Pharmaceuticals upset my stomach and left me feeling hungover and incoherent. I have yet to experience any of those feelings with cannabis.
My name is Shannon and this is my story of recovery from my spinal cord injury and the pain it caused. I was injured while driving a taxi in south Florida 19 years ago – a drug addict hit my parked vehicle at a stop light and pushed me through traffic, across the median, into an RV.
I suffered spinal injuries that have worsened and become more complicated over the years. At first, I accepted the use of pain killers up until physical therapy gave me back my mobility. Then I stopped taking them. I was a single mom of 2 small girls and the drowsiness and hung over feeling they gave me were not something I could handle and care for my kids correctly.
I endured 2 more years of physical therapy and several years of chiropractics without medications. Things continued to deteriorate though, and after multiple injections, spinal nerve blocks , nerve “burnings” and failed surgeries (which resulted in fibromyalgia and sciatica), I was at my wit’s end. I did not want to take the 100s of pain pills and muscle relaxers the doctors were offering. Worse, I hadn’t had a full night’s sleep in 10 years. The pain was becoming unbearable & causing anxiety attacks.
First Time Trying Cannabis
I had never been a cannabis consumer before. I had tried it recreationally as a teen but became paranoid and self-conscious and determined it was not for me. After watching me suffer and also feeling at wit’s end, my husband (a former smoker) and our roommate (a current smoker) suggested I look into medical cannabis.
I did my research and purchased some illegal medical grade edibles. I had the BEST night’s sleep I’ve had in 10 yrs!! It was a miracle! I woke refreshed, well-rested and limber! There was no stiffness in my joints and I felt no “hangover” or sluggish mental state. When I had taken the opioids that were prescribed (oxy 10’s, Flexerils, Valium) I always felt incoherent and slow and not able to function. Pharmaceuticals upset my stomach and left me feeling hungover and guilty. I have yet to experience any of those feelings with cannabis.
I’ve been legally consuming via vape, edibles, and sublingual drops for 2-1/2 months and I feel amazing. Further, I’m well rested, have no nausea, and no hungover feeling. I find that cannabis manages my muscle spasms and anxiety as well as my spinal pain.
I use a low THC vape or sublingual oils with a sativa strain, Sour Diesel for daytime, and an indica 9lb Hammer at night to help me sleep. Since I began studying the medical benefits of cannabis I have petitioned my state to legalize and expand the laws and have become an activist for the cause. I went from anti-cannabis to pro-cannabis big time!
Cannabis has given me back a portion of my life I thought I had lost years ago.
What RxLeaf Says About Recovery From a Spinal Cord Injury
As Shannon’s story shows, recovery from spinal cord injury is a long and painful process, often leaving mental and discomforts that can last a lifetime.
The spinal cord is the central exchange for the body’s nervous system. Any injury to it can cause issues in several places at once: chronic pain, sleep troubles, trouble with motor skills, depression, neurological damage, overactive bladder, and muscle spasms.
Taking one pill for every symptom would result in a pharmaceutical cornucopia — and run up healthcare bills. Instead, many patients try to knock out the worst symptoms and deal with the others, or better yet, try to take a single remedy for several symptoms.
That’s where some patients say cannabis comes in.
Cannabis and Recovery from Spinal Cord Injury
If Shannon’s story of taking cannabis to overcome pain doesn’t provide enough evidence, take a look at the hard science backing it up.
One of the biggest complaints from patients suffering from spinal cord injuries is the pain. It’s potent and unrelenting — but cannabis might help. A study published in the Journal of Pain (2016) took a deep dive into the concept, issuing a double-blind, placebo-controlled, test of patients with spinal cord injuries and vaporized cannabis.
Patients would receive a vape containing either a placebo, or cannabis with either 2.9 or 6.7 percent THC. Each patient took four puffs of the vaporizer, then received a second hit three hours later.
Patients who received THC-infused vaporizers reported significant decreases in pain. The results, iron-clad through a taut experimental design, demonstrate the role of cannabis in recovery from spinal cord injury.Wilsey, B., Marcotte T.D., Deutsch, R. Zhao H. Prasad, H. Phan, A. (2016). An Exploratory Human Laboratory Experiment Evaluating Vaporized Cannabis in the Treatment of Neuropathic Pain From Spinal … Continue reading
Interestingly, there was not much difference in pain ratings between patients who received the low and high doses of THC. In the discussion section of the paper, the researchers recommended that patients use the bare minimum of effective-strength cannabis to combat the pain.
Cannabis or Painkillers?
It’s not just that cannabis eases pain for patients undergoing a recovery from spinal cord injury. It does so better than opioids.
Why? Because some pain caused spinal cord injury is neuropathic (or nerve) pain — something that cannabis can handle, while opioids cannot.
The constant pain, the burning pain, the sleepless nights. Recovery from spinal cord injury largely means getting past all of that. Cannabis can treat multiple types of pain — and inflammation — at the same time.
Shannon found better pain management through cannabis. Moreover, it helped give her hope and a future by aiding her recovery from spinal cord injury. Cannabis-based solutions should be an option to every patient.