CBD for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
Cannabis has great potential for treating a variety of diseases. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the non-psychoactive agents of hemp and studies have shown that CBD could positively influence many disease courses, including ALS 1 .
What Is ALS?
ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a neuromuscular disease that affects movement in the body’s muscles. This happens because it causes motor neurons to degenerate 2 .
Motor neurons are the nerves that work in coordination with the brain to transmit a commanded movement from the brain to the muscle involved. With this disease, the motor neurons are affected, meaning that these messages will not be transferred to the respective muscle involved. What this means is that the process of moving is highly affected, and patients may find themselves either unable to move as they want, or they may find their body parts making involuntary movements.
According to Kalapa Clinic, people diagnosed have a limited life expectancy, although this will, of course, depend on the medical attention they are given. The symptoms include slurred speech, continuous muscle weakness and degeneration, cramps and involuntary muscle movements, also known as twitches, and muscle cramps.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is caused by a genetic mutation, meaning that the patients at risk of developing ALS are largely those who inherit it from a member of the family, because it is a hereditary disease. Other risk factors also include age, because older people are more likely to develop ALS than younger ones. Also, it has been reported that ALS is more prevalent among men than women 3 .
Why Can CBD Work For Treating ALS Symptoms?
CBD has several effects in the body that allow it to ease ALS symptoms:
- First of all, it reduces saliva production. Patients are unable to control their muscle movements, and this includes the muscles of the mouth. When this happens, the patient may accumulate too much saliva in the mouth.
- Also, CBD helps in relaxing body muscles. This is the opposite effect of ALS. When a person is suffering from ALS, their body muscles contract often. This leads to symptoms such as twitching. CBD works by producing the opposite effect.
- Sufferers of this condition experience immense pain in their body, as a result of a neuromuscular malfunction. CBD helps by being a pain-relieving substance for these patients.
- CBD could also help with sleep disorders, as described in more detail in this article. ALS patients often have sleep problems due to their symptoms.
- Many illnesses lead to loss of appetite, and ALS is no different. CBD may have the advantage that the patient’s appetite returns, making it easier to eat 4 .
The Endocannabinoid System & ALS
In treating ALS, the role of CBD in enzyme functioning really comes into play. As stated earlier, ALS occurs when the motor neurons of the body begin to die. This occurs because the waste products produced during motor neuron functioning accumulate in the cells instead of being eliminated by an enzyme known as superoxide dismutase. These waste products, if not removed, can severely damage the motor neuron DNA. CBD helps on enzyme function by acting as an antioxidant and reducing the amount of waste that accumulates in the cells from enzymatic processes 5 .
How To Use CBD To Treat ALS
Of course, patients should only use CBD in treating ALS after extensive consultation with a doctor. The amount of CBD administered will depend on a number of factors. For example, if the disease is in its early stages, then the amount given will be less than that given to a patient who has lived with this disease for a longer period of time. Also, some patients may experience decreased amounts of pain as compared to others, meaning that they will not need as much CBD for pain relief. If used properly, CBD can be a great option for many people.
Do determine and accurate dosage, you should always take into account the severity of your symptoms, as well as your body chemistry. In gerenal it is always advised to start low and increase the dosage if needed. We recommend the Step-Up approach by Juliana Birnbaumand Leonard Leinow, as described ion their book “CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis” 6 . For ALS, the authors recommend starting with a macrodose. For more details on what macrodose is and how to correctly dose your CBD, read our article on CBD dosing.
What Studies Show
Research statement has been done on the effects of CBD as a treatment by Kaplan Clinic. One such study was carried out by the Complutense University in Spain where mice with ALS were given CBD oil, and the disease, in fact, progressed less quickly 7 .
Research also shows that CBD oil helps in regulating the functioning of the nervous system, such as by increasing the speed at which chemical compounds involved in the muscular movement are broken down 8 .
This is great news for a patient because, at this point, their muscle movement is already compromised and they are in need of an extra boost. Overall, research indicates that CBD goes a long way toward helping ALS patients manage the condition.
In summary, CBD is useful when it comes to easing the symptoms of ALS. Since the disease causes a lot of pain and discomfort, it is very important that this is reduced, to prolong the life expectancy of the patient, and to also allow them to suffer much less. CBD oil has certain properties that ease pain and relax the body muscle, two properties which are vital for a patient. CBD should be used according to the instructions for the best results. Patients could also supplement the use of CBD with other appropriate drugs and therapies.
