ALS (Lou Gehrig’s)

Medical Marijuana and ALS

Medical marijuana offers relief from neurological symptoms, including muscle spasms, seizures, and involuntary movements. ALS patients report easier breathing, reduced salivation, and less pain, along with improvement in mood and more regular sleep patterns.

Get a medical marijuana certification

Florida patients are eligible to receive a medical marijuana recommendation for ALS

What is ALS?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a rare, progressive, neurological condition in which the long motor neurons in the brain cortex and spinal cord deteriorate and die. The associated voluntary muscles waste away, causing symptoms such as muscle spasms, cramps, rigidity, pain, inflammation, and paralysis.

ALS affects an estimated 30,000 Americans at any given time. It often appears suddenly in otherwise healthy adults between the ages of 40 and 70.

There is no cure. There is no treatment to reverse the damage to motor neurons. The available treatments strive to alleviate symptoms, improve quality of life, and prolong survival.

Medications that protect the brain and remove free radicals from the body can help to manage symptoms and possibly slow the progress of the disease. Nutrition, cognitive behavioral therapy, and therapy for breathing, speech, and movement can improve quality of life.

Scientists do not know what causes ALS. It could be a combination of genetic factors and environmental triggers, such as exposure to heavy metals, solvents, or agricultural chemicals. No association has been found between ALS and injury, infection, diet, or physical activity. Only 5 to 10 percent of ALS cases are due to inherited factors, most commonly a gene called SOD1.

Symptoms of ALS

Early symptoms of ALS depend on which muscles are being affected. The first symptoms of ALS are typically weakness in a hand or leg, with loss of dexterity or problems with balance or walking. Some people experience slurred or nasal speech, excessive choking, and difficulty chewing and swallowing.

Common symptoms include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Tripping, dropping things, clumsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Stiff muscles
  • Wasting muscles
  • Speech impairments
  • Pain

Once symptoms of the disease appear, 70 to 80 percent of ALS patients die within three to five years.

Benefits of Medical Marijuana for ALS Patients

People with ALS who use medical marijuana report experiencing several benefits. The neurological effects include:

  • Relief from muscle spasms, seizures, and involuntary movement
  • Improved breathing
  • Reduced salivation
  • Pain relief

Medical marijuana does not have the undesirable side effects associated with many medications. It is not addictive like opiate pain medication, and does not require ever increasing dosages to achieve the same results. Cannabis also enhances the well-being of ALS patients by helping to stimulate appetite, induce sleep, and improve mood. Scientific studies suggest that medical marijuana’s powerful antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective qualities could slow the progression of ALS.

Get medical marijuana for ALS

Now Florida patients can use medical marijuana to help with ALS

Research Studies

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