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Spinal cord injuries are serious and can lead to paralysis and loss of motor control. Here’s why people with spinal cord injuries are starting to use CBD to treat their symptoms.
Spinal cord injuries can be debilitating, emotionally devastating, and life-threatening.
The spinal cord consists of many bundles of nerve cells that work together to transmit signals from the brain to the rest of the body — and from the body back to the brain. They form “highways” of nerve impulses that branch off to different areas of the body as they move down through the back bones (called vertebrae).
Any damage to this highway can prevent signals from reaching everything beneaththat point — , paralysis, spasticity, hyperactive reflexes, loss of organ function and affected sensibility of the areas involved.
CBD is a current complementary treatment option for spinal cord injury patients for relief from symptoms such as pain, muscle spasms, depression, and insomnia — all of which are common side-effects of spinal injury.
Here, we’ll discuss how to use CBD and cannabis extracts forspinal cord injuries and what you can do to get the most out of your CBD.
Spinal cord injuries can have debilitating and life-altering consequences. Injuries can cause varying levels of paralysis, spasticity, loss of sensation, muscle weakness, and nerve pain that can persist for the rest of that person’s life.
There are some treatments available for this condition, most of which are supportive — helping those affected manage pain, depression, and other side-effects of the condition.
CBD cannot cure a spinal cord injury — however, it does likely offer a great deal of support for those affected by managing symptoms and promoting the repair of nerve cells in the damaged areas of the spinal cord.
There’s also some indication that CBD can support the recovery process — lowering the severity of side-effects and improving motor function in the affected nerves .
The spinal cord is an extension of the brain. It contains high concentrations of nerve cell tracts that send and receive messages between the body and the brain. Any damage to the spinal cord can result in serious consequences, including paralysis, spasms, neuropathic pain, or loss of organ function.
The spinal cord contains millions of nerve “intersections” that distribute signals to every part of the body. The area of the spinal cord that is damaged will determine what side-effects develop and where.
For example, if the region of the spine containing the nerves that control leg muscles is damaged, it means that there will be a weakness or complete loss of function in those muscles and sensory deficits in one or both legs.
Depending on how severe the injury is, there are three main classifications that doctors use to describe the condition:
There are also several other types of spinal cord injury such as: dorsal column lesion, irregular lesions, small or large central lesion, tumor of the dorsal root, or tumor of the meninges or bone.
Nerves leave the brain and head down the spinal cord in bundles and pairs. They branch off at various points along the way to go to their target organs, and some tracts will cross sides.
The location of the damage to the spinal cord will determine which areas of the body are affected.
Complete damage of the spinal cord will prevent all nerves below the damaged point to stop receiving or sending messages. Therefore, to classify the level of injury, doctors will assess the lowest levels of different sensations and functions of the nerves in the spinal cord.
There are four main divisions of the spinal cord — organized according to the vertebral column. The vertebral column starts at one at the base of the skull and goes all the way to the coccyx. The spinal cord, in fact, actually ends between vertebrae L1-L2, and is followed by a bundle of nerves called the cauda equina the rest of the way down.
In 2012, researchers conducted a study on the use of CBD for spinal cord injuries in rats . Rats were either placed in the treatment group and given CBD, or into the control group where no treatment was given. At the end of the six-day study, rats in the CBD treatment group had significant improvements in motor function and reduced injury side-effects than rats in the no-treatment group. Therefore, the researchers conducting this study concluded that CBD might be a useful treatment option for spinal cord lesions (injuries).
Another study used a survey that was handed out to 10 spinal cord injury patients at the Spinal Cord Injury ward of the Miami V.A. Hospital who were using marijuana to treat their symptoms. The survey was kept confidential and involved questions about the most common symptoms of the condition and how marijuana use affected them.
|Symptoms||Made Worse||Made Better||No Effect||Distraction||Not Applicable|
THC has also offered benefits for spinal cord injuries. For this reason, a full-spectrum cannabis extract containing both CBD and THC is considered the best option.
THC remains illegal throughout most of the world, so it may be difficult to find products containing more than 0.3% THC concentration. Further robust studies will be needed to better characterize standard effects and determine efficacy.
The right dose of CBD can vary a lot from one person to the next.
For this reason, it’s best to start with a small dose and build up gradually over a few days or weeks until you reach a dose that provides relief from your symptoms.
For some, this will be a small dose; for others, it’s much higher.
With that said, most people using CBD for spinal cord injuries require larger doses to find the relief they need from various symptoms.
To get a ballpark dosage, you can use the calculations below. You are using your desired strength (low, medium, or high-strength) and weight (in kg or lbs). This dose will help give you an idea of the dose you’re likely to need, but it isn’t conclusive — you will still need to play around with the dose to find the right amount for your individual needs.
|Unit of Measure||Low Strength||Medium Strength||High Strength|
|Imperial (pounds)||1 mg for every 10 lbs||3 mg for every 10 lbs||6 mg for every 10 lbs|
|Metric (kilograms)||1 mg for every 4.5 kg||3 mg for every 4.5 kg||6 mg for every 4.5 kg|
Here’s a chart with these calculations already done for you.
|Weight (lbs)||Low Strength||Medium Strength||High Strength|
Although CBD has been proven to be completely safe many times over, it’s important to know about the potential side-effects it may produce. Everybody is different, and what works for one person won’t necessarily work the same way for another.
Here are some of the most common side-effects of CBD:
Spinal cord injuries are serious and come with a wide range of negative side-effects, including pain, insomnia, depression, and paralysis.
CBD is a useful supplement for spinal cord injuries when combined with conventional treatments and rehabilitation therapies. It is especially beneficial for addressing side-effects of the condition such as chronic pain, depression, and insomnia, and possibly even for promoting nerve regeneration — a key element of recovery from spinal cord injuries.
Other cannabinoids, including THC and CBG, have also been shown to be beneficial to spinal cord injuries in limited data. Therefore, a full-spectrum, high-potency extract is considered by many to be the best option for people with this condition.
Start at a low dose, and build gradually over time until you find relief from your symptoms.