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Cannabis and Spinal Cord Injury

It is impossible to imagine spinal cord injuries without ever having experienced one. These are among the very worst the human body can endure. Victims often lose the ability to feel in their limbs, some can no longer breathe without help. It can lead to paralysis. For many, this is permanent. Injuries to the spinal cord change lives instantly. It forces some to become dependent on others for basic needs. 

What are Spinal Cord Injuries? 

More and more, patients are joining the New York cannabis scene. This is because spinal injuries, particularly those to the spinal cord itself, are so injurious that life is never the same. Patients suffer paralysis. At the very least, most lose function and strength. In the United States, victims number around 300 000, with doctors treating around 12 000 new cases every year. 

Pain is excruciating. Limb fractures are painful enough, but trauma can prove deadly when it involves the spinal cord. This is home to the central nervous system, which is responsible for coordinating movement, for controlling physical activity. The spinal cord acts as messenger between the brain and body, which allows you to feel sensations and move about freely. A break here is debilitating. 

Any fracture in the cord will interrupt this communication. It will either block these messages completely, causing paralysis below the injury site, or partially, preventing some transmission. Site of injury also affects severity. Damage is often worse the higher the injury site. Quadriplegia is paralysis from the neck down, paraplegia from the thorax down. There is also pain, insomnia, spasms, and worse. 

Which is where cannabis can help: 

It offers analgesic effects. 

Spinal cord injuries are painful. All of them. Pain is extreme and very intense. It can last a few months after injury, or it can go on for years, even the rest of life. Even worse, patients have pain in paralyzed areas too. The worst pain. Such pain severely hampers quality of life. Daily life becomes challenging, impossible even. Painkillers become part of living. However, cannabis works better. 

The analgesic properties of cannabis are legendary. It has no side effects either and it does not cause addiction. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, it lowers one’s perception of pain and treats the underlying injury in other ways too. Since it activates those endocannabinoid receptors specific to the central nervous system, it targets the area most harmed by the injury itself. 

It has neuroprotective properties. 

It is crucial for recovery to activate cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 as soon after the injury as possible. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this triggers a neuroprotective response, a breakthrough discovery for spinal cord injuries. If the injury recovers even slightly from its trauma, it could mean the difference between some movement and none at all. Cannabis activates these quickly. 

It provides antispasmodic effects.

Spasticity is among the most common side effects of paralysis. The inability of nerves to communicate with each other stops them from transmitting to the reflex control center of the brain. While the spinal cord moderates physical response, the brain does this even better. As a result, these interrupted signals cause muscle response to go into overdrive. The result is spasticity, mild or violent, often both. 

For patients and those around them, these episodes of spasticity can be especially scary. Certainly, they are very dangerous. However, according to the British Journal of Psychiatry, cannabis has powerful antispasmodic properties noted by Dr. J. Reynolds in The Lancet over a century ago. Other studies prove this. Some show cannabis providing enormous relief for as many as 70 percent of patients who use it. 

It promises sedative properties. 

Spinal cord injuries keep you awake. The pain itself will not let you sleep, but insomnia and sleep apnea are other issues victims face. According to the American Association of Sleep Medicine, breathing trouble affects nearly 80 percent of sleeping patients. What is more, around 92 percent cannot get any quality sleep. This just further stresses daily life and compromises an already weakened immune system. 

As the U.S. National Library of Medicine explains, cannabis is a potent sedative. Tetrahydrocannabinol in particular, or THC, improves both sleep duration and quality, making it faster and easier to fall asleep. It also lengthens R.E.M. sleep, that stage of deepest sleep. It treats most sleep disorders effectively, with some studies suggesting that it also regulates sleep patterns and maintains them. 

It has anti-inflammatory effects. 

Knowledge about the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis is now widespread and mainstream. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, cannabinoids are already prized for making novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Weed fights inflammation at the site of injury, its source. It decreases swelling and related inflammatory responses. This reconnects neural pathways and aids in faster recovery.

Effects of Cannabis on Mobility

Among the primary side effects of spinal cord injury, loss of motor function affects sufferers in varying degrees. Often, damage here is permanent, but the U.S. National Library of Medicine published a study showing cannabidiol, or CBD, boosting mobility in similarly afflicted mice. The study suggests that CBD might reduce injury severity and help in locomotor functional recovery. 

Although clinical trials are not yet underway, these findings indicate massive potential for cannabis in treating lesions on the spinal cord, along with motor function and sensation in those suffering from spinal cord injuries. Results seem especially promising the earlier after injury cannabinoid therapy begins. For this reason, patients might want to start straight away. 

Best Online Weed Dispensary

Fortunately, more and more doctors are sending patients to their nearest New York cannabis dispensary. The aim is to relieve pain, improve sleep, stimulate appetite, and otherwise support all recovery efforts. Research is now legal and frenzied. More studies prove the benefits of treating traumatic injuries with cannabinoids. For treating spinal cord injuries, it might well become mainstream.