The condition ALS also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that destroys the motor neurons of the body, namely the neurons responsible for muscle movements of the body. Although the life expectancy of ALS patients is reduced to about 2-3 years according to the general diagnosis, various studies have shown that CBD can alleviate the symptoms of ALS.

This a neurological disease is characterized by muscle degeneration and progressive weakening of all muscles. Often, people can no longer move or use their hands, and talking becomes difficult. Personalities, such as Mao Tse-tung and British astrophysicist Steven Hawking, for example, have developed this disease.

Compared to multiple sclerosis, characterized by spastic paralysis of the muscles, paralysis of ALS occurs in most cases by muscle softening. For this reason, cannabis generally does not provide therapeutic benefit unless the disease is accompanied by muscle stiffness, spasticity, or locomotor pain. Other possible symptoms of ALS may be reduced with cannabis-based products such as breathing difficulties, excess salivary secretions, loss of appetite and sleep disturbances. The antispasmodic, analgesic, bronchodilator, appetite and salivation-reducing effects of cannabis can then be very useful. To some extent, natural cannabis products could also be applied to address the causes of ALS (Carter, 2001). It seems that the overproduction of glutamate neurotransmitters and the secretion of free radicals play a significant role in ALS-related degeneration of the nerves. Cannabis offers inhibitory effects on the production of these two substances.

Until recently, ALS was unknown to millions of people around the world. However, the ice bucket challenge on Facebook has been able to raise the awareness of millions of people about the existence of this disease. People and even celebrities from all over the world poured themselves a bucket of iced water over their heads, to symbolize the feeling felt every day by patients with ALS when their nerve endings go out. This challenge has turned into a right viral campaign, one of the most important in Facebook’s history. This campaign has raised more than $ 100 million.

Cannabis therapy could reduce symptoms and prolong survival in patients diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to a scientific journal published online last week by the American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine.

Scientists have reviewed preclinical and anecdotal evidence that marijuana seems to treat the symptoms of ALS as well as moderate the course of the disease. The research states: ‘Preclinical data indicate that cannabis has dreadful anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects. Cannabis also has the characteristics applicable to the management of the symptoms of ALS, including stimulation, and the induction of sleep. From a pharmacological perspective, cannabis is remarkably safe with indeed no possibility of overdose or frankly a physical addiction. There is a valid, logical, scientifically sound rationale for supporting the use of cannabis in the pharmacological management of ALS. ”

Based on the currently available scientific evidence, it is reasonable to think that cannabis could significantly delay the progression of ALS, potentially extending the life span and substantially reducing the overall burden of the disease. There is a surprising amount of preclinical and clinical evidence to warrant the initiation of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, multi-center clinical trial of cannabis as a disease-modifying component in ALS.

Writing in the March 2004 issue of the journal ‘Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis & Other Motor Neuron Disorders’, scientists at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco reported that the administration of THC both before and after the beginning of ALS symptoms experienced disease progression and prolonged survival in animals compared with untreated controls. To date, however, no clinical trial has estimated the use of marijuana or any of the cannabinoids of the plant on patients diagnosed with ALS.

ALS is a fatal, progressive, neurodegenerative disease that is characterized by the selective loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord, brainstem, and motor cortex. An estimated 30,000 Americans live with ALS, which often presents itself spontaneously and otherwise, affects healthy adults. An estimated 70 to 80 percent of patients with ALS die within 3 to 5 years after the onset of symptoms of the disease.

The Symptoms of ALS

Worldwide, millions of people have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and live with these symptoms every day:
  • Progressive muscle weakness
  • Loss of speech coherence
  • Abnormal fatigue of arms and legs
  • Cramps and muscle spasms
  • Uncontrollable episodes of laughing or crying
Thanks to the therapeutic effects of medicinal cannabis, CBD or cannabidiol can relieve some symptoms of ALS:
  • Muscle relaxation: CBD helps to relax the body and reduce tension and stiffness supported by the muscles.
  • Bronchodilation: Cannabidiol opens the airways, making it easier for people with ALS to breathe.
  • Reduction of saliva: As ALS develops, patients usually have difficulty swallowing. Such problems therefore increase salivation in the mouth. In this context, the consumption of CBD helps the salivary glands to reduce saliva production.
  • Stimulation of appetite: As well as THC, CBD stimulates appetite.
  • Sleep aid: CBD can make the patient feel drowsy, which is good for those with muscle aches because CBD helps them stay asleep longer.
Medical Cannabis is Part of the ALS Treatment Plan:

ALS treatment is centered on managing the symptoms that come with the issue such as muscle spasms, pain, loss of appetite, and depression. The one medicine that the FDA has permitted for this disorder lengthens the time it takes before respiratory muscle failure and has provided desirable outcomes for some patients.For the moment, researchers at Pennsylvania’s Temple University and University of Washington Medical Center have reviewed the information on medical cannabis and its use for ALS management. Though they are yet to carry out any clinical trials, the remarkable effects and benefits of the drug have been noted.

The Researchers Wrote: “Preclinical data indicate that cannabis has powerful anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects. Cannabis also has properties applicable to symptom management of ALS, including muscle relaxation, analgesia, bronchodilation, appetite stimulation, saliva reduction, and sleep induction. From a pharmacological viewpoint, cannabis is extraordinarily safe with convincingly no possibility of overdose or physical addiction. There is a valid, coherent, scientifically grounded basis to maintain the use of cannabis in the pharmacological management and treatment of ALS.”

 

REFERENCES

1. Boston Medical Marijuana for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). inhalemd.com/boston-medical-marijuana-als-lou-gehrigs-disease

2. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Cannabinoids. projectcbd.org/amyotrophic-lateral-sclerosis-als-and-cannabinoids

3. Study Reviews Evidence Supporting Use of Cannabinoids to Treat ALS. alsnewstoday.com/2017/02/28/can-cannabinoids-be-a-potential-therapeutic-tool-in-amyotrophic-lateral-sclerosis

4. Treating Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Symptoms with Medical Marijuana. medicaljane.com/2014/11/12/amyotrophic-lateral-sclerosis-als-and-medical-marijuana

5. Cannabis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: hypothetical and practical applications, and a call for clinical trials. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/%2020439484

6. ALS (Lou Gehrig’s) Medical Marijuana and ALS. cannamd.com/conditions/als-lou-gehrigs

7. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Fact Sheet. ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Amyotrophic-Lateral-Sclerosis-ALS-Fact-Sheet

To read more about ALS follow: https://www.news.wsu.edu/tag/als/

 


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