I would like to quickly explain some recent outcomes I have seen with medical marijuana in conjunction with treatment of spine.

A female (late 50s) approached our clinic with significant degeneration in the lumbar spine. This has been ongoing for many years but has been progressive in nature and now causing her pain that prevents her from doing activities, including work.

I began working with her with the offloading strategies to encourage disc height gains I often employ with cases like this. In conjunction, her medical doctor prescribed medical marijuana for her back pain.

4 weeks later, the patient is now able to return to work and is feeling much better without the spasms she was experiencing.

The patient has explained that she takes the medical marijuana before bed and helps her sleep.

The reason why I bring this up is I believe the mechanism related to her improved outcomes related to the medical marijuana has to do with improved sleep which may allow better hydraulic recuperation of the intervertebral discs. If medical marijuana improves the patient’s sleep, I believe that it is very likely that she is experiencing more quality and quantity of REM sleep.  I understand that we do not have any data on this mechanism but it is something worth while considering for spine related problems. More research should be done.

I have published a topic on rem sleep atonia in the Journal of Circadian Rhythms and believe if we can encourage better sleep, we will likely encourage improvement of intervertebral disc filling and regeneration.