CBD relieves the symptoms of ALS
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS or motor neurone disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that causes the depletion of the motor neurons in the body, i.e the neurons that are responsible for muscle movement. Although the average life expectancy is around 2-5 years after the initial diagnosis, (this is not the case for everyone look at Steven Hawkins for example!), several studies have shown that CBD can help to relieve some symptoms of ALS.
Many people around the world were unaware of what ALS was until 2015. A Facebook campaign called the ‘ice bucket challenge’ was recently launched to raise awareness of the disease. People all over the world including celebrities were having buckets of ice cold water thrown over them, to symbolise the feeling of the dying nerve endings that ALS sufferers have to endure on a daily basis. The campaign quickly became viral and has been one of the most successful in Facebook history, raising more than 100 million dollars and leading to the discovery of some ground breaking research.
Symptoms of ALS
Despite this breakthrough there are still millions of people around the world that are suffering from this disease. The main symptoms of ALS include:
- Progressive muscle weakness
- Slurred speech
- Abnormal fatigue of the arms and legs
- Muscle cramps and twitches
- Uncontrollable periods of laughing or crying
CBD or cannabidiol has been known to ease severe pains and can bring some relief to the symptoms of ALS:
- Analgesic properties: ALS is a painful disease, so CBD is used to ease the pain.
- Muscle relaxation: ALS causes the muscles to seize up, CBD helps to relax the body and relieve some of the tension.
- Bronchodilation: CBD opens up the airways making it easier for the sufferer to breathe.
- Saliva reduction: As the disease develops it becomes more and more difficult for the sufferer to swallow, causing an increase of saliva developing in the mouth, CBD consumption causes the saliva glands to stop producing so much saliva.
- Appetite stimulation: Similar to THC CBD can cause the user to feel hungry after consumption.
- Inducing sleep: CBD can make the user feel sleepy, which is good for people who are in pain and find it difficult to both fall asleep and stay asleep.
A study undertaken at the Complutense University in Madrid showed the effects of CBD in mice with ALS. The mice were administered small doses of CBD and the effects were monitored for a short period of time. They found that due to the CBD the progression of the disease in fact slowed down, extending the life expectancy of the mice by 6 days on average. This time frame was translated into three years for humans.
Did you like the post? Give us some feedback! This post has been done based on existent research to the date of publication of the article. Due to the increase in studies based on medical cannabis, the information provided can vary over time and we’ll keep informing in further writings.
About Kalapa Clinic
Información creada y revisada por expertos en Cannabis Medicinal. Todas las publicaciones se basan en investigaciones médicas y con referencias clínicas.
CBD Oil for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a degenerative disorder. Researchers named this disorder after the famous baseball legend Lou Gehrig, who was the first to be formally diagnosed with the condition. Characteristics of this disorder include gradually worsening muscle control and strength, which can eventually involve the inability to speak or swallow.
Most modern treatments for ALS focus on palliative care rather than curative solutions. Medical experts help patients to deal with chronic pain and discomfort, while also striving to extend life expectancy.
However, new research concerning ALS is underway. In recent years, there has been a focus on using cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol, to address ALS’s symptoms. This article addresses burgeoning research regarding possible uses of CBD in managing ALS symptoms. Various ways in which ALS can affect patients will also be discussed and examined.
What Is ALS?
ALS, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, is a degenerative disease that causes the muscles in the body to weaken and atrophy. This makes it challenging to move the limbs, but it also adversely affects many functions within the body, including respiration and swallowing. With no known cure, ALS eventually leads to death by respiratory failure, as the body becomes incapable of even breathing properly without aid.
Common ALS Treatment Options
Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of scientists everywhere, there are currently no useful medical treatments that work to prevent or treat ALS. Instead, most medical professionals attempt to delay the onset of worsening symptoms.
Doctors often recommend ALS support group plans that work to improve the mental health of sufferers. It is also beneficial for patients as they can connect to others with the same diagnosis.
Since its approval in 1995, Riluzole, under the brand name Rilutek, has been the primary ALS treatment option. The drug works to slow the progression of ALS, all while prolonging the sufferer’s life expectancy after diagnosis.
The main problem is that these drugs are prohibitively expensive, at least in the USA, and they also tend to create extremely unpleasant side effects.
For example, patients commonly report excessive nausea, stomach pain, and general flu-like symptoms after regularly taking Riluzole, forcing them to choose between long-term health and short term pain.
However, CBD may address the side effects of drugs such as Riluzole, allowing patients to have less stress and discomfort. CBD may assist in making patients’ lives easier, allowing doctors and specialists to concentrate on long-range options and care.
