Myelomalacia and Medical Cannabis Treatment

Sarah Walker

by Sarah Walker

February 26, 2020 03:41 pm ET Estimated Read Time: 3 Minutes
Medically reviewed by Dr. Abraham Benavides Fact checked by Kymberly Drapcho


When the spinal cord begins to lose its volume due to softening tissue, myelomalacia occurs. Not as common as Myelopathy, which is an injury to the spinal cord that causes compression, little is known about the condition. “Myelomalacia is a somewhat rare condition that results in a softening of the spinal cord. Not many people are even aware of this condition, but it is extremely serious and can even be deadly,” reports the Advanced Spine & Pain Clinic of Minnesota.

With little known about the condition, surgery is the most notable treatment; however, medical cannabis has proven to assist those who suffer from spinal cord pain. In 2016 Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation reported that a clinical trial of patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) who use cannabis for therapeutic purposes (CTP) concluded “a relatively large percentage of individuals with chronic SCI appear to use CTP on a regular basis.”

Myelomalacia Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Ultimately, myelomalacia sets in due hemorrhaging in the spine that eventually causes the cord to soften. It can happen by way of an accident or natural spine degeneration. Treatment of myelomalacia can include surgery, which must be seriously considered before performing since “informed discussions with patients in terms of the risk versus the benefit of surgery,” must occur before a serious operation, according to a 2015 clinical trial reported by the journal Spine.   

How Myelomalacia Patients Could Benefit From Cannabinoids reported in 2019, “there have been several studies in the last 20 years in countries across the world looking at how THC and CBD, the two most popular properties of the cannabis plant, can help people living with paralysis,” also suggesting it could assist with myelomalacia. Additionally, the report details how medical cannabis has helped several spinal cord injuries and disorders, including muscle spasms, chronic pain, and insomnia.  

Medical cannabis conclusively alleviating symptoms of spinal cord injury or disease is evident in the Journal of Pain 2013 edition report, “Low Dose Vaporized Cannabis Significantly Improves Neuropathic Pain.” After studying 39 patients with neuropathic pain in the spinal cord and brain, found cannabis plant properties proved to ease the pain.

Viewed with this in mind, the present study adds to a growing body of literature supporting the use of cannabis for the treatment of neuropathic pain,” reports the study. “It provides additional evidence of the efficacy of vaporized cannabis as well as establishes low dose cannabis (1.29%) as having a favorable risk-benefit ratio.” Until more is known about myelomalacia, those who suffer from the rare condition can at least find ease in medical cannabis that proves to relieve spinal pain.

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