Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
(aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
Medical cannabis, also known as medical marijuana, has been studied for its potential benefits in managing various medical conditions, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). While research in this area is still limited, some benefits of using medical cannabis for ALS include:
- Pain relief: ALS often leads to chronic and severe pain, which can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. Medical cannabis may help alleviate pain by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates pain perception. Cannabinoids found in cannabis, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), may have analgesic properties.
- Muscle spasticity and stiffness reduction: ALS patients commonly experience muscle spasticity and stiffness, which can cause discomfort and hinder mobility. Medical cannabis, particularly strains high in CBD, has shown promise in reducing muscle spasticity and promoting muscle relaxation, potentially improving overall comfort and mobility.
- Appetite stimulation: ALS can lead to weight loss and malnutrition due to difficulties in swallowing and muscle weakness. Medical cannabis is known to stimulate appetite, which may help ALS patients maintain a healthy weight and obtain proper nutrition.
- Sleep improvement: Sleep disturbances are common in ALS, and insufficient rest can exacerbate symptoms and decrease overall well-being. Medical cannabis, particularly strains high in CBD, has shown potential in improving sleep quality and reducing insomnia in certain individuals.
- Anxiety and depression management: ALS can lead to emotional distress, including anxiety and depression, due to the progressive nature of the disease and its impact on daily functioning. Some studies suggest that medical cannabis, particularly strains high in CBD, may have anxiolytic and antidepressant effects, potentially helping to alleviate these emotional symptoms.
- Neuroprotective effects: While further research is needed, some studies suggest that cannabinoids found in medical cannabis may have neuroprotective properties. This means that they could potentially slow down the progression of neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS, by protecting neurons from damage and inflammation.