Is Medical Marijuana the Solution for ALS?

September 09, 2014 | Jahan Marcu

Ice_Bucket_Meme.jpgThe ice bucket challenge has raised a huge amount of awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) -- popularly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.  With the help of celebrities, politicians and thousands of participants from across the country, the ALS Association raised $94.3 million dollars for research.  However, as awareness burgeons, many remain unaware of the significant benefits that medical marijuana has in treating ALS. 

The endocannabinoid system helps us to “Eat, sleep, relax, forget, and protect.” This article is about how the endocannabinoid system can be stimulated to “protect” motor-neurons, the nerves (brain-type cells) that control body movement (Abood 2001).

Lou Gehrig’s disease (or ALS, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a fatal disease that affects degrades the neurons in the body that control movement. The hallmarks of ALS is a rapid progression of weakness and paralysis, death occurs within 3-5 years in most cases, and brain function remains intact (Rowland 2001) . The exact causes or pathogenesis of ALS is poorly understood, and while the pharmaceutical industry has made treatment options available, none of these treatments prevent disease progression and death. 

The human clinical studies on THC-only Cannabis are limited by sample size. Research regulations for clinical use of THC also make it difficult to recruit ALS patients in a timely manner for a controlled study. Despite these significant obstacles, two human studies have been conducted. One of the studies, was a pilot study investigating the safety and tolerability of THC in ALS patients (Gelinas/ABood 2002). This clinical study confirmed symptomatic benefits for appetite, insomnia, and spasticity. The seconds research study was conducted as an anonymous survey in 80 countries, 131 surveys were completed, and the mean age 54. Participants reported that Cannabis helped provide relief from drooling, speech and swallowing difficulty, appetite loss, weakness, shortness of breath, spasticity, depression, and pain (Amtmann D 2004). In animals with ALS, THC administered either before or after the onset of the disease delayed motor impairment and prolonged survival. Furthermore, THC potently reduced oxidative and excite-toxic damage in spinal cord cultures in vitro (Raman et al. 2004). The protective effects of cannabinoids and their anti-spastic effects in MS are well known (Carter 2001). Furthermore, cannabinoid receptors are up-regulated in human tissue during disease progression, making them an abundant target for treatment.

The benefits of Cannabis to treat ALS is prevalent in anecdotal evidence, but basic laboratory and animal research suggests that THC may be the first (and only?) naturally occurring, non-toxic, anti-oxidant to slow the progressions of the disease significantly. In addition to delaying the progression of disease and increasing life-span cannabinoids treatments may offer other benefits include sleep induction, appetite stimulation, saliva reduction, bronchodilation, analgesia, and muscle relaxation (Carter).

ECS_neuron_slide_11.gif ECS_retrograde_Slide_13.gif ECS_signaling_Slide_12.gif

 


Citations

Abood ME, Rizvi G, Sallapudi N, McAllister SD. 2001. Activation of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor protects cultured mouse spinal neurons against excitotoxicity. Neurosci Lett 309:197-201.

Amtmann D, Weydt P, Johnson KL, Jensen MP, Carter GT. 2004. Survey of cannabis use in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Am J Hosp Palliat Care 21:95-104.

Carter GT, Rosen BS. 2001. Marijuana in the management of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Am J Hosp Palliat Care 18:264-70.

Gelinas DM, R; Abood, M. 2002. A pilot study of safety and tolerability of Delta 9-THC (Marinol) treatment for ALS. Amyotrophic lateral Sclerosis and Motor neuron Disorders 3.

Raman C, McAllister SD, Rizvi G, Patel SG, Moore DH, Abood ME. 2004. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: delayed disease progression in mice by treatment with a cannabinoid. Amyotroph Lateral Scler Other Motor Neuron Disord 5:33-9.

Rowland LP, Shneider NA. 2001. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. N Engl J Med 344:1688-700.


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  • Clements Price

    commented 2019-02-12 17:56:09 -0500
    My Wife was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) when she was 72 years old 4 years ago. The Rilutek (riluzole) did very little to help her. The medical team did even less. Her decline was rapid and devastating. Her arms weakened first, then her hands and legs. Last year, a family friend told us about Organic Herbal clinic and their successful ALS TREATMENT, we visited their website www. organicherbalclinic. com and ordered their ALS Formula, i am happy to report the treatment effectively treated and reversed her Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), most of the symptoms stopped, she is able to walk and eat well, sleep well and exercise regularly., she is pretty active now and her attitude is extremely positive.

