The uses of medical cannabis for treatment of spinal cord injuries are quite well researched and documented. As spinal cord injuries resultant from automobile accidents and vocational hazards are prevalent across the US—with the national average totaling 12,000 new cases annually—natural therapies for these ailments are quite welcome.
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The spinal cord is a bundles of nerves that run along the vertebrae in the human spine. Moreover, “the spinal cord is responsible for carrying signals back and forth between the brain and body”. When an individual’s spine receives a powerful blow, as seen in car accidents, this vital neural message pathway can be greatly disrupted. For “complete” spinal cord injuries sufferers are entirely paralyzed below the point of impact, while “incomplete” spinal cord injuries are characterized by a partial loss of feeling and control below the injured area. No matter the severity of one’s spinal cord injury, symptoms include “insomnia, severe pain, muscle spasticity, and anxiety, along with uncomfortable bowel and bladder”. Medical marijuana has several applications in relation to spinal cord injuries:
Muscle spasticity is one of the most prevalent, and debilitating, side effects of a spinal cord injury. The ailment is defined by the uncontrolled contraction of muscles resultant from nerve damage within vertebral cord damages. Moreover, “it is estimated that between 65-78% of individuals living with a spinal cord injury experience muscle spasticity”. In relationship to medical cannabis, the University of Manitoba, Canada researched the effectiveness of a “synthetic cannabinoid” named “Nabilone” on victims of muscle spasticity. Amazingly, over 90% of participants in the study experienced far less muscle spasms after taking the synthetic marijuana drug.
Comparatively speaking, for patients suffering from a variety of ailments one of the largest draws of medical marijuana is its relative unobtrusiveness in relation to prescription medicines. Along this line of thought, cannabis as a pain reliever has attracted a fair amount of attention in the medical world concerning spinal injuries. For most individuals that suffer from chronic pain, the prospect of taking prescription pain killers is quite intimidating due to issues with addiction as well as harmful side effects. To tie it all together, The Journal of Pain researched the effectiveness of “vaporized” medicinal cannabis in relations to spinal cord injury pain and found it to be extremely beneficial in reducing previously incapacitating ailments. Moreover, the use of cannabis doesn’t pose as large of risks with addiction and side effects as seen with prescription medications such as opioids.
Moderation Of Bladder Activity
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For those not “in the know” concerning the essential functions of the human spinal cord, the fact that it plays an important role in bladder control is generally unfamiliar. In fact, “the spinal cord is a messenger between the brain and bladder” and facilitates the messages within the human body to urinate. Consequently, for those suffering from spinal cord injuries, this loss of effective neural communication generally results in an “overactive bladder” for patients. The role of medical marijuana in relation to these bladder issues was studied in 2001 by “The Switzerland Centre for Spinal Cord Injury” through rectal administrations of THC. Amazingly enough, these rectally directed doses of THC reduced the rampant bladder activity synonymous with many spinal cord injury cases.
Kent Gruetzmacher M.F.A. is a Colorado based freelance writer and the Director of Business Development at Mac & Fulton Talent Partners (www.mandfconsultants.com), a recruiting firm dedicated to the indoor gardening and cannabis space. He is interested in utilizing his M.A. in the Humanities to critically explore the many cultural and business facets of this youthful, emergent industry by way of his entrepreneurial projects.