Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as ALS and Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a condition involving the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that controls voluntary muscle movement. It is a neurodegenerative disorder. Symptoms include loss of appetite, depression, pain, drooling, sexual dysfunction, speech and swallowing difficulties, and loss of muscle strength, twitching and spasms that often lead to respiratory failure and death. The progression of this condition accelerates quickly and most people only live two to five years after the onset of the disease. Options to treat this condition are few.
How CBD can help
When the endocannabinoid system is activated, the anti-inflammatory property effects of the CB2 receptors is upregulated. This anti-inflammatory effect and can relieve muscle spasms. CBD is an antioxidant that is more powerful than vitamin C or vitamin E. CBD has more beneficial effects of disease involving the mitochondrial and basal ganglia parts of the brain. It is neuroprotective and can prolong neuronal cell survival.
Additional cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant that seem to prove beneficial for ALS include the anti-convulsant CBN, the anti-inflammatory THCV, the anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and brain growth CBC, and the analgesic CBL. Because a wide range of cannabinoids is supportive to the management of ALS, full spectrum cannabis products are recommended as opposed to isolates which contain CBD only.
Properties of Cannabis and ALS Symptom Management
ALS Symptom and Cannabis Effect
Pain: Non-opiod analgesic and anti-inflammatory
Spasticity: Muscle relaxant
Wasting: Appetite stimulant
Drooling: Dry mouth
Neuronal oxidation: Neuroprotective antioxidant
Dosing for ALS typically falls in the macro range of 1 to 2 mg per pound of body weight per day. Doses up to 300 mg per day are often used for the antioxidant and neuroprotective potential. 25 to 50 mg doses of beta-caryophyllene can be utilized for its neuroprotective and ant-inflammatory aspects. A standard 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC is indicated for optimal results, however, higher doses of CBD can be utilized for patients who do not tolerate the effects of THC. THC in the form of indicas can be utilized in the evening for sedation and sleep. CO2 extraction products are recommended and can be taken orally as sub-lingual oils, capsules, or edibles. Vaporizing or smoking can be effective for relieving immediate symptoms such as drooling and pain relief. Vaporizers using C02 filled cartridges are very effective and are available in a variety of ratios of CBD to THC. Inhalation methods of delivery last one to three hours wheres edibles can take thirty to sixty minutes to take effect and last six to eight hours. Cultivars combining high caryophyllene such as Cookies or Kryptonite combined with high CBD cultivars like ACDC or Suzy Q is recommended.
Although more research is needed, studies indicate the use of cannabis can greatly slow down the progression of ALS and extend life expectancy. Additionally, research show the presence of both CBD and THC to be more effective in extending life expectancy than THC alone. ALS patients experience a degeneration of motor neurons in the spine and central nervous system due to a lack of the enzyme superoxide dimutase (SOD1) which is a powerful antioxidant responsible for protecting the body from damage caused by free radicals. CBD is also a powerful antioxidant that can be beneficial for the management of ALS. Mitochondrial dysfunction is an important to factor and can be supported through proper nutrition. Endocannabinoid dysregulation is believed to be involved with the disease mechanisms thereby indicating cannabinoids as a therapeutic consideration as a treatment option. Glutamate antagonists, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, microglial cell modulators, antiapoptotic agents, neurotrophic growth factors, and mitochondrial nutritional support are required for a comprehensive pathophysiology approach in the treatment of ALS. Cannabis demonstrates activity in all of these areas.
Your body is designed to heal 🙂
For more information on CBD, please visit us at 301 N. Salem Street in downtown Apex.
Gregory T. Carter and Bill S. Rosen, “Marijuana in the Management of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.”
Leonard Leinow & Juliana Birnbaum, “CBD A Patient’s Guide to Medical Cannabis.”
Robert C. Clarke and David P. Watson, “Cannabis and Natural Cannabis Medicines,” Marijuana and the Cannabinoids (2007): 1-15.
J. Cervantes, The Cannabis Encyclopedia (2015), Van Patten Publishing, USA.