Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a rapidly progressive neuromuscular disease that destroys both upper and lower motor neurons, ultimately causing death, typically from respiratory failure. The vast majority of ALS is acquired and occurs sporadically. There is not yet a known cure for ALS.

ALS patients may present with any number of clinical symptoms, including weakness, spasticity, cachexia, dysrthria, and drooling, and have pain secondary to immobility, among others. Previous studies have reported both direct and theoretical applications for using cannabis to manage some of these ALS symptoms. Cannabis has easily observable clinical effects with rapid onset (e.g., analgesia, muscle relaxation, dry mouth). Moreover, some components of marijuana (not inhaled smoke) have been shown in laboratory studies to have neuroprotective properties that may help prolong neuronal cell survival over time.[1]

[1] Amtmann, Weydt, Johnson, Jensen, Carter, “Survey of Cannabis Use in Patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.”