Study: Cannabinoid Spray Helps Calm Spasticity in Spinal Cord Injuries

New research indicates Sativex – a cannabis-derived pharmaceutical – can mitigate spasticity associated with prolonged spinal cord injury.

Conducted by a group of Spanish doctors from the Hospital Universitario y Politécnico, La Fe, Valencia, Spain, a six-month study revealed that Sativex (a cannabinoid-based spray) may provide relief where Western medicine has failed.

Sativex Study

A comparatively small observational study, 15 patients participated in the “orally administered drug delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-cannabidiol” research. The study found that patients diagnosed with chronic spinal cord injuries with refractory spasticity benefited from the cannabis-based medicine.  

According to the abstract published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the analyzed variables were measured by utilizing four different scales: “modified Ashworth scale, Penn spasm frequency scale, Numeric Rating Scale, and Visual Analogue Scale for pain. Additionally, clinical variables and side effects of the treatment were also collected.”

Sativex Research Results

“Fifteen patients took part in this study. A significant improvement was observed on three of the scales recorded: modified Ashworth scale (z = -2.97; p = 0.003), Penn spasm frequency scale (z = -2.76; p = 0.006) and Numeric Rating Scale (z = -3.21; p = 0.001). The use of the drug was withdrawn in two patients due to side effects.”

While the study concluded Sativex benefits those suffering from spasticity associated with chronic spinal cord injury, and for whom therapeutic measures have been inadequate, it also noted that “further studies need to be conducted before the use of this drug can be recommended.”

Manufactured and distributed by GW Pharmaceuticals, the cannabinoid-based spray was found to be effectual in a 2014 study at quelling spasticity suffered by multiple sclerosis patients.


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