Lou Gehrig’s disease, occasionally referred to as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), stems from a fundamental state of compromise in the brain and spinal cord’s nerve cells. One of the most popular applications of medical marijuana in recent times has been its use as a potential countermeasure against Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The results of many intensive studies have shown a significantly correlated link between medical marijuana administration and ALS symptom mitigation. The following are some of the most important things that have been discovered about how medical marijuana can contribute to a higher quality of recovery from Lou Gehrig’s disease and its associated side effects.
Understanding Lou Gehrig’s Disease
Lou Gehrig’s disease was originally discovered in the year 1869 by French doctor Jean-Martin Charcot. The first diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease symptoms was in famous baseball player Lou Gehrig, for whom the condition is named. Today, The Centers for Disease Prevention estimates that over 15,000 Americans had Lou Gehrig’s disease in the year 2016 alone. Of all diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, it is reported that up to 10% of all cases are familial.
Lou Gehrig’s disease would be more accurately described as a problematic conglomeration of neurological diseases than a single disease all on its own. All of the body’s voluntary movements depends on properly functional nerve cells, but when multiple neurological diseases compromise these nerve cells’ functionality, it becomes far more difficult for an individual to carry out the most basic task for self-preservation.
All of the body’s motor neurons can be categorized into two specific groups: spinal cord nerve cells and brain cells. It takes a proper flow of cooperation between both the spinal cord and brain’s nerve cells in order to facilitate actions such as breathing, chewing, talking and walking any distance. Though the worst cases of Lou Gehrig’s disease make it impossible to ignore the level of dysfunction in basic voluntary movements, many cases of Lou Gehrig’s disease oftentimes develop gradually rather than immediately. Even if the immediate entrance to basic voluntary movement isn’t that extreme, the most minor symptoms can oftentimes become dramatically worse if they are left unmitigated for too long.
Symptoms of Lou Gehrig’s disease
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Though different Lou Gehrig’s disease cases develop at different rates depending on the individual, there are certain set of symptoms that generally reoccur across the most common cases. Some of the biggest recurring symptoms in examinations of ALS include weakness of the extremities, difficulty maintaining proper posture, problems with voice projection, inexplicable physical pain/fatigue, emotional instability, hampered coordination and problems with swallowing/breathing.
Treating the Symptoms with Medical Marijuana
Currently, there is no known cure for Lou Gehrig’s disease; however, the symptoms can still be greatly mitigated through the right forms of treatment. The ALS Association projects an average survival rate for those with Lou Gehrig’s disease of about between three and five years on average, with the low FDA approved drug or generally improving the prognosis by about 60 days.
While medical marijuana is not considered anymore the cure for Lou Gehrig’s disease and any other approved drug for the condition, it has been noted that it has the potential to act as a way to greatly lessen the severity of the symptoms.
In a study carried out by San Francisco’s California Pacific Medical Center, researchers discovered that tetrahydrocannabinol could significantly slow down the progression of ALS symptom severity. Though medical marijuana did not completely alleviate the symptoms to non-factors, the THC was effective enough to reduce the pain from muscular spasms.
The source of medical marijuana’s ability to mitigate ALS symptoms was linked to its potential for activating anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and anti-oxidative action. In addition to pain reduction, medical marijuana administration was also linked to appetite stimulation, spasticity reduction, depression alleviation and drooling reduction in Lou Gehrig’s disease patients.
While Lou Gehrig’s disease is not a condition that there is currently a known cure for, the treatment methodologies for many getting the symptoms have come a very long way. The positive link between medical cannabis and ALS symptoms has gained so much attention that there are a number of states who have come to recognize Lou Gehrig’s is a condition that merits the prescription of medical cannabis as a fitting form of treatment. Further research will explore the conduction of larger-scale clinical trials to fully determine the efficacy of medical cannabis for Lou Gehrig’s symptomology.