ALS (LOU GEHRIG’S)

Medical marijuana can offer relief for patients of ALS.  ALS is a debilitating neurological disease that causes progressive paralysis.

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WHAT IS ALS?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a rare, progressive, neurological disease in which the motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord deteriorate and die. The associated voluntary muscles waste away, causing symptoms such as muscle spasms, cramps, rigidity, pain, inflammation, and paralysis.  ALS often appears suddenly in otherwise healthy adults between the ages of 40 and 70.  There is currently no known cure.  The current approach to treatment of ALS is focused on improving the symptoms of the disease and improving quality of life.

ALS SYMPTOMS

Early symptoms of ALS depend on which muscles are being affected. The start of ALS may be so subtle that the symptoms are overlooked. The earliest symptoms of ALS are muscle weakness or muscle atrophy. 

Common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle weakness

  • Pain

  • Speech impairments

  • Stiff muscles

  • Tripping, dropping things, clumsiness

  • Wasting muscles

HOW MEDICAL MARIJUANA HELPS ALS PATIENTS

Clinical evidence suggests marijuana-based therapies may work better than current FDA-approved medication in treating ALS; research suggests marijuana’s antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties could slow disease progression.

Cannabis has also demonstrated efficacy in treating the following ALS symptoms:

  • Excessive salivation

  • Involuntary movements

  • Muscle spasms

  • Pain

  • Seizures

According to a 2010 study published by Rehabilitation Medicine and Palliative Care:

“Ideally, a multi-drug regimen, including glutamate antagonists, antioxidants, a centrally acting anti-inflammatory agent, microglial cell modulators (including tumor necrosis factor alpha [TNF-a] inhibitors), an antiapoptotic agent, one or more neurotrophic growth factors, and a mitochondrial function-enhancing agent would be required to comprehensively address the known pathophysiology of ALS.  Remarkably, cannabis appears to have activity in all of those areas. Preclinical data indicate that cannabis has powerful antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects.”

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