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Irreversible Spinal Cord Injury

Irreversible Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is a life-altering condition characterized by damage to the spinal cord, resulting in the loss of motor and sensory functions below the level of injury. This type of injury can occur due to various causes such as accidents, falls, or diseases, and can lead to permanent disability, chronic pain, and reduced quality of life. While some spinal cord injuries may partially heal over time, irreversible SCI implies that the damage sustained is permanent, with no significant recovery of function expected. In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, management strategies, and potential future research avenues for addressing irreversible spinal cord injuries.

What is Irreversible Spinal Cord Injury?

Irreversible Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) refers to permanent damage to the spinal cord, leading to a lasting loss of motor and sensory functions below the level of injury. This type of injury can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, often requiring lifelong support and care.


The symptoms of irreversible SCI depend on the severity and location of the injury but may include:

  1. Loss of movement: Partial or complete paralysis below the level of the injury.
  2. Loss of sensation: Inability to feel touch, temperature, or pain below the level of the injury.
  3. Chronic pain: Persistent pain due to nerve damage.
  4. Muscle spasms: Involuntary muscle contractions or stiffness.
  5. Bowel and bladder dysfunction: Incontinence or difficulty controlling bowel movements and urination.
  6. Respiratory issues: Difficulty in breathing or coughing, particularly in high-level injuries affecting the neck or upper back.


Common causes of irreversible spinal cord injury include:

  1. Traumatic injuries: Vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries, and violence can cause direct damage to the spinal cord.
  2. Non-traumatic injuries: Infections, tumors, or degenerative spinal conditions can lead to spinal cord damage.
  3. Medical complications: Surgical complications or medical errors can result in SCI.


While not all spinal cord injuries can be prevented, certain measures can help reduce the risk:

  1. Road safety: Wearing seat belts, following traffic rules, and avoiding driving under the influence can minimize the risk of vehicle accidents.
  2. Fall prevention: Installing handrails, removing tripping hazards, and using non-slip mats can help prevent falls at home and in public spaces.
  3. Sports safety: Wearing appropriate protective gear and following safety guidelines during sports activities can reduce the risk of injury.
  4. Awareness and education: Being aware of potential risks and educating oneself about spinal cord injury prevention can encourage safer behaviors.

If you or someone you know experiences a spinal cord injury, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention. Early intervention and comprehensive care can help minimize complications, manage symptoms, and improve the overall quality of life for individuals living with irreversible spinal cord injuries.

Medical Marijuana as a Treatment for Irreversible Spinal Cord Injury

Medical marijuana has shown potential in helping manage various symptoms associated with irreversible spinal cord injury (SCI), such as chronic pain, muscle spasms, and sleep disturbances. The cannabinoids found in medical marijuana interact with the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating several physiological processes, including pain and inflammation.

How does medical marijuana help?

Medical marijuana may help alleviate some SCI-related symptoms through several mechanisms:

  1. Pain relief: Cannabinoids like THC and CBD can help manage chronic pain associated with nerve damage in SCI patients.
  2. Muscle spasm reduction: Medical marijuana has been shown to reduce muscle spasms and stiffness in some individuals with SCI.
  3. Sleep improvement: Certain strains of medical marijuana can help improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia, which is often experienced by individuals with SCI.

Cannabinoids and Terpenes for Irreversible Spinal Cord Injury

Several cannabinoids and terpenes may be particularly effective in addressing SCI-related symptoms:

  1. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol): THC is known for its psychoactive effects, but it also possesses analgesic and muscle relaxant properties that may help manage pain and muscle spasms in SCI patients.
  2. CBD (cannabidiol): CBD has demonstrated anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and muscle relaxant effects without causing psychoactive side effects. It may help reduce pain, inflammation, and muscle spasms in individuals with SCI.
  3. CBN (cannabinol): CBN is a lesser-known cannabinoid with potential sedative and analgesic effects, which may contribute to its therapeutic benefits in managing sleep disturbances and pain in SCI patients.
  4. Myrcene: Myrcene is a terpene with sedative and analgesic properties, which may help manage pain and improve sleep quality in individuals with SCI.
  5. Beta-caryophyllene: This terpene has demonstrated anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which may help manage pain and inflammation associated with SCI.

It is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional experienced in cannabinoid medicine when considering medical marijuana as a treatment for irreversible spinal cord injury. They can help determine the appropriate strains, ratios of cannabinoids, and dosages tailored to an individual’s specific needs and circumstances. Further research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects and efficacy of medical marijuana in managing irreversible spinal cord injury and its symptoms.

Dosage and Consumption Methods

Recommended dosage:

Figuring out the right dose of medical marijuana can be hard because people’s reactions to cannabinoids and terpenes can be very different. Factors such as the specific condition being treated, the patient’s weight, metabolism, and prior experience with cannabis all play a role in determining the right dosage.
Most of the time, it is best to start with a low dose and slowly increase it until you get the effects you want while minimising any possible side effects. For patients who are new to medical marijuana, starting with 2.5–5 mg of THC or CBD and slowly titrating upwards is often advised.

