Spinal Cord Damage and Medical Cannabis
Medical cannabis helps to improve the quality of life for individuals who have been afflicted with spinal cord injuries.
Medical Cannabis as Part of a Spinal Cord Damage Treatment Plan
Clinical studies have shown that THC and CBD, the effective chemical constituents of medical cannabis, can control symptoms in people with spinal cord damage. Furthermore, patients generally experience fewer unwanted side effects with this option than with traditional pharmaceutical drugs.
For many years, the benefits of medical cannabis for patients with injuries of the spinal cord have been under consideration by the medical industry. Among the earliest informal studies was one performed by the Miami VA Hospital in 1974. A survey of individuals suffering from spinal cord injuries showed that the majority of patients who admitted to using cannabis enjoyed a direct improvement in their symptoms. Other people surveyed stated that they experienced little or no relief, but that cannabis made it easier for them to ignore their symptoms.
In 2003, a controlled study, which was performed in the United Kingdom, was published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. People with spinal cord injuries who were provided with medical cannabis reported that they experienced not only considerably less pain, but also fewer muscle spasms and improved bladder function. These findings demonstrate the potential benefits of medical cannabis for safely and effectively managing the symptoms associated with spinal cord injuries, including those that are not improved or controlled by current mainstream treatments such as opioid painkillers.
Spinal Cord and Neurological Spasticity
- A preliminary controlled study to determine whether whole-plant cannabis extracts can improve intractable neurogenic symptoms
- The treatment of spasticity with D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (D9-THC) in patients with spinal cord injury
- Clinical investigation of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as an alternative therapy for overactive bladders in spinal cord injury (SCI) patients
- The treatment of spasticity with Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol in persons with spinal cord injury
- Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol shows antispastic and analgesic effects in a single case double-blind trial
- Cannabis effect on spasticity in spinal cord injury
- The perceived effects of marijuana on spinal cord injured males
Understanding Spinal Cord Damage
Damage to the spinal cord or the nerves that extend from the end of the spine can cause chronic pain and irreversible physical problems. Alterations in agility, strength, bodily function and sensation can happen with injuries to the spinal cord. These symptoms typically occur in or near the same region of the body where the spinal cord damage is present.
If you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury, you already know how significantly it can impact your everyday life. You also understand how difficult it can be to manage the pain. Researchers are still performing studies on ways to repair spinal cord damage, and advancements in medical technology are also providing hope for an eventual cure. Meanwhile, however, patients struggling with a spinal cord injury must undergo physical therapy and pain management in order to maintain some semblance of a normal life.
Symptoms of Spinal Cord Damage
The following are some common symptoms that are associated with spinal cord damage:
- Loss of sensation in areas of the body that are below the spinal cord injury
- Paralysis or limited ability for movement
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Painful muscle spasms that occur frequently
- Undesired changes in sexual ability, fertility, or enjoyment
- Nerve pain (neuropathy) in the extremities or other body parts that feel like pricking sensations
- Trouble breathing or clearing the lungs when coughing