Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active compound drawn from the Cannabis plant. It’s nonintoxicating, meaning it won’t get you high, but it’s growing in popularity, thanks to its slew of therapeutic benefits for conditions like epilepsy, anxiety, and cancer.
Can it help with restless leg syndrome (RLS) while it’s at it? The short answer is, maybe.
Keep reading to learn more about the limited research on CBD’s effect on RLS and see our picks for the best CBD oil.
While shopping for CBD, you’ll notice these three main types:
- Isolate. This includes only CBD, with no added cannabinoids.
- Full-spectrum. It includes all naturally found cannabinoids from the Cannabis plant, and includes THC.
- Broad-spectrum. This one includes various cannabinoids naturally found in the Cannabis plant, but it does not include THC.
You may have also heard about something called the entourage effect. According to some research, combining CBD and THC produces a more effective result, which is why some prefer full-spectrum CBD since it includes THC.
THC is the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis though, so keep in mind it can get you high depending on the amount you ingest.
Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD may also contain these compounds:
Right now, there’s extremely limited research on CBD and RLS. Here’s what we know so far.
It’s possible RLS is associated with a disruption in the dopamine pathways in the brain.
A 2019 study that looked at smoking cannabis and its effects on RLS showed that chronic cannabis use is linked with lowered dopamine synthesis capacity, which may explain the reported effectiveness of cannabis in RLS.
A 2021 study that looked at reasons for CBD use showed that 5 percent of people in the study used it for RLS.
Other anecdotal evidence also suggests some people may find relief from RLS with CBD.
Though there isn’t much hard science behind CBD for RLS, if you still want to try it, it’s probably fine to do as long as you’re aware of the potential side effects and have spoken with your doctor first.
We also selected these products based on criteria we think are good indicators of safety, quality, and transparency. Each product in this article:
- is made by a company that provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
- is made with U.S.-grown hemp
- contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the certificate of analysis (COA)
- passes tests for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA
As a part of our selection process, we also considered:
- the company’s certifications and manufacturing processes
- product potency
- overall ingredients
- indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:
Keep in mind that these oils don’t have any added ingredients or properties that make them particularly better at easing RLS symptoms than other oils. Rather, we chose them because we think they’re high quality overall.
- $ = under $25
- $$ = $25–$50
- $$$ = over $50
Best CBD isolate oil for RLS
Lazarus Naturals Flavorless High Potency CBD Tincture
- Price: $–$$$
- CBD type: isolate
- CBD potency: 1,500 milligram (mg) per 30-milliliter (mL) bottle
- COA: available online
This pick is a CBD isolate oil. It offers a combination of high potency and plain taste, making it a good choice for those who want to mix their oil into food or drinks.
It’s also formulated with organic coconut medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, which means it’s not an ideal choice for those with tree nut allergies.
Lazarus Naturals has a substantial assistance program — offering 60 percent off most of its product line for veterans, low income households, and those on long-term disability.
Use code “Healthline10” for 10% off your first order. One time use only.
Best broad-spectrum CBD oil for RLS
Medterra Ultra Broad-Spectrum CBD
- Price: $$$
- CBD type: broad-spectrum
- CBD potency: 1,000 or 2,000 mg per 30-mL bottle
- COA: available online
This is a broad-spectrum CBD tincture, meaning it has the added benefits of additional cannabinoids and natural terpenes.
It’s a non-GMO product and is also made with organic MCT oil (coconut-derived oil).
It comes with a dropper applicator to help with measuring your correct dosage, and it comes in strawberry mint, citrus, or unflavored options.
Use code “health15” for 15% off.
Best full-spectrum CBD oil for RLS
Cornbread Hemp Distilled CBD Oil
- Price: $$–$$$
- CBD type: full-spectrum
- CBD potency: 375 mg per 15-mL bottle, or 750 or 1,500 mg per 30-mL bottle
- COA: available online
Cornbread Hemp describes this oil as one with a smooth, mild flavor, best for daytime use.
This oil is United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified organic and is made using hemp flowers only — which means it’s made without stems, stalks, leaves, or seeds. Some say that provides a cleaner taste.
Cornbread Hemp products come with a 30-day guarantee.
Use code HEALTHLINE for 25% off your first order.
Taking CBD oil is pretty easy. First, you’ll want to shake the bottle to make sure it has a nice consistency. Most oils will come with a dropper so you can place the oil directly under your tongue. Keep it there for at least 30 seconds before you swallow.
Some oils can be mixed into food or drinks if you prefer, but this may affect absorption.
Proper serving sizes for CBD differ quite a bit and depend on individual factors, such as:
- body weight
- intended use
- body chemistry
Finding your ideal dosage may take some trial and error. It’s always a good idea to start slowly, looking at the product’s recommended dose or the dosage you and your doctor talked about. You can always increase the dose and frequency until you’ve reached the results you’re looking for. But again, it’s best to chat with your doctor first.
Generally, doses can be taken at least 4 to 6 hours apart, any time of day. However, if you’re looking to ease nighttime RLS symptoms, take it at least 1 hour before bed.
CBD just may improve insomnia as well, encouraging restful sleep.
When you’re looking for CBD oil, keep in mind not all CBD products are created with the same high quality practices and testing.
The FDA has yet to approve any over-the-counter CBD products, so the best way to shop is to take the time to carefully research before you buy any products.
Here are some general things to look for:
- Product testing. Make sure your product comes with an up-to-date, comprehensive COA from a reputable third-party lab. This is very important, as the COA shows whether the product contains as much CBD and THC as the label claims. This will also show if the product passed tests for contaminants like mold, pesticides, and heavy metals.
- Company transparency. The best, most responsible CBD brands will be direct about where their hemp is grown and how they produce their products.
- Ingredient list. Take a close look at the ingredients before you buy. This way, you can scan for anything you may be allergic to. You can also check for added ingredients that may be helpful for the condition you’re looking to treat.
- Brand reputation. It’s possible that the CBD company you’re shopping may have pending lawsuits or have gotten FDA warning letters. Some quick searches before you click “buy” can help you avoid these brands.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), CBD is largely thought to be safe, but some people may experience side effects, like:
- changes in appetite
- changes in weight
It’s a good idea to talk with your doctor before trying any CBD product, especially if you’re taking any medications. CBD may interact with some medications.
It’s always best to be careful when testing out any new-to-you products. Look closely at the ingredient list before you use the product, to avoid any potential allergic reactions.
Research about CBD effectiveness on RLS is very limited right now. However, some anecdotal evidence suggests it just may help ease RLS symptoms.
Talk with your doctor before trying CBD and be sure to shop for your CBD oil carefully.
Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.
Breanna Mona is a writer based in Cleveland, Ohio. She holds a master’s degree in media and journalism and writes about health, lifestyle, and entertainment.