What Is CBD & What Can It Do?
CBD is a chemical compound that works with the body to produce a variety of beneficial effects, many of which can mitigate symptoms.
It works because the body already has an endocannabinoid system (ECS), a health system designed to work with cannabinoids naturally. It is responsible for many different responses within the body, such as the release of helpful neurochemicals and even the body’s inflammatory response.
Most conditions that CBD may mitigate are related to these bodily responses – a reduction in anxiety as a result of interaction with the serotonin receptor, or controlling the pain of arthritis by helping diminish the inflammation. These are just two widespread uses of CBD.
What Do the Studies Say?
Over the years, more and more researchers have conducted studies to show CBD’s efficacy as a way to help those with ALS.
One example is a report by Sabrina Giacoppo and Emanuela Mazzon for the Journal of Neural Regenerative Research. It investigated the effects of various cannabinoid compounds on ALS progression and mortality.
The researchers found that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabinol (CBN), Sativex (a 1:1 mixture of THC and CBD), and other compounds had positive effects. They included reducing oxidative stress, protecting the nervous system, and slowing disease progression.
Most of these findings were based on animal studies, meaning further research is warranted. However, the authors concluded: “…there is a valid rationale to propose the use of cannabinoid compounds in the pharmacological management of ALS patients. Cannabinoids indeed are able to delay ALS progression and prolong survival.”
Despite the lack of human clinical trials, a case report by Gerhard Nahler discussed the effects of co-medication with cannabidiol on ALS symptoms.
Co-medication works by pairing CBD with another conventionally used drug, as certain medications seem to work together and produce an increased efficacy rate. Experts observe this in those who have epilepsy, where they note a reduction in seizures when patients take a mixture of CBD and the conventional epilepsy drug, Clobazam.
The report demonstrated that CBD and Riluzole delayed the progression of the disease in a patient recently diagnosed with ALS. It improved symptoms such as muscle weakness and difficulties with speech and swallowing for approximately 12 months.
Finally, a 2019 study investigated the effects of CBD with THC on spasticity in 32 ALS patients. It found that there was a high level of satisfaction with the treatment, especially among those with moderate to severe symptoms. The researchers state that “THC:CBD may serve as a valuable addition in the spectrum of symptomatic therapy in ALS.” However, they also suggest that further research is necessary.
So Is CBD Oil Only Useful as a Co-Medication?
All this might lead some to believe that the only use CBD oil has is in conjunction with conventional drugs used to treat ALS.
However, while CBD oil can be useful when combined with other drugs, the fact remains that those taking CBD oil still enjoy the various potential benefits that this unique oil would provide. For example, CBD users have stated that this substance reduces stress, increases relaxation, and eases pain, and it is known to have pain-relieving and anti-anxiety properties.
Another potential benefit of CBD for ALS patients is its ability to regulate the immune system and quell inflammation. Experts have suggested that immune dysfunction may contribute to the development of ALS and research has shown that people with the condition often have excessive levels of inflammation.
Although there is currently no evidence that CBD can reduce inflammation in ALS, specifically, it may well have positive effects. While CBD seems to be a worthwhile option, some might be wondering why patients use CBD oil rather than whole-plant, medical marijuana. , In fact, there are a few reasons why some experts don’t recommend regular cannabis for treating ALS.
Why Not Just Smoke Regular Marijuana?
While there are many people who smoke cannabis regularly to manage many of the underlying symptoms of ALS, there are a few significant drawbacks that make taking CBD oil a preferable option.
For starters, THC’s psychogenic effects can potentially be a problem for those with ALS. While some people may find the high pleasant, others may not enjoy the sensation. Furthermore, THC can cause various side effects, including dizziness, confusion, or increased anxiety levels.
Furthermore, marijuana sales are not currently allowed in a variety of jurisdictions in the USA, making it all the more difficult for doctors to recommend it as a useful option to assist with ALS symptoms.
There is also a more practical issue with smoking cannabis – the ability to smoke it at all. As ALS develops, the ability to breathe independently can be impaired, making it challenging to attempt to smoke marijuana. This is often one of the main reasons why CBD oil is preferable, as it is far easier to take for someone with reduced motility.
Final Verdict About CBD Oil for ALS
ALS patients may now use CBD oil to mitigate or reduce their symptoms as it is readily available in many places. Studies show that there is great promise in how people can benefit from CBD.
Although there is still plenty of research to be done, CBD oil seems to be a compelling choice for those looking to lessen the effects of many ALS symptoms.