Cannabis has been used as a healing herb for many different ailments. Pain, inflammation, nausea, and insomnia are all things that cannabis can relieve – but it doesn’t stop there. More and more research continues to come out showing this plant’s amazing ability to treat a myriad of human conditions. One such condition which could be added to the list is ALS.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a fatal condition. Patients experience a degradation in their nervous system and loss of muscle control. They lose the ability to control their face, neck, and tongue. Unfortunately, this disease always claims the lives of those who suffer from it. Life expectancy for someone with ALS is between 3-5 years with 10 years being the longest survival rate.
In 2004, researchers at California Pacific Medical Center injected mice with a genetic predisposition to ALS with THC. They found the treatment to delay the onset of the disease and increased life expectancy. Another study from 2006 found that THC greatly increased life expectancy for mice with this same genetic disposition stating,”these results show that cannabinoids have significant neuroprotective effects in this model of ALS…”.
No human trials have been conducted yet, but the research on mice has shown very promising results. There was, however, a 2004 survey which found that patients with ALS who used cannabis experienced reduced symptoms and increased life expectancy. ALS Worldwide, an organization whose goal is to ease the suffering of ALS patients, now has cannabis listed as a treatment option for ALS on their website.
The University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle and Temple University in Pennsylvania reviewed clinical and anecdotal evidence regarding ALS. They found that “results indicate that cannabis may be moderately effective at reducing symptoms of appetite loss, depression, pain, spasticity, and drooling.” They also found that cannabis did look to slow the progression of the disease.
About 20,000 people around the world suffer from ALS. In Canada alone, 2-3 people die every single day from this condition. Thus far, there’s only one pharmaceutical drug that can treat ALS leaving patients with few options for relief. Cannabis could supply an addiction-free, no-overdose, all-natural therapy for those living with the disease. That and its ability to prolong life expectancy are some compelling reasons for continued research into the area. Hopefully, we can come to understand exactly what type of cannabis therapy would be the most beneficial to the ALS community.
Shasta Nelson is a California Native and a cannabis connoisseur. She's been involved in the industry at every level since she was a teenager. Currently she provides content for Roottie, DOPE Magazine, and Terpenes and Testing. She's also a creative writer, with a graphic novel underway.