Spinal Cord Disease (Spinal Cord Disease or Injury)

The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves enclosed in your spine. Protected by disc-shaped vertebrae, the spinal cord connects nearly all parts of the body to the brain. Spinal cord diseases are a group of conditions that cause damage or dysfunction of the spinal cord, including infections and inflammatory, degenerative and autoimmune diseases. Accidents that damage the vertebrae or other parts of the spine can also injure the spinal cord, causing a vast range of symptoms. Symptoms vary but might include weakness, tingling, pain, and numbness.

Research on Medical Marijuana

Speaking at the 2014 Spinal Cord Injury Wellness Summit, Gregory T. Carter, Medical Director of St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane, Washington, and faculty at University of Washington Medical School, discussed the current scientific evidence regarding the safety and effectiveness of medical marijuana as a treatment for neuropathic pain.

Potential Benefits from Medical Marijuana

Although marijuana’s status as a schedule I drug makes full-scale research difficult, Carter said, “We now know on the basis of science and clinical trials that cannabis and cannabinoids work very well for neuropathic pain and spasticity.” He went on to say, “The overall weight of evidence so far is markedly in favor of cannabinoids being safe and effective to treat pain.”

Of medical marijuana’s many benefits, Carter noted that it relieves muscle spasms (cannabinoids can also enhance the effects of other anti-spasticity medications), is safe and well-tolerated, doesn’t cause constipation, doesn’t suppress breathing (unlike opioids), has no risk of overdose (unlike opioids), and does not cause physical addiction.

Finally, in a small-scale study, CBD was shown to improve locomotor functional recovery and to reduce injury extent in spinal cord injury.


The information provided should not be used as a substitution for physician knowledge. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment with medicinal marijuana.

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