannabinoid system could offer an alternative option for the uterine related pain.
Medical marijuana contains [cannabinoids], [terpenoids], and other active compounds that bind with the endocannabinoid system, which helps to modulate various regulatory systems of the body such as pain and stress management, anxiety levels, sleep, appetite, mood, and many more.
A plethora of studies have proved the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana in treating various conditions. A large systematic review of the effectiveness of cannabinoids in treating chronic nonmalignant neuropathic pain concluded by suggesting that cannabinoids may provide effective analgesia in chronic pain that otherwise isn’t responsive to other pain medications. They also state that cannabinoids appear to improve sleep quality, appetite, nausea, and anxiety.
There are no studies or clinical trials on the use of medical marijuana and Restless Leg Syndrome, but there are some clinical experiences available based on patient reports. Patients report that inhalation rather than ingestion is most effective in treating symptoms of RLS, working quickly and lasting one or two hours. This suggests that medical marijuana may also help with nighttime leg cramps.
Cannabis will affect each person differently according to various factors, including strain type, dosage, administration, and mental and physical health. Follow symptoms and conditions links in this article to learn more about how medical marijuana is studied in treating various medical conditions, and follow the strain links below to strains that have been reported to help others with cramps and associated pain.
· [[Afternoon Delight]]
· [[Cherry Cookies]]
· [[Copper Kush]]
· [[Critical 47]]
· [[Damn Sour]]
· [[Deep Cheese]]
· [[Denver Maple]]
· [[Dizzy OG]]
· [[Lime Purple Mist]]
· [[Ms. Universe]]
· [[Paris XXX]]
· [[Puna Budder]]
· [[Purple Power]]
· [[Richie Rich]]
· [[Secret Recipe]]
· [[Sour Chunk]]
Sanches AM (2016) Reproductive Sciences. Elevated Systemic Levels of Endocannabinoids and Related Mediators Across the Menstrual Cycle in Women With Endometriosis.