Cannabis Cannabinoids Medically Benefit ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Sufferers
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 11/17/2016 in Medical Marijuana Studies
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is most often known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is a degenerative neurological disorder that causes muscle weakness and degeneration. Eventually, complete paralysis occurs. Often, the muscles controlling breathing are affected and the person with ALS finds it impossible to breathe. In most cases, an individual with ALS does not live longer than five years. There are a few rare exceptions. Stephen Hawking has lived over three decades with ALS, but he is among the mere five percent who have made it past the twenty-year mark. In addition to the muscle deterioration, ALS suffers experience pain, spasticity, drooling, depression and neuronal oxidation among other symptoms. Medical marijuana has been shown to help relieve some of the symptoms of ALS and, in some cases, even slow down the deterioration involved.
Scientists are discovering more every day about what causes disorders such as ALS. It is believed that treatment in part consists of both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant medications as well as several others. Medical cannabis contains elements of several of the treatment medications, which would allow patients to eliminate many of the pills they take daily and instead rely on only one main medication. What is needed to see just how much medication could be reduced or eliminated requires more widespread research but the early findings are good, especially since some of the medical marijuana benefits include treatment of depression, nausea and other widespread symptoms of ALS.
A second study involved mice with the equivalents of mouse ALS. These mice were administered CBN for a period of up to twelve weeks. The findings were promising. The CBN delayed the onset of symptoms an average of two weeks in the mice and yet it did not shorten their lives. This study suggests it would be beneficial to allow research with human subjects with the beginning symptoms of ALS to see if this delay of progression is also noted. Increasing our understanding of just how medical marijuana works in these sufferers would benefit all those seeking a medical cannabis card for ALS.
In the Meantime
While there still needs to be further research into just how effective medical marijuana is in slowing down the progression of ALS, there are some things we already know to be beneficial for ALS patients. Cannabis has anti-inflammatory properties and is a natural pain reliever, which helps reduce much of the pain experienced by these patients. This is also true of the muscle relaxing properties of the plant. The neuroprotective antioxidant effects of the cannabis aid in helping guard the muscles from attack from the disease. Marijuana also increases appetite, which aids in helping those with nausea get enough nutrition to help in the healing process. Finally, the mood elevating components allow for a more positive mental state, which has been proven to be a huge factor in the quality of life of those with ALS. Many of the symptoms of ALS mimic those of MS, which has more research behind it in regards to medical cannabis. Looking to those studies can give scientists a greater idea of where to focus their attention once the go-ahead for research is given.
Working Toward Understanding
One of the greatest roadblocks to the recognition of marijuana as a medicine is the fact that many studies have been small or otherwise limited in scale. Marijuana Doctors has set out to change that. For the first time, a nationwide study is being conducted. Patients all over the country, as well as numerous doctors who prescribe marijuana for medicinal purposes, have signed up to be part of this study. In addition to gathering the necessary data to get this important medicine recognized, participants have access to a symptom tracker that can help them keep track of their symptoms and even print out the results to take to their doctor. If you hold a state-issued medical marijuana card you can join this study to allow your data to be collectively used to prove to the U.S. government that marijuana is medicine, and because of its medical potential, it should be federally descheduled to allow medical access to patients who qualify.