CBD and ALS
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disease with no known cause and currently no known treatment.
ALS appears to be accidental and mainly affects men aged 40-70. Only 5-10% of cases are considered family or congenital, the remaining 90-95% of cases are classified as “sporadic”. Sporadically means that the disease occurs without warning or for any identifiable reason. It is a cruel, difficult disease that researchers are working hard to understand, and significant resources are being used to find a cure.
At this point, the average life expectancy for someone suffering from ALS is 3 to 5 years from the onset of symptoms. Unfortunately, currently available treatments only work to slow down cell death, not stop it. There are medications that are usually prescribed in tandem to combat constipation, pain, sleep problems, depression, cramps and muscle spasms. So it is no wonder that people are looking for alternatives like Cannabis and CBD oil to get the possible help and much-needed hope.
ALS is an idiopathic, rapidly progressive, always fatal neurological disease in which upper motor neurons (motoneurons) disintegrate. As a result, the transmission of neuromuscular signals is disrupted – the electrical impulses of nerve excitation no longer reach the muscles and their movement becomes more and more difficult until complete paralysis of the body, including the speech and respiratory apparatus, occurs. