The wording in this heading is vital: medical cannabis can treat ALS. Note that nowhere did we mention “cure” as there is no known cure for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). But using medical cannabis to treat ALS can be done. It can lengthen life spans and provide comfort from symptoms that can be debilitating. These symptoms include wasting away while muscles deteriorate, weakness, pain, drooling, spasticity and failure to breathe.
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is the most common disease involving deterioration of the motor neuron system. A motor neuron is a neuron whose cell body is located in the motor cortex, brainstem or the spinal cord. They directly or indirectly control muscles and glands. ALS is the destruction of this control of muscles and movement of the arms, legs, mouth, and respiratory system. Patients are usually given 3 to 5 years to live, but some do live 10 years or longer. Medical cannabis can treat ALS, ensuring a better quality life and a longer life. There are stories of people with ALS who have lived on for 25 years thanks to medical cannabis treatment!
Doctors remain unsure of the causes of ALS but do know that environmental and genetic factors play a role. Researchers are investigating a number of possible causes such as exposure to toxins, viruses, physical trauma, diet, and behavioral and occupational factors. Men seem to get ALS more than women, between the ages of 55 and 75. The new research into medical cannabis to treat ALS opens doors for patients who have nothing to lose but everything to gain – more comfort and maybe a few more years to live.
While cannabis research is mostly done in labs and on animals, evidence is pointing to cannabinoids being a great treatment for people with motor neuron diseases like ALS. The cannabis plant contains more than 500 natural compounds, 70 of which are cannabinoids. The most commonly used cannabinoids are the non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) and the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). While many patients avoid THC because it has side effects (that high or euphoric feeling), it can be blended with CBD to make a successful medical cannabis treatment for ALS. Studies show how CBD can decrease inflammation, pain, and toxins in the brain and body, protecting the motor neuron system in some ways. Cannabinoids can slow down the progression of ALS, bringing comfort to those who suffer.
Cannabinoids could be neuroprotective substances in ALS. Cannabinoids tend to bind to CB receptors in the endocannabinoid system and assist the body to maintain a balanced state of immunity. Medical cannabis has shown to result in extended survival of neuron cells, later onset of the disease, and slower development of the disease. Cannabis can treat ALS symptoms such as extreme lethargy, weak muscles, respiratory control, excessive saliva, lack of appetite and insomnia. Imagine the changes in the lives of ALS patients if these symptoms could be treated? And is is happening – there is anecdotal evidence for the benefits of taking medical cannabis to treat ALS.
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