Does Weed Help with Muscle Cramps?

Medically reviewed by Dr. Brian Kessler, MD

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Muscle cramps are extremely common. In many cases, they aren’t cause for concern. With a little time, using the affected muscle, or giving it a massage, the cramps go away on their own. Yet for some people, muscle cramps can be a chronic and debilitating medical condition. And constant or severe cramps can be an indication that something much more serious is going on. 

For people experiencing severe or persistent muscle cramps, relief can be hard to come by. Cannabis, though, may potentially provide relief to people suffering from muscle cramps.

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What Causes Muscle Cramps?

Most of the time, muscle cramps aren’t a big deal. Cramps are often caused by low electrolytes, overworking a muscle, or dehydration. Inadequate blood flow or compressed nerves can also cause cramps. And in some cases, muscle cramps can be brought on by a more serious underlying medical condition.

Common causes of muscle cramps include:

  • Dehydration
  • Overuse
  • Low electrolytes
  • Inadequate blood flow
  • Compressed nerves
  • Pregnancy

Less common and potentially more serious causes include:

  • Side-effects from certain medications
  • Nerve damage
  • Kidney disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Alcoholism

Some people are more likely than others to experience muscle cramps, including:

  • Athletes
  • Older people
  • Pregnant people
  • People who are overweight

Muscle Cramps Signs & Symptoms

Usually, muscle cramps are more of a symptom of a medical condition, rather than being one in their own right. 

Muscle cramps tend to have a similar set of sensations and manifest in similar ways. They are often described as a tightness or inability to move a tensed muscle. Muscles can also contract or twitch involuntarily. These cramps can range from slight discomfort to causing real pain.

How Cannabis Can Help Alleviate Muscle Cramps

woman feeling relieved

Cannabis is a potentially therapeutic substance that has shown promise in alleviating muscle cramps. It has been well-documented for it’s potential pain-relieving and  anti-inflammatory properties.1

There isn’t much research on cannabis in treating muscle cramps specifically. One survey of medical cannabis patients found that the majority of cannabis patients report relief from a range of symptoms, including muscle cramps.2 

There has been more research on using cannabis to alleviate related symptoms in multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferers. Researchers in the UK conducted a study on patients treating MS with medical cannabis. The team behind the study found that nearly 30% of patients treated with cannabis experienced relief from muscle stiffness.3

An individual case study followed a patient suffering from cancer. The treatment originally prescribed to the patient caused painful muscle cramps. When the patient was given cannabis to treat the cramps, both the frequency and intensity of the cramps diminished significantly.4 

Current research into treating muscle cramps with cannabis is still developing. So while early findings have shown promise, more research needs to be done to understand how cannabis treats these symptoms.

Legality and Doctor’s Recommendation

To determine if your state considers muscle cramps to be a qualifying condition for medical marijuana, check out our Laws & Regulations section for the medical cannabis rules for your state.

If you find that your state recognizes muscle cramps or its symptoms as a qualifying medical condition, you can seek a doctor’s recommendation to get your medical cannabis card in your state.

How NuggMD Can Help

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NuggMD is the nation's leading medical marijuana technology platform, serving patients in 22 states and growing. We’ve connected over 1,000,000 patients with their new medical marijuana doctors face-to-face via our state-of-the-art telemedicine platform. 

We believe that every human being has the right to explore the benefits of medical cannabis and are fully committed to helping each patient explore all of their options in their journey to wellness. For further information on whether you qualify for medical cannabis, select your state.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Cannabis & Muscle Cramps

What strains are best for muscle cramps?

There isn’t research that specifically addresses which strains work best for treating muscle cramps, but reports from patients point to a few that have worked well for them. Those strains include:

  • Afghan Kush
  • White Widow
  • Blue Dream
  • Blueberry
  • Cannatonic
  • OG Kush

Will edibles help with muscle cramps?

Maybe. There isn’t any research specifically comparing edibles to smoked cannabis for treating muscle cramps. There are, however, studies where cannabis was administered orally to treat muscle cramps. 

Cannabis as a treatment usually relies on the cannabinoids THC and CBD getting into the bloodstream and binding to endocannabinoid receptors throughout the body and brain. Treating muscle cramps is no different.

Which is better for muscle cramps: sativa or indica?

There isn’t any research into whether indica or sativa is better for treating muscle cramps. Many of the strains commonly used to treat muscle cramps are sativa strains or hybrids, but not all of them. What works best will depend heavily on the individual and the strain.


1. Ramkellawan, Sabrina, et al. “Medical Cannabis ‒ the Canadian Perspective .” Journal of Pain Research, vol. Volume 9, Sept. 2016, pp. 735–744, 10.2147/jpr.s98182.

2. Webb, Charles W, and Sandra M Webb. “Therapeutic Benefits of Cannabis: A Patient Survey.” Hawai’i Journal of Medicine & Public Health : A Journal of Asia Pacific Medicine & Public Health, vol. 73, no. 4, 2014, pp. 109–11,

3. Zajicek, John Peter, et al. “MUltiple Sclerosis and Extract of Cannabis: Results of the MUSEC Trial.” Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, vol. 83, no. 11, 1 Nov. 2012, pp. 1125–1132,, 10.1136/jnnp-2012-302468. Accessed 26 Dec. 2020.
4. Kutiel, Talia Shentzer, et al. “Cannabis for Vismodegib-Related Muscle Cramps in a Patient with Advanced Basal Cell Carcinoma.” Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, vol. 55, no. 5, May 2018, pp. e1–e2, 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2018.02.004. Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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