ALS Awareness Month: How Cannabis Can Help

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June is ALS Awareness Month, so we thought we’d share some of the ways medical cannabis has been shown to help reduce the symptoms associated with this disease.

What is ALS?
ALS is a neurodegenerative disease where the nerve cells controlling your muscles die. This leads to a loss of mobility, speech and eventually impacts a person’s ability to breathe. ALS is terminal, and currently has no cure. In Canada, nearly 2500 – 3000 people are living with this disease. Even more shocking, there’s no real treatment for ALS, so subsiding symptoms is very important to people living with the disease.

How can medical marijuana help?
According to the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care, the use of cannabis has been shown to prolong the life of patients with ALS, as well as treat some of the day-to-day symptoms. Here’s a rundown of how cannabis helps each symptom:

  • Pain: marijuana helps as an anti-inflammatory and to reduce pain
  • Spasticity: marijuana helps relax muscles
  • Wasting: marijuana is an appetite stimulant
  • Depression: marijuana strains have euphoric effects
  • Neuronal oxidation: marijuana is a neuroprotective antioxidant

Like most research on medical marijuana, more studies are needed to help us prove the benefits, but anecdotal research is coming out all the time. Here’s some amazing findings from Leafly:

Bob Strider began experiencing the symptoms of ALS in 1998, specifically the loss of function in his right arm and problems swallowing. An avid cannabis enthusiast, he had used cannabis heavily for decades, which he believes has kept the progression of his disease slow but steady. In 2012, Strider began manufacturing his own cannabis oils, dosing himself with approximately a gram a day for 60 days. Within 10 days of his regimen, he regained control of his right arm and was able to stop using opiates to manage his pain.

Another remarkable case comes from Cathy Jordan, who was diagnosed with ALS in 1986 and given less than five years to live. In the winter of 1989, Jordan spent the holiday in Florida, preparing for the end of her life, when she made a crucial discovery. While walking on the beach one night, she smoked a joint of Myakka Gold and felt her symptoms cease, essentially experiencing the neuroprotective effects of cannabis before they’d been proven.

If you want to discuss how marijauna can ease ALS symptoms, the best course of action is to come in and speak to a professional. You can book an assessment by contacting us: 403-475-4205.

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