Almyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly referred to as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that impacts nerve cells in both the brain and the spinal cord. Because motor neurons throughout the spinal cord can no longer send messages and impulses to muscles throughout the body, they begin to atrophy, or waste away. ALS does not impair all parts of the body; intellectual reasoning, vision, hearing, sense of taste, sense of smell and sense of touch all remain intact.
Symptoms appear in different ways depending on the patient. While one person may find it difficult to grab a pencil, others may experience a change in vocal pitch. Muscles that control speech, swallowing, or movements in the hands, arms, legs or feet may be the first to show symptoms. The progression of symptoms is typically painless but does not follow one particular order. The onset of ALS is gradual and can vary greatly depending on the sufferer.
Common symptoms that may appear in the early stages of ALS include slurred speech, muscle cramps or twitches, tripping, dropping things, excessive fatigue, and/or periods of uncontrollable laughing or crying.
Unlike many other illnesses, there is not one specific test that can diagnose the presence of ALS. However, there are a series of diagnostic tests that help rule out other diseases with similar symptoms. Tests include a spinal tap, x-rays, muscle and/or nerve biopsy, a neurological examination, blood and urine studies, and electrodiagnostic tests.
Once diagnosed, the average life expectancy is two to five years.
How Can Medical Marijuana Help?
Medical marijuana has long been linked to ALS as a form of relief. More specifically, through the consistent use of marijuana oil, some ALS sufferers have found they can control or delay symptoms. Preclinical research points to cannabis’ anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects, which can help slow the progression of ALS.
Other than symptom delay, there are many ways cannabis oil can be helpful. For example, the non-opioid analgesia and anti-inflammatory effects from the oil help with pain. Spasticity is another ALS side effect, so medical oil can help through its muscle relaxant properties. Wasting is another common ALS symptom; however, the appetite is often stimulated through the use of medical marijuana.
Once you have your registry identification card, visit one of our Greenhouse dispensaries so one of our professionals can help you find much-needed relief.