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Thread: Question regarding Baclofen & Marijuana

  1. #1

    Question regarding Baclofen & Marijuana

    Hello,

    I'm a 50yr. old male with a C-6 incomplete SCI from a bicycle accident
    three years ago. I take 120mg of Baclofen. (4x a day, 30mg).

    Two weeks ago I started having intense spasms in bed. My legs would get
    real straight with my thigh and calf muscles getting real stiff. To
    break the spasms I pull my legs towards my chest so they bend which
    works however the legs will shoot straight so I repeat the process.

    I stay busy around my house doing chores, drink plenty of water and use
    a FES exercise bike three times a week.

    My question is are these spasms being caused by taking Bacoflen and
    smoking marijuana?

    I have not smoked for three days and the spasms continue. Last week
    when I was smoking when I got into bed the spasms would not start for a
    few hours, this week I stopped smoking three days ago and the spasms
    start as soon as I lay down.

    I've smoked marijuana most of my life, maintained a professional career. After my accident in 2009 I did not smoke until February 2012. I have been smoking since February 2012, 1-2 times a day, not the super charged weed but mild grade.

    Thank you for your time and please feel free to ask any questions you
    may may have.

  2. #2
    Unlikely, as long as the MJ you are using is not tainted with another substance, since many people with SCI or MS already use MJ as a way to reduce their spasticity.

    I would recommend looking for another possible trigger for your increased spasticity...skin problems, ingrown toenails, a broken bone, constipation, UTI, urinary stones, etc. etc.

    The dose of baclofen you are on is very high. 80 mg. daily is the recommended maximum, and in my experience, increasing the dose beyond that rarely makes it any more effective. Have you tried other meds for spasticity, such as Zanaflex??

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    Thank you for taking the time to read my question and your answer/suggestions. I will look into switching to Zanaflex.

    Happy Holidays, a little early.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA
    Posts
    589
    I agree with the nurse. Unlike other meds, increasing the baclofen does not increase the positive effects, only the fatigue. MJ works better but since we are not in a state where it can be legally obtained, and there is therefore no quality control, it has different risks.

    We have not tried Zanaflex and are wondering if it is necessary to come off baclofen for a week (after tapering off) before trying it? Ry is concerned about that as nothing leads to is not being able to do so much that he can now. He has agreed to talk to his physiatrist in January when he sees her again.--eak
    Elizabeth A. Kephart, PHR
    mom/caregiver to Ryan-age 21
    Incomplete C-2 with TBI since 3/09

  5. #5
    No, you can start the Zanaflex before starting the baclofen taper. Many people take both meds at the same time.

    (KLD)

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA
    Posts
    589
    SCI-Nurse, Thanks so much. I will make sure he has the conversation with his doc in January. Since she seems to be the only physiatrist in Tidewater that treats adults, I know he cannot accelerate the appointment. She increased his baclofen last month from 20mg a day to 60. He has done much higher doses in the past (120 mg a day) and weaned himself down (with doc supervision to 20). Upping the dose not only made him tired, but also mean and irritable which makes every one else pay the price too.--eak
    Elizabeth A. Kephart, PHR
    mom/caregiver to Ryan-age 21
    Incomplete C-2 with TBI since 3/09

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    224
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
    No, you can start the Zanaflex before starting the baclofen taper. Many people take both meds at the same time.

    (KLD)
    I'm one taking both.

    I was also taking up to 120mg of Baclofen daily but it was losing efficiacy and my neuro wasn't happy at increasing the dose, so asked me to try Zanaflex. I had to ramp down the Baclofen (down to 60mg daily) while ramping up Zanaflex to his suggested 20mg daily, but I couldn't tolerate that amount (badly upset stomach, bowel issues) so settled on 16mg which has been ok in that respect.

    I can't in all honesty say I've noticed any improvement in taking both at those levels over my just taking 120mg of Baclofen, it's just a pita having to remember to take yet more pills for no discernable benefit as far as I'm concerned.

    Ian

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Location
    Eastern US
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    For myself and lots of other paras/quads, MJ has been a savior from the wrath of spasticity. Unfortunately its not cheap and in most states not legal...that is changing tho. It's just a matter of time until the vast majority of states will legalize for medicinal use and/or recreational use at which point the feds will HAVE to make up their minds. And they will for the billions in taxes they'll collect when they tax the hell out of it like cigs and gas. One thing I really HATE tho is when I see pro MJ lit. that groups medicinal and recreational in the same sentence. Medicinal FIRST! Lumping them together is going to make it take muuuch longer to be accepted. Enuff on that, I could go on for ever.
    I take 60mg of baclofen a day and smoke about 1/4 oz of MJ a week and my spasms are nearly nonexistent unless I have a UTI or other antagonist. When this happens I have Zanaflex to fall back on. Don't care for it really cuz it makes me feel tired/sleepy and a bit 'dopey' all the time. I stay faithful to my baclofen always...baclofen withdrawal syndrome isn't pretty, want nooo part of it. Ofc everyone is different but this is what works for me for the last 10+ years. If I were forced to choose only one antispasmodic to use, without a second thought it'd be MJ. As mentioned by the nurse, make sure there isn't something else making your spasms kick off...when mine do it's almost always a UTI or the beginnings of one. For me, not putting away lots of fluid or letting my legs/feet get too cold due to poor circ and chronic low BP doesn't help (Avg. 90/60) can also be the culprit. They are always always worse first thing in the morning. As soon as I awaken I take 20mg Bac (plus 2mg of zanaflex if they are really bad) and as soon as I get in my chair I have a couple of tokes and with about 3 mins. they stop...just like that. Keeping as active as your situation permits goes a looong way towards keeping them at bay. If I sit still for 45mins or longer (on the computer or something) w/o a toke they start up again. Hope you find a happy medium like I have...did I mention MJ is a great stress reliever as well? ;-)
    Last edited by Boompow; 12-06-2012 at 09:44 PM.
    C6/7 Complete

    14 years post injury

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by To walk again View Post
    Hello,

    I'm a 50yr. old male with a C-6 incomplete SCI from a bicycle accident
    three years ago. I take 120mg of Baclofen. (4x a day, 30mg).

    Two weeks ago I started having intense spasms in bed. My legs would get
    real straight with my thigh and calf muscles getting real stiff. To
    break the spasms I pull my legs towards my chest so they bend which
    works however the legs will shoot straight so I repeat the process.

    I stay busy around my house doing chores, drink plenty of water and use
    a FES exercise bike three times a week.

    My question is are these spasms being caused by taking Bacoflen and
    smoking marijuana?

    I have not smoked for three days and the spasms continue. Last week
    when I was smoking when I got into bed the spasms would not start for a
    few hours, this week I stopped smoking three days ago and the spasms
    start as soon as I lay down.

    I've smoked marijuana most of my life, maintained a professional career. After my accident in 2009 I did not smoke until February 2012. I have been smoking since February 2012, 1-2 times a day, not the super charged weed but mild grade.

    Thank you for your time and please feel free to ask any questions you
    may may have.
    I'm also a C-6 quad, i also take 120mg of Baclofen a day, and i often smoke weed before bed to help with spasms.

    Over the years for whatever reason, i'll go through say 1-4 day stretches where it feels like the Baclofen is barely working at all. Almost like i got a bad batch of Baclofen.

    Then pretty much without fail, things will go back to normal with my Baclofen working just fine. Why this happens to me though once every month or two i have no explanation, but i no longer worry about it because it always goes away.

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