Damage in the spinal cord that causes changes in its function is called a spinal cord injury. These injuries can either be classified as complete or incomplete. In the case of complete injury, there is a total loss of sensation and function of muscle. The incomplete injury on the other hand, has still some nervous signals that are able to travel past the injured site of the spinal cord. Spinal cord injury is a devastating condition where no treatments beyond rehabilitation strategies have been discovered. However, studies have been conducted to locate alternatives on treating this kind of damage. One is with the use of cannabidiol, a compound found in cannabis.
Cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive component of cannabis (a plant commonly known as marijuana), has been found out that it induces neuroprotective effects in brain injuries. It directly affects a specific group of receptors in the brain which also helps in altering the progression of spinal cord injuries. To further support this statement, a group of experimenters once conducted an investigation to test whether this drug can truly help in improving injuries in the spinal cord. They have studied the recovery on motor functions of rats with spinal cord injury which are treated with this drug.
In the study, the subjects have undergone laminectomy, a surgical procedure that had helped the experimenters to expose the subjects’ spinal cord. Liquid nitrogen was then applied directly to their spinal cord creating a cryoinjury. One group of rats were immediately given 20mg/kg of this drug before the surgery, 3 hours after the surgical procedure, and daily for 6 consecutive days post operatively. Their locomotor function was routinely assessed by using the Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan evaluation test. The cryogenic lesion of rats’ spinal cord has resulted to significant impairment to their motor functions. Fortunately, rats treated with the said drug exhibited a higher locomotor score in Basso, Beattie, Bresnahan scale after a week. Another is that, the extent of tissue injury in the spinal cord was reduced significantly.
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The experimenters have concluded that cannabidiol improved the recovery of the locomotor functions of the rats and have reduced the progression of the spinal cord injury. They have suggested that this might also be of great help in the treatment of spinal cord lesions in humans.
Nevertheless, effective it might be to the subjects above; there are still many questions in relation to this possibility that remain unanswered.
Cannabidiol Research: Spinal Cord Injury
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