Cannabinoids to treat spinal cord injury.
Arevalo-Martin A1, Molina-Holgado E2, Garcia-Ovejero D3
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating condition for which there is no standard treatment beyond rehabilitation strategies. In this review, we discuss the current knowledge on the use of cannabinoids to treat this condition. The endocannabinoid system is expressed in the intact spinal cord, and it is dramatically upregulated after lesion. Endogenous activation of this system counteracts secondary damage following SCI, and treatments with endocannabinoids or synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists promote a better functional outcome in experimental models. The use of cannabinoids in SCI is a new research field and many questions remain open. Here, we discuss caveats and suggest some future directions that may help to understand the role of cannabinoids in SCI and how to take advantage of this system to regain functions after spinal cord damage.
Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.