Understanding how people with spinal cord injury use cannabis to manage pain



One of the most common and debilitating secondary complications of spinal cord injury is severe and chronic pain. With the use of cannabis increasingly being debated as a legitimate medical management option for chronic pain, it is critical that clinicians, researchers, and people who may choose to use cannabis have an informed understanding of the benefits, and indeed the risks, of using cannabis to manage pain for people living with SCI. The aim of this study is to better understand why people might spinal injury might choose to use cannabis to manage their pain.


This study will use face-to-face semi structured interviews to explore the methods by which people use cannabis (including frequency and amount) and perspectives regarding the potential benefits and limitations of using cannabis to treat chronic pain. Interview data will be subject to thematic analysis.

Status of Research

Data collection complete  -Analysis complete.
Access the Information Sheet HERE
Access the Consent Form HERE



Newshub report 27 Oct 2019, Spinal patients turning to cannabis for pain relief, ditching traditional medication – study

Poster presented at ANZCoS 2019

Read the paper here HERE

Key Contact

Dr Johnny Bourke,
Burwood Academy
Phone:  +64 3 383 6871
Mobile:  +64 21 1125596
Email: johnny.bourke@burwood.org.nz

Researchers and Collaborators

Dr Jo Nunnerley,
Burwood Academy
Phone:  +64 3 383 6871
Mobile:  +64 21 1872651
Email: jo.nunnerley@burwood.org.nz

Dr Rachelle Martin,
Burwood Academy
Phone:  +64 3 383 6871
Mobile:  +64 21 2233362
Email: rachelle.martin@burwood.org.nz

Dr Bronwyn Thompson,
University of Otago.

Dr Rick Acland,
Burwood Academy Board.