What Is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS, and often better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a degenerative disorder that causes our bodies to fail due to dying neurons. The disorder, which was discovered and named in the 19th century, is also referred to as motor neuron disease (MND). The dying neurons prevent the body from being able to perform basic tasks, including breathing, walking, or eating. Medical marijuana for ALS has been proven to be effective as suggested by medical studies, which we will review in this segment.
Understanding ALS and how it affects the body requires us also to understand how neurons within our bodies work. Whenever we do anything, we are getting messages from the brain, through the spine, and all over our veins. These messages ask of us to do all sorts of functions, whether it is typing on a keyboard or lifting a spoon to our mouths. No matter how basic or complicated, our brain provides signals that the rest of the body responds to with corresponding actions.
When these neurons become infected and start to die, then they are unable to perform even the most basic of functions; this is what ALS does and why it such a severe disease. Simple actions we take for granted, such as breathing and moving, will become almost impossible due to ALS. The worst part is that your symptoms will not improve with time; ALS is incurable, and the average lifespan of someone who has it is no more than five years on average.
ALS is a disorder with no cure, and its existence remains a bit of a mystery. Research over the years has allowed medical professionals to understand better how best to combat ALS and which types of medicine work best for patients. The main idea behind this medication is to alleviate symptoms and prolong life, which a few new medicine types have been able to do in some capacity.
Two most common forms of ALS that exist are sporadic and genetic. As the name “genetic” might imply, this means that the disease was inherited because of someone from your bloodline. This would make sense, but less than 10% of ALS cases are genetic. That means most of the reasons behind one having the disease are the sporadic kind. Sporadic specifically means that the reason for you having the disorder is unknown and that it does not come from verifiable factors such as genetics or conditions.
Riluzole and Radicava for ALS
For something as studied and researched as ALS, it may come as a surprise to learn that there are not that many types of medication for it. There are precisely two FDA-approved drugs that can be prescribed for treating ALS: Riluzole and Radicava. The most common and oldest of these is Riluzole, which blocks transmissions within the body that are known to cause ALS symptoms. Radicava is much newer and does not come in a traditional capsule form; it is administered into the body via an IV, which rids the body of excessive free radicals (a symptom of ALS that is harmful to the body). As you might have expected, these two types of medicine are not as effective in treating ALS as some might hope; Riluzole, for example, is known to prolong life by only a few months.
Medical Marijuana for ALS
On the other end of this spectrum is medical marijuana, which has made strides over the last decade and has proven itself to be an extremely viable option for medicine. In the case of ALS, it has been shown to substantially improve a patient’s chances by, on average, increasing their lifespan by three to five years. Compared to the only few months provided by Riluzole, this alone makes medical marijuana for ALS a significant improvement over a traditional medication type and why it comes highly recommended for those struggling with the illness.
Medical marijuana can do more than prolong your life; as one might assume, being able to prolong life also means improving your overall health. When it comes to dealing with ALS, medical cannabis can also treat chronic pain by stimulating your body’s cannabinoids. When cannabinoids get stimulated, you will start to receive greater relief caused by these compounds treating your symptoms. On top of this, medical marijuana for ALS is not known for being addictive, unlike other prescription-based drugs; it is also not known to have as many dangerous side-effects.
Additional Medical Marijuana Benefits
Marijuana is known for being able to change one’s mood, so it comes as no surprise that medical marijuana can also have the same effect. This is seen as an additional benefit, as changing one’s mood for the better can provide a patient with better success in their treatment. Think of it this way: It’s better for a patient to be in a positive mood than to be in a negative mood, and medical marijuana for ALS can positively improve a patient’s mood. This can also help with any other forms of treatment the patient is taking, as the better they are mentally, the better results they will have with other medication.
Medical marijuana can also improve your appetite, which can be very helpful since ALS is known to cause patients not to eat as much as they usually would. Food is also a popular way to get cannabis into the system, so using food to intake it can be another way of making sure you’re eating well.
Edibles are just one of the ways you can get THC or CBD into your system. While many people think marijuana flower is only ever smoked, there are still a variety of cannabis products that exist to provide patients of all kinds with relief. These include oils and topical creams, along with more traditional looking capsules. Medical cannabis can also be vaporized, which is one of the more popular forms of marijuana consumption today.
If you are considering medical marijuana for ALS as a treatment option, then contact us at MMJ Doctors. Our staff of professional physicians can properly evaluate for your Florida Medical Marijuana Card and recommend you the medical marijuana product that is right for you. We know how difficult it can be to find the proper treatment for your disorder, which is why your satisfaction and health is our number one priority.