Cannabis Science

Can Weed Cause Leg Cramps?

woman holding her foot with her legs crossed

While weed can be a source of relief for many ailments, some stoners find that they experience some unpleasant and puzzling symptoms. For example, stoners often report shaking after using weed. Shaking may be caused by anxiety, using other stimulants with weed, or THC-induced hyperthermia. Another odd symptom stoners end up with is leg cramps. We say it’s odd because weed is often used to treat symptoms like that. So what’s the deal? Are stoners making this up? Can weed cause leg cramps or other types of cramps? If so, why? Here’s what we know. 

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Can Smoking Weed Cause Muscle Cramps?

While marijuana is sometimes used by people who experience muscle cramps and spasticity for relief, many stoners swear that smoking weed causes muscle cramps or spasms. It might seem strange being relaxed after taking a bong hit and then having an excruciating muscle cramp afterward.

One Reddit user says, “I’ve noticed I tend to get muscle spasms in my leg when I take edibles. It’s completely involuntary.”

Another Reddit user says, “After smoking, I started to get uncontrollable muscle spasms. They were happening in my arms and my stomach a bit, but mostly in my legs.”

A Reddit user in another thread also said, “sometimes (most of the time) after I smoke, I get a muscle spasm in the same muscle.”

In yet another thread (trust us, there are a lot), one Reddit user says, “When I first started smoking weed, I would get these slight twitches or convulsions or muscle contractions in my limbs, especially my knees.”

There is no concrete evidence that marijuana causes leg cramps or other types of cramps. However, something is definitely going on. Let’s examine what the possible reasons could be.

How Can Smoking Weed Cause Muscle Cramps?

So why are so many stoners are reporting muscle cramps after using weed? The people in the threads seem to have some ideas. They suggested dehydration and a lack of potassium, but is there any truth to that?

Well, let’s look at the reasons why people get muscle cramps. According to Healthline, muscle cramps may be caused by:

  • Overuse of muscle such as by exercising 
  • Muscle injury
  • Dehydration
  • Low levels of minerals such as calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium
  • Medical conditions such as pregnancy

So the Reddit users were definitely on to something. Being dehydrated and having low levels of minerals such as potassium could be why some stoners get muscle cramps. There is no real evidence that weed causes dehydration or affects our mineral concentration.

However, a study states, “Chronic marijuana users have lower serum sodium and potassium than non-users.” The study says the overconsumption of carbs while high causes an increase in serum insulin levels, driving potassium into cells and causing serum hypokalemia. That can cause muscle cramps. 

At the same time, maybe stoners are busy being euphoric and forget to sip water, which may explain the dehydration and thus the muscle cramps.  In addition to that, choosing certain snacks when you have the munchies could contribute to muscle cramps.

How to Relieve Muscle Cramps

Regardless of why you have muscle cramps, they’re still unpleasant. According to Healthline, you can relieve muscle cramps by:

  • Stretching
  • Taking over-the-counter pain medication for the soreness after the cramp
  • A heating pad or a hot cloth
  • A cold cloth or ice

If you’re looking to prevent muscle cramps, Healthline suggests:

  • Taking calcium or potassium supplement (discuss with your doctor first)
  • Eating or drinking foods that can provide calcium and potassium. You can have milk, whether dairy or non-dairy, for calcium. You can also have bananas for potassium.
  • Keeping hydrated
  • Avoiding things with caffeine, such as coffee

If you’re still experiencing muscle cramps after using weed, maybe paying the doctor a visit could be beneficial. 

Can Smoking Weed Relieve Muscle Cramps?

Some medical conditions cause muscle cramps and spasms. If you’re plagued by muscle cramps or spasms, weed may actually be helpful. 

According to a book called Marijuana as Medicine? The Science Beyond the Controversy., weed is known to calm muscle cramps. The science supports this because, as the book says, “Spasms are thought to originate in areas of the brain that control movement, including several sites with abundant cannabinoid receptors.” That means that when you use weed, the cannabinoids can bind to receptors in parts of the brain that control movement, thus leading to relief. 

In addition to that, weed seems to work for people who have multiple sclerosis. For context, multiple sclerosis often results in spasticity, which is muscle tightness due to prolonged muscle contraction. And yes, it can be pretty painful. According to the aforementioned book, people who suffer from multiple sclerosis sometimes find relief using weed. But the study says that even though all patients reported relief, it doesn’t mean weed actually relieves spasticity. It could be that “marijuana-induced euphoria or pain relief might decrease patients’ perceptions of muscle stiffness or spasticity.”


So, can weed cause leg cramps? We don’t have any concrete evidence that weed does cause leg cramps or other cramps. However, stoners report cramps and spasms while high. Therefore, weed may directly or indirectly cause muscle cramps. Maybe people who report these cramps need to keep hydrated or keep their electrolytes up. In addition, scientists are looking at weed as a way to relieve muscle cramps and spasms caused by chronic illnesses. Either way, more research is necessary.


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].