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Attitudes toward and knowledge of medical cannabis among individuals with spinal cord injury

Spinal Cord Series and Casesvolume 5, Article number: 6 (2019) | Download Citation

Abstract

Study design

An observational study based on an online survey addressing attitudes toward and knowledge of cannabis among people living with spinal cord injury (SCI).

Objectives

To characterize attitudes toward and knowledge of cannabis among a nationwide sample (n = 353) of people with SCI. To determine if knowledge and attitudes are influenced by socio-demographic and injury-specific factors.

Setting

Three academic medical centers in the US.

Methods

Distribution of an online survey through email lists maintained by 3 SCI centers.

Results

Participants largely believed that cannabis use is safe, has potential therapeutic benefits, and ought to be legal. Substantial pluralities felt that cannabis use is attended by moderate to great health-related and social risks (15.5% and 25.5%, respectively), and a majority (55.9%) felt it is attended by moderate to great legal risks. Subjects’ duration of injury, employment status, and personal history of controlled or illicit substances influenced certain beliefs and attitudes.

Conclusions

This study is the first to assess beliefs about and attitudes toward cannabis use among a nationwide sample of people with SCI. While limited, it provides a roadmap for future research. It also offers medical providers an initial understanding of which factors may encourage or dissuade their patients with SCI from seeking medical cannabis treatment.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

    • Michael Stillman
    • , Michael Mallow
    • , Tracy Ransom
    • , Kristin Gustafson
    •  & Daniel Graves
  2. Department of Internal Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

    • Michael Stillman
  3. Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Rehabilitation Sciences, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

    • Alison Bell

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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Michael Stillman.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41394-019-0151-6