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Medical Marijuana and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Medical Marijuana and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 12/06/2010 in Medical Marijuana Research

Many patients use medical marijuana as a treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in the states that include the disease as a qualifying condition (Arizona, California, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, New Jersey). ALS is a serious neurological disease that causes muscle weakness, disability and eventually death. It’s also often called Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the famous baseball player who died of it in 1941. According to the ALS Association, the mean survival rate for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in the US is three to five years.

ALS is the most common adult-onset motor neuron disorder, yet the therapeutic options for the disease remain limited.  Currently, there is no cure for ALS and there is no treatment available to reverse the disease’s effects on the body. There is only one FDA approved drug for ALS called riluzole, which can extend life by about 2 months on average. However, research shows that medical marijuana can be an effective way to alleviate some ALS symptoms, slow the progress of the disease and extend the lives of ALS patients.

For example, a 2005 study by the Department of Neurology at University of Washington, Seattle found that cannabinol (CBN), a non-psychotropic cannabinoid found in marijuana, actually delays the onset of symptoms of ALS.

And research recently conducted by the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco shows that select marijuana compounds, including THC, significantly slow the disease process and could extend life by three years or more. This same research group found that THC can also alleviate some ALS symptoms, like muscle spasms, in patients.

Patients suffering from ALS in Arizona, California, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico and New Jersey have the option of legally using medical marijuana to treat their condition. Talk to your doctor to learn more.

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