Study: Patients Report Cannabis Provides “Great Relief” for Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms

Philadelphia, PA: Many spinal cord injury (SCI) patients with a history of cannabis use say that it provides them "great relief," according to data published in the journal Spinal Cord Series and Cases.

A team of investigators affiliated with Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia assessed cannabis utilization and attitudes in a national sample of patients with SCI.

Forty-two percent of respondents reported being either past users or current users of medical cannabis. Among them, 63 percent reported that cannabis offers "great relief" from symptoms – including the alleviation of pain and spasticity – while 30 percent reported that it provided more limited relief. Only six percent said that cannabis provided no relief from SCI symptoms. A majority of respondents also said that medical cannabis was more effective than prescription medications in treating their condition and that it possesses fewer adverse side effects.

Authors concluded: "Our findings support the notion that MC (medical cannabis) may have an important role – either as adjuvant therapy or as monotherapy – in treating a number of common symptoms experienced by individuals living with SCI. There is certainly a need for expedited clinical trials evaluating efficacy of MC in chronic SCI, and no justification for cannabis’ continued classification as a Schedule 1 drug, a designation indicating that it has no accepted medical use."

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director. Full text of the study, "Utilization of medicinal cannabis for pain by individuals with spinal cord injury," appears in Spinal Cord Series and Cases.