  • Donald Lisa

    commented 2019-02-05 05:45:29 -0500
    Hello I want to share with you a great source about ALS cure as usual the only research that the ’scientists’ will do involves increasing big pharma profits. They will never cure anything as they can make more money by keeping people reliant on drugs, and they will do everything possible to discourage others from trying other medications like herbal medicine but thank God i never listen to them despite all they did to convince me that my Husband ALS has no cure when he (my Husband) was diagnosed 2 year ago. Am happy to inform you all that my Husband is free and completely cured of ALS after using Dr James ALS herbal formula, the formula works like magic. Always learn to follow your heart refuse to be discouraged there is no problem without a solution. My Husband is back on his feet stronger than before thanks allot James. contact James for his ALS herbal formula via jamesherbalformula@gmail.com you can call him or chat live with him on whatsapp via +2349057856543

  • Louise Johnson

    commented 2017-03-20 00:19:09 -0400
    My ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) symptoms started out with a “foot drop” on my left foot. From there my left leg lost all muscle tone and then the entire left leg muscles were gone. Also my fingers and thumbs “contract” at times. Left arm was losing muscle tone too.I was given medications to slow down the progress of the disease,i resorted to a wheelchair (Perbombil C300).This was till my husband’s sister introduced my husband to a herbal clinic in Johannesburg who sell herbal medicines to cure all kind of diseases including ALS, we contacted the herbal clinic via their email and purchased the ALS herbal remedy, we received the herbal medicine via courier within 7 days and commenced usage as prescribed, its totally unexplainable how all the symptoms gradually dissapeared, my speech has greatly improved and am able to walk a distance now with no help, contact this herbal clinic via their email healthherbalclinic@gmail.com Or website www.healthherbalclinic.weebly.com

  • Becky Glass

    commented 2017-02-05 19:07:41 -0500
    I was diagnosed of Parkinson’s disease following a neurological examination and other series of tests, my symptoms first appeared in February 2014 tremor in both limbs, rigid muscle, impaired posture.. all medication prescribed were not working and i sadly took off from my job, being a single mother with two kids it was almost a hopeless situation. In September 2016, i read about Health herbal clinic in a health forum, this herbal clinic have successful parkinson’s disease herbal treatment and treatment for other list of terminal diseases, i contacted the herbal clinic via their website and purchased the parkinson’s disease herbal remedy. I received the parkinson’s disease herbal remedy via courier and immediately commenced usage. I used the remedy for 5 weeks, all my symptoms including tremor gradually dissapeared till i almost forgot i had the disease, i have started working again, thanks to Health herbal clinic. Visit www.healthherbalclinic.weebly.com or email healthherbalclinic@gmail.com Parkinson’s disease is not a death sentence, don’t die believing there is no cure, its a final breakthrough for all living with parkinson’s disease

  • Sheridan Thomas

    commented 2017-01-27 20:33:45 -0500
    i was diagnosed of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) 2013 in Parkland hospital, Dillas, i was given medications to help my symptoms. In August 2014 my symotoms worsened, with no hope of a cure from the hospital i looked out for an alternative treatment. I read on a website about NewLife Herbal Clinic and their successful herbal treatment for ALS, i immediately contacted them via their website and purchased the ALS herbal remedy. I used the herbal remedy for 9 weeks, all my symptoms including difficulty walking, weakness in legs and arm, slured speech etc miraculously dissapeared, my speech is understandable now, its unbelievable, visit www. newlifeherbalclinic. weebly. com or email newlifeherbalclinic@ gmail. com. I had stopped working since i was diagnosed of ALS, i resumed working in 2016, I have control of my body ones again!

  • Sheridan Thomas

    commented 2017-01-27 20:33:11 -0500
    (MUST READ)
    I was diagnosed of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) 2013 in Parkland hospital, Dillas, i was given medications to help my symptoms. In August 2014 my symotoms worsened, with no hope of a cure from the hospital i looked out for an alternative treatment. I read on a website about NewLife Herbal Clinic and their successful herbal treatment for ALS, i immediately contacted them via their website and purchased the ALS herbal remedy. I used the herbal remedy for 9 weeks, all my symptoms including difficulty walking, weakness in legs and arm, slured speech etc miraculously dissapeared, my speech is understandable now, its unbelievable, visit www.newlifeherbalclinic.weebly.com or email newlifeherbalclinic@gmail.com. I had stopped working since i was diagnosed of ALS, i resumed working in 2016, I have control of my body ones again!