ALS and Cannabis Study

A 2014 study titled “Medical Marijuana Utilization and Perceived Therapeutic Value in Patients with ALS (P3.014)” (Neurology.com) found that those “patients currently using marijuana report a very significant treatment effect on many ALS symptoms. Given the high degree of patient interest and reported therapeutic value, ALS clinicians should become better educated about the potential utility of marijuana in ALS symptom management.”

The basis and interest in the ALS/marijuana study is quoted as follows:

Cannabis has immunomodulatory [capable of regulating immune functions] properties and effects upon excitotoxicity [process by which neurons are damaged] that suggest that it might have a disease-modifying role in ALS [amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease]. There have also been some anecdotal reports suggesting that marijuana may be effective in alleviating certain ALS symptoms

The patients reported the following beneficial treatment effects of marijuana on ALS:

  • Appetite stimulation – 75%
  • Aiding sleep – 65%
  • Relieving anxiety – 80%
  • Relieving depression – 70%
  • Muscle relaxation – 60%

Equally significant is the fact that of those ALS patients living in states where marijuana is not legally available, “81% reported interest in trying medical marijuana were it to be legalized“.

ALS is the disease for which hundreds of celebrities and millions of others were dousing themselves with ice water to raise awareness and money. A wonderful global show of love and compassion in the digital age, but we can’t help wondering how many of those performing the challenge and those watching know that marijuana can help alleviate the pain of the ALS disease.

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Source: Photo: Flickr: Anthony Quintano “Mission Accomplished – ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Reproduced & Shared with changes under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic
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