Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a neurological disease that causes muscle weakness, disability and eventually death. ALS effects nerve cells in the brain and in the spinal cord.  Because it interferes with the brains ability to initiate and control muscle movement, this disease makes it extremely difficult for patients to freely move about and even perform simple tasks like speaking, swallowing and breathing.  Total paralyzation is an unfortunate possibility with ALS. Currently there is no cure for ALS and there is only one FDA approved drug available for ALS which can extend life by an average of 2 months. Symptoms of ALS include pain, spasticity, wasting, dyspnea, drooling, depression, dysautomia and neuronal oxidation.
Medical Cannabis and ALS
Cannabis has been applicable to the symptom management of ALS, including pain control, muscle relaxation, relaxation and widening of the airways, saliva reduction, appetite stimulation and sleep induction.  Additionally, cannabis has shown to be useful in direct treatment towards the disease, leading to slowed progression and increasing survival.  THC acts as a neuroprotector, effectively reducing cell and tissue damage while also reducing excessive stimulation/firing of neurons. Researchers at California Pacific Medical Center reported in 2004 that administering THC to mice with a genetic defect predisposing them to ALS delayed the onset of the disease and prolonged survival.  This same study showed that adding THC to cultures of spinal cord neurons significantly reduced damage from oxidative free radicals. CBN is another powerful cannabinoid that could possibly delay the onset of ALS-like symptoms.