ALS and Medical Cannabis
Cannabis has long been hailed for its strong protective qualities for the nerves and brain. It also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and significant antioxidant effects too. Now medical cannabis is being tested as a treatment for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Patients with this disease usually do not have much time before their breathing muscles fail (respiratory control). And there is no known cure for ALS. But medical cannabis oil can relieve many uncomfortable symptoms associated with ALS. Medical cannabis can improve appetite, reduce pain, relieve depression, improve sleep and reduce muscle tremors. Using the correct form of medical cannabis also ensures there are no side effects or forms of addiction to this natural therapy.
How Do Cannabinoids Affect ALS?
Getting ALS is so serious that it is worth trying every form of medication available. So why not medical cannabis which is natural and effective with no side effects? Some ALS patients battle to control their symptoms with other pharmaceutical medications. Meanwhile, ongoing research into the endocannabinoid system reveals the healing powers of cannabis cannabinoids. Medical professionals like to listen to the stories of ALS patients who have used medical cannabis as a treatment. Evidence is scarce about the effectiveness of this natural therapy. When most ALS patients are diagnosed, they don’t live more than 5 years. But there is a story about a woman who lived another 25 years with ALS. She attributes her use of cannabis to her longevity. She too it to relieve ALS symptoms: appetite loss, pain, depression, excess saliva, spasticity and insomnia.
What Exactly is ALS?
ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease and is caused by the annihilation of motor neurons. This leads to wasting or shrinking of muscles and loss of muscle control. This is because motor neurons, nervous system cells, can no longer send messages to your muscles to work. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease which seems to start in the legs and arms. It eventually causes difficulties in swallowing, chewing and breathing. Sometimes patients start to lose cognitive functioning when they can no longer communicate. This leads to dementia or personality disorders.
Medical Cannabis and ALS
Anecdotal evidence shows that patients with ALS will jump at the chance to reduce their symptoms therefore increase their lifespan. Enjoying a better quality of life will bring the sparkle back into the eyes of an ALS sufferer. Some studies show that medical cannabis has such a beneficial impact on ALS. It can actually slow the disease down and increase the survival time for patients. Cannabis consists of two main cannabinoids, tetryhydrocannabinol (THC) which is psychoactive, and cannabidiol (CBD) which is non-psychoactive. Using THC for ALS reveals decreased oxidative damage (damage by free radicals to cells and tissues), as well as decreased excitotoxicity (where neurons are so over-stimulated they damage cells and tissues).
Researchers found that using synthetic cannabinoids could stop the progression of ALS symptoms. It follows that if medical cannabis can slow down the development of ALS, it would lengthen the life of the ALS sufferer. This would decrease the heavy psychological and physical burden of the disease. Many ALS sufferers get depressed but taking medical cannabis alleviates these feelings. ALS patients can also choose to take medical cannabis alongside their other medication if they are unsure of taking it as their only therapy.