Spinal cord injuries can cause life-long disability. The most well-known one is paralysis, which occurs when signals to the cord are completely cut off. But this isn’t the only form of spinal cord injury. Partial damage to the nerve can cause an array of debilitating symptoms, including some that can be quite painful.
Opioids are the common drug for treating neuropathic pain, but they cause addiction. A better option is now available. Cannabis is showing a lot of promise for treating the symptoms of spinal cord injury. Here’s why.
It turns out that our bodies produce chemicals similar to the ones found in cannabis that are used to reduce pain and inflammation as well as mood control. When someone uses a dry herb vaporizer to inhale cannabis, two main chemicals interact with the system. One is THC, which is responsible for the high. The other is CBD, a non-psychoactive component.
CBD has received the most study because it doesn’t make you high, but thanks to recent legalization efforts there are new studies that show that THC also has medicinal benefits. Plus, both components may be more effective when used together rather than apart.
Pain is caused when a nerve receives too much stimulus or the wrong kind of stimulus. If the nerve itself is damaged, it can send pain signals even when there’s nothing that’s painful. It is difficult to treat this kind of pain, neuropathic pain, with standard medications. Opioids are the usual option, but they are addictive.
A study performed at Oxford in 2002 proved that cannabis products provide significant relief for this kind of pain. In the study, some participants self-administered a sublingual spray of THC and CBD. They reported significantly less pain than the placebo group.
The same study also showed that cannabis products help with muscle spasms. People with spinal cord injuries can have their muscles spasms uncontrollably and unexpectedly. This can range from a simple tremor or it can be as serious as a loss of bladder and bowel control. Both THC and CBD can help with these issues by reducing inflammation in the damaged nerves.
Insomnia And Depression
The pain and spasms from a spinal cord injury can bring about other negative symptoms. The first is insomnia. Nerve pain and muscle spasms can make it very difficult to go to sleep. By calming the nerves, those who suffer from a spinal cord injury can keep their sleep regular. CBD is also useful for treating insomnia that is not related to nerve damage.
Depression is another common side effect because nerve damage can make it difficult or impossible to do tasks that used to be routine without intervention. A vape pen might be the thing that helps someone in this state turn their mood around. Not only does it help with physical symptoms, CBD also helps with anxiety issues. In states where it is legal, THC can also be used to help break up a bad mood and with fewer side effects than traditional antidepressants.
Medicinal cannabis is undergoing a research boom. Soon science will reveal the full truth about the medicinal benefits of this plant. It’s likely that various combinations of CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids will soon be prescribed by doctors for different conditions. Until then, doctors work with patients to find the best strains and ingestion methods for each case.
If you have a spinal cord injury and traditional medications are not working or you’re afraid of side effects, consider talking with your doctor about using cannabis instead. It can give you the pain relief you’re looking for.
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