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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in New York

Studies indicate the use of cannabis can provide significant benefits in treating symptoms associated with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a disease that progressively causes neurodegenerative damage to nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. Normal motor neuron activity takes place between the brain and spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles in the body. For one afflicted with ALS, the motor neurons progressively degenerate, and the brain is no longer able to control muscle movement. In the final stages of ALS, patients may be completely paralyzed.

Symptoms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

  • Muscle weakness in legs, arms, hands, or muscles affecting breathing, swallowing or speaking
  • Cramping and twitching of muscles, called fasciculation, particularly in feet and hands
  • Use of legs and arms impaired
  • Difficulty in projecting one’s voice and thickening of speech
  • Difficulty breathing and swallowing and shortness of breath in advanced stages of ALS

Medical Marijuana as Part of an ALS Treatment Plan

Treatment for ALS is guided by management of common symptoms, including depression, pain, muscle spasticity and spasms, and appetite loss. The one FDA-approved medication for ALS has shown positive results in some cases by extending the amount of time prior to respiratory muscle failure.

While no clinical trials have been conducted on humans, researchers at Temple University in Pennsylvania and the University of Washington Medical Center have reviewed data on patient outcomes for medical marijuana use to manage ALS. The researchers noted significant and beneficial effects:

“Preclinical data indicate that cannabis has powerful antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects… Cannabis also has properties applicable to symptom management of ALS, including analgesia, muscle relaxation, bronchodilation, saliva reduction, appetite stimulation, and sleep induction … From a pharmacological perspective, cannabis is remarkably safe with realistically no possibility of overdose or physical addiction. There is a valid, logical, scientifically grounded rationale to support the use of cannabis in the pharmacological management of ALS… Based on the currently available scientific data, it is reasonable to think that cannabis might significantly slow the progression of ALS, potentially extending life expectancy and substantially reducing the overall burden of the disease.”

Research on ALS and Cannabis Based Treatments

For more information on medicinal cannabis being used to treat ALS, please click on the following links:

An Overview of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Studies with Medical Marijuana

Cannabis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: hypothetical and practical applications and a call for clinical trials

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for cramps in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a randomized, double-blind crossover trial

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