Conclusions / Future Directions

Cannabis in SCI is a developing field of research but few methodologically robust studies with large groups have been conducted. Studies done to date show moderate evidence that cannabis may help against pain in SCI and conflicting evidence that it helps with spasticity. Though meta-analyses have been conducted, the findings must be interpreted cautiously, as combining studies of lower quality to do not strengthen the quality of the research (Allan et al. 2018). There are many side effects that can arise when taking cannabis, the most common of which are dry mouth, fatigue, and hunger; most side effects are considered mild to moderate, though some studies show substantial dropouts due to side effects. Further studies are needed on cannabis in SCI to have more definitive evidence about the potential treatment effects for pain and spasticity, as well as other symptoms. As more patients are enrolled in higher quality trials with larger groups, we would hope to gain more information on the effectiveness and the side effects on cannabis in SCI. Clinicians and health care professionals would particularly benefit from clinical trials that clarify what dosage and method of administration of cannabis products are beneficial for particular conditions. Lastly, studies that are longer in duration are necessary to study benefits and side effects of cannabis over time to more clearly understand its true potential.