Medical Cannabis and ALS

June 20, 2017

Medical Cannabis and ALS

What is ALS?

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neuromuscular disorder caused by the gradual degeneration of the motor nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movement. This disease gradually paralyzes people because the brain is no longer able to communicate with the muscles of the body that we are typically able to move at will.

There is no one thing that causes ALS. Rather, ALS is recognized as having multiple interacting causes that are likely based on changes in genes and certain environmental factors. A number of genes have been identified as playing a role in the development of ALS.

The most common form of ALS is called sporadic ALS, meaning the disease can affect anyone regardless of gender, ethnicity or age—although it most often affects people between the ages of 40 and 60.

The other type of ALS is called familial ALS, which means it is capable of being passed from a parent to his or her child. Approximately 5% to 10% of ALS cases are familial.

ALS is not contagious and there is no cure for the disease. The only treatment available for patients with ALS are supportive measures and physical therapy.

Did you know?

  • The lifetime risk of developing ALS is approximately 1 in 1000
  • There is currently no known cause or proven cure for ALS
  • More than 200,000 people around the world are living with ALS
  • About 3,000 Canadians are currently living with ALS
  • Life expectancy for a person with ALS is 2-5 years

Medical Cannabis Therapy

According to a scientific review published by the American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, cannabis therapy may alleviate some symptoms and prolong survival in patients diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The study outlines the different properties of marijuana that help in managing ALS symptoms.

To learn more about the use of medical cannabis as a viable treatment option to relieve ALS symptoms, please refer to the following scientific studies:

Reference: ALS CanadaSunnybrook Health Sciences Centre