Spinal cord injury refers to any damage to the spinal cord that blocks communication between the brain and the body. The spinal cord is essentially a highway for nerves transporting information back and forth between the two.
An injury to the spine can adversely affect sensory, motor and reflex messages. Some injuries can prevent people from walking properly, or even walking at all. Typically, the higher the injury in the spinal column, the more severe the damage will be.
People injured in the high-cervical nerves, C1-C4, may have paralysis in their arms and legs and may not even be able to breathe on their own. Lower injuries to the spinal cord can leave people with partial paralysis, unable to control various bodily functions, and possibly limited to a motorized wheelchair.
The majority of spinal cord injuries are due to traumatic accidents. According to data from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical center at the University of Alabama, some 17,500 new spinal cord injuries occur in the U.S. each year. Males comprise nearly 81 percent of those cases.
The leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the U.S. in 2017 has been vehicle crashes, comprising some 38.4% of injuries. Followed by falls, acts of violence, and then sports and recreational injuries. The extent of damage in nearly half of those injured will leave them with incomplete tetraplegia.
Spinal cord injuries can also result from degenerative diseases such as cancer osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and inflammation of the spinal cord. In the case of both injuries and disease, nerves are damaged causing the inability of the brain to control and communicate with the body.
Currently, there are no known treatments that can reverse damage to the spinal cord and associated nerves. Spinal Cord Injury treatment focuses on preventing further injury, managing pain, inflammation, and mental health issues that result from the injury. For most, rehabilitation therapies and medications are recommended.
For emergency treatments, doctors have found steroids can help with life-threatening inflammation, which may save nerves from being lost, but steroids can have serious adverse effects on internal organs and brain chemistry. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is currently focusing their research into treatments that focus on protecting surviving nerve cells, replacing damaged nerve cell, stimulating regrowth of axons, and retraining neural circuits to restore body functions. There are currently efforts to develop brain-computer interfaces that may allow those with spinal cord injuries to move again.
Spinal cord and nerve damage are complex injuries. While advancing research is promising for many, currently, most of those with injuries can only manage their symptoms and condition. Many sufferers of spinal cord injuries become dependent on prescription painkillers, antidepressants, anxiety meds, alcohol, and other drugs in efforts to cope with their condition and related stress and depression.
Multiple studies and reviews have revealed that those with spinal cord injuries are at a much higher risk for substance abuse problems with prescription drugs, and other illicit drugs. One review noted that nearly half of participants were under the influence of alcohol when their injury occurred and a quarter of them was on both drugs and alcohol.
Many people who suffer damage to the spinal cord and nerves experience various detrimental effects on abilities that most of us take for granted every day, such as simply writing and holding on to a fork or cup. One symptom of such injury is the development of spasticity in the skeletal muscles.
A 2007 study from the Switzerland Centre for Spinal Cord Injuries examined the effects of THC on muscle spasticity. Researchers found patients experienced reduced symptoms of spasticity and conclude that THC is a safe and effective treatment for decreasing muscle spasms.
Since the 1970’s, science has verified marijuana’s ability to decrease pain associated with spinal cord injury. More recent research is supporting and verifying previous findings that cannabis can modulate pain and inflammation. More, research from 2007 suggests that THC may be able to help address the bladder and bowel control issues that SCI patients commonly have.
Most notably though, research data published in PLOS One found that the endocannabinoid system is directly activated as a protective response to SCI. Cannabis’ ability to modulate the activity of the endocannabinoid system could play a key role in developing new front-line emergency treatments for SCI, especially considering its neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties.
Medical marijuana and its active compounds interact in complex ways with the human body and mind. Further research into substances such as CBD and THC may produce medicines that can help those with SCI improve their mobility and functionality. For now, SCI patients could benefit directly from the anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, analgesic, antidepressant, and anxiolytic properties of cannabis, which could greatly improve their quality of life.
Marijuana will affect people uniquely. Consult with a physician and medical marijuana professional about using cannabis and follow the links below to strains that have been reported by others to alleviate problems that are associated with spinal cord injuries.
· [[303 OG]]
· [[Abusive OG]
· [[Afghan Sour Kush]]
· [[Apollo 11]]
· [[AutoNight Queen]]
· [[Azure Haze]]
· [[Barbara Bud]]
· [[Brand X]]
· [[Big Bud]]
· [[Black Dahlia]]
· [[Black Kush]]
· [[Black Russian]]
· [[Blue Frost]]
· [[Blue Kripple]]
· [[Blue Moon Rocks]]
· [[Blue Tara]]
· [[Blueberry Waltz]]