Monday, April 15, 2024

ALS And Medical Marijuana

Star Trek actor Kenneth Mitchell lost his battle with ALS.  Can Medical Marijuana help others who suffer?

The Fresh Toast – It is a devastating disease and more research needs to be done to help patients. And in regards to help, what about ALS and medical marijuana?

Roughly over 5,000 people in Canada and the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year with over 20,000 smuggling with the disease.  Over 15 people are diagnosed daily. ALS is estimated to be responsible for as many as five in every 100,000 deaths in people 20 years or older.  The average life expectancy of a person with ALS is between two to five years from the time of diagnosis. Some people do live for more than five years. More than half of all ALS patients live more than three years after diagnosis, 20 percent live five years or more, up to 10 percent live more than 10 years, and about five percent live 20 years or more. What about ALS and medical marijuana.

RELATED: Science Says Medical Marijuana Improves Quality Of Life

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a fatal type of motor neuron disease. It is characterized by progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. It is also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, after a famous baseball player who died from the disease.

Currently, there is no cure for ALS but there are some treatments available.

Cannabis has properties applicable to symptom management of ALS, including analgesia, muscle relaxation, bronchodilation, saliva reduction, appetite stimulation, and sleep induction. With respect to the treatment of ALS, from both a disease modifying and symptom management viewpoint, clinical trials with cannabis are key to helping patients. Based on the currently available scientific data, it is reasonable to think that cannabis might significantly slow the progression of ALS, potentially extending life expectancy and substantially reducing the overall burden of the disease.

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As ALS progresses, though, more and more symptoms are noticed. These are the most common symptoms of ALS:

  • Twitching and cramping of muscles, especially those in the hands and feet
  • Loss of motor control in the hands and arms
  • Impairment in the use of the arms and legs
  • Tripping and falling
  • Dropping things
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Uncontrollable periods of laughing or crying
  • Slurred or thick speech and trouble in projecting the voice

As the disease progresses, symptoms may include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Paralysis

If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to seek a physician’s guidance immediately. Otherwise, be an advocate and champion for more medical research.

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