Medical Marijuana and ALS – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a complicated disease that kills off the neurons that control voluntary muscles and their tissues. Generally, a voluntary muscle is the type you can move at your own volition. This disease is also known as the Motor Neuron Disease. The Centers for Disease Control says that 15 cases of ALS are discovered every day in the US, and 6,000 cases are diagnosed each year.
Overall, it is believed that 20,000 Americans suffer from this disease. The numbers here are pretty low, but it is important to take into consideration the management costs and effect on quality of life for patients. Stephen Hawking, the renowned English Physicist, is one of the highest profile people living with ALS, and has lived with the disease for 5 decades.
What causes ALS?
It is reported that over 95% of the causes of this disease are totally unknown. However, doctors agree that it does have a genetic lean, but this is manifested in very few of the patients. The disease starts with simple changes such as twitching, weak limbs, slurred speech or even numbness. When the second phase sets in, the patient has a problem carrying out voluntary body functions such as breathing, eating and moving. This is a fatal disease and has no known cure now, so focus is placed on making sure that the patient gets the aid they need to live for as long as possible.
ALS and Medical Marijuana
In February 2017, the Neural Regeneration Research journal published a review on the progress being made in establishing a link between cannabis-derived chemicals and ALS. Generally, cannabinoids work by binding to the CBI and CB2 receptors in the spleen, tonsils and white blood cells.
The study in this case showed that if CB2 function is altered by cannabinoids present in medical marijuana, then the rate of progression of the disease is significantly affected. The study also indicates that this process has been proven to have the potential to scale back on the inflammatory and oxidative damage caused by ALS.
It gets better!
In this study, 10% of the test group admitted having used cannabis for ALS in the past. Interestingly, everyone in this group was revealed to have experienced a moderate amount of relief from drooling, pain, depression and loss of appetite. The researchers postulated that cannabis could also help patients manage spasticity.
The American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine has its take too. The publication put out a study that looked at medical cannabis as one of the life-prolonging approaches to ALS. The study also looked at the potential of the drug to alleviate many of the symptoms of the disease. It then published a table that looked at the specific symptoms and how medical marijuana can bring about relief in each instance. It is an impressively broad list.
It was estimated that 2,604,079 Americans used medical marijuana in 2016. As these numbers keep soaring, the drug will cement its importance in dealing with a wide range of diseases, key among them being Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, as widely reported by medical journals.
Care Wellness Center now has a medical marijuana doctor on staff serving the residents of Margate, Coconut Creek and Coral Springs. Call us at 954-586-8088 to schedule an appointment!