- May 31, 2023
Living a good life while having a debilitating neurodegenerative illness is a tremendous task. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) are disabling neurological diseases that are incurable, but they are treatable. Both are quite severe and mentally exhausting for the affected people. With ALS most individuals survive for many years and even decades following their diagnosis. (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ene.14393)
ALS is characterized by symptoms such as muscle weakness, cramping, twitching and, ultimately, impairment. In the later stages, patients become unable to swallow and breathe. Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic disease of progressive/relapsing nature. Each individual experiences symptoms of MS differently. Multiple Sclerosis causes adverse range of symptoms such as numbness or weakness of arms or legs, loss of vision, fatigue, problems with walking, and impaired ability to memorize, think, or retain information. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780323430449001990?via%3Dihub)
In addition to medical therapy, herbal supplements, complementary and alternative medicine, marijuana can also be used to alleviate symptoms of ALS/MS. In many people it offers pain relief, muscle relaxation, and induces sleep and stimulates appetite.
Studies in lower animals have shown that because of powerful neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidative properties of marijuana, it can notably slow the progression of ALS, probably enhance life expectancy, and decrease the overall disease burden. These studies need to be corroborated in humans. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1049909110369531
Recent research indicates that now 20% to 60% of people with MS are using marijuana to treat their muscle spasticity and other MS related symptoms. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fneur.2017.00299/full
Patients should contact their neurologist to make informed choices regarding the use of marijuana. It is overall a well-tolerated adjuvant treatment option