However, consulting a healthcare professional experienced in medical marijuana is essential to developing a personalised dosing plan tailored to the patient’s needs.

Consumption methods:

There are several methods of consuming medical marijuana, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Some common consumption methods include:

  1. Inhalation (smoking or vaping): Inhalation provides rapid onset of effects, usually within minutes, making it suitable for patients requiring immediate relief. However, smoking may pose respiratory risks, while vaping has been associated with lung injuries in some cases.
  2. Oral ingestion (edibles, capsules, tinctures): Ingesting medical marijuana provides longer-lasting effects compared to inhalation but has a slower onset, typically taking 30 minutes to 2 hours for effects to be felt. This method is suitable for patients requiring sustained relief but may require careful dosing to avoid overconsumption.
  3. Topical application (creams, balms, patches): Topicals can provide localised relief for conditions such as arthritis or skin disorders without producing psychoactive effects. The onset of action and duration of effects can vary depending on the product formulation and individual absorption rates.
  4. Sublingual administration (tinctures, dissolvable strips): Sublingual products are absorbed through the mucous membranes under the tongue, providing rapid onset of effects without the need for inhalation or ingestion. This method offers discreet consumption and precise dosing.

Obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card

Why get a medical marijuana card?

Getting a medical marijuana card is helpful for patients who are looking for other ways to treat their conditions.

  1. Legal protection: A medical marijuana card allows patients to possess, use, and in some cases, cultivate cannabis for medical purposes, within their state’s legal limits.
  2. Access to quality products: Medical marijuana dispensaries offer a wide range of tested and regulated cannabis products, ensuring patients receive safe and effective medication.
  3. Tax savings: In some states, medical marijuana patients are exempt from certain taxes applied to recreational cannabis sales.
  4. Professional guidance: Medical marijuana cardholders have access to healthcare professionals who can provide personalised recommendations, dosing advice, and ongoing support.

How to apply:

The process of obtaining a medical marijuana card varies by state but generally involves the following steps:

  1. Consult with Marijuana specialists to determine if medical marijuana is appropriate for your condition and obtain a written recommendation.
  2. Complete an application with the required documentation, including proof of residency, identification, and the healthcare professional’s recommendation.
  3. Submit the application to the appropriate state agency, along with any required fees.
  4. Await approval and issuance of the medical marijuana card.

Risks and Side Effects

Potential risks:

While medical marijuana can offer relief and improve the quality of life for many patients, it also carries certain risks and side effects. Some potential risks associated with medical marijuana use include:

  1. Dependency and addiction: Although the risk of addiction is considered lower than that of opioids or alcohol, some individuals may develop a dependency on cannabis.
  2. Impaired cognitive function: THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, can impair memory, attention, and reaction times, particularly with prolonged or heavy use.
  3. Respiratory issues: Smoking cannabis can cause respiratory problems, including bronchitis and lung irritation. Vaping has also been linked to lung injuries in some cases.
  4. Mental health concerns: High doses of THC or predisposition to mental health disorders can lead to increased anxiety, paranoia, or exacerbate existing mental health conditions.
  5. Drug interactions: Medical marijuana may interact with other medications, either enhancing or diminishing their effects. It is essential to discuss potential drug interactions with a healthcare professional before starting medical marijuana therapy.


Medical marijuana might not be right for every patient, especially those who already have certain health problems or risk factors. Contraindications to medical marijuana use may include:

  1. Personal or family history of substance abuse or addiction
  2. Severe liver or kidney disease
  3. Severe cardiovascular disease
  4. Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  5. History of psychosis or other severe mental health disorders
  6. Allergies or hypersensitivity to cannabis or its components

Legal Status

Where is it legal?

In the United States, the laws about medical marijuana are always changing. Currently, over 30 states and the District of Columbia allow its use under certain conditions. Each state has its own rules and a list of medical conditions that are allowed to use medical marijuana.

Even though some states have made medical marijuana legal, it is still illegal at the federal level because it is a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

This difference between state and federal laws can make it harder for medical marijuana patients to get jobs, find housing, or travel across state lines, among other things. Patients should research their state’s guidelines and remain aware of potential legal risks.


Medical marijuana could help relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life for many people with long-term or debilitating illnesses.

When thinking about this treatment option, it’s important to know the right dose, how to use it, how to get a medical marijuana card, possible risks, side effects, and legal status.

Work closely with a doctor or nurse who knows a lot about medical marijuana to find out if it is a good and safe choice for your needs.

As the legal landscape surrounding medical marijuana continues to evolve, staying informed about changing regulations and guidelines is essential to ensuring responsible and compliant use.

As the field of medical marijuana continues to evolve, it’s crucial for patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers to stay informed about the latest research and developments. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the current landscape, but it’s always important to consult with healthcare providers for personalized advice.

Note: This article’s content is provided for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional legal or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or queries regarding laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult a lawyer, physician, or other licensed practitioner.