Marijuana and the treatment of spinal cord injuries.

Spinal cord injuries (SCI) are uncommon diseases in human but if not well handled can result in permanent and devastating effects on one’s daily life and well-being. Researchers are still trying to develop effective SCI medications without side effects or addictive components. Clinical studies began documenting marijuana ability to fight pain and spasticity in patients with spinal cord injuries as early as the 1970s. Today medical marijuana offers patients an alternative treatment to these relentless and unpleasant symptoms that can take such a toll on life quality and disturb the daily activities of humans.

What Is a Spinal Cord Injury all about?

A spinal cord injury results when there is a trauma to the spinal cord. This trauma can happen anywhere along the spine. It should be noted that Spinal cord injuries are different from spinal cord disease, which consist of narrowing of the spinal canal. Spinal cord injuries can also be a symptom of other health conditions, such as multiple sclerosis. Spinal cord injury is sometimes known as any abnormality in the spinal cord not resulting from diseases

Some of the common symptoms that plague the day-to-day of SCI patients include: Severe pain, stiffness, blood clots, insomnia, uncontrollable bladder and bowel, sexual dysfunction, anxiety, and depression. Spinal cord injuries consist of two categories namely: complete and incomplete. At the “complete” level of spinal cord injury, the patient experiences total function loss below the location of injury.  At the “Incomplete” level, the patient experiences a partial loss of function with varying degrees of severity between patients suffering from it.

The main cause of Spinal cord injuries is trauma to the spine, which results from a dislodged bone fragment, ligaments, or disc material damaging the spinal tissue on impact. Spinal cord injuries affect motor functions of the body because axons or extensions of nerve cells that carry messages to the brain are damaged by the fractured or compressed vertebrae. This is unlike back injuries.

How does marijuana treat spinal cord injuries?

Many more people are becoming aware of the painkilling superpowers of medical marijuana, but much is still left to be told about why and how it works so well in the treatment of several diseases. Researches and clinical tests has helped put  together an understanding, but despite crystal clear proves, development of cannabinoid-based medications for spinal cord injuries remains halted at the political gate as marijuana infused medications are yet to be legalized in all states.

Clinical Studies have confirmed ability of marijuana in treating many signature symptoms of SCI such as pain, spasticity, insomnia, and depression. Patients who use marijuana testified that they noticed some improvement in bladder and bowel control. The medicinal compounds found in cannabis commonly known as cannabinoids, are what offer this amazing diversity of symptom relieving properties to SCI patients.  Two main chemical compounds are extracted from marijuana. The main arena of pain relievers extracted from marijuana is Cannabidiol commonly known as CBD as several clinical studies have not only demonstrated CBD’s remarkable painkilling properties, but also its ability to reduce spasticity and improved motor function in patients suffering with spinal cord injuries

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) another chemical compound imbedded in marijuana, though stereotyped as marijuana’s “psychoactive stoner” compound due to the fact that it produces the euphoria commonly known as ‘high’, also has its own medicinal characteristics  in treating spinal cord injuries. Various researches suggest that THC improves many spinal cord injury symptoms such as pain, spasticity, bladder control, and insomnia just to name a few.


It’s clear that marijuana, in all its form forms even raw, provides patients with safe relief of SCI symptoms with little or no side effects. Other clinical studies monitoring the restoration of nerve function and growth of new cells by marijuana compounds is further brightening futures for people living with chronic pain and other conditions all over. How long patients will be waiting for factual information and improved cannabis policy or even its legalization, however, is unknown. Medical cannabis is therefore option to consider if conventional medicines fail. Medical marijuana should thus be added to a treatment plan to manage the symptoms of a spinal cord injury. As more researches are emerging in recent times, a clearer picture will demonstrate just how medical marijuana can assist those with spinal cord injuries all over the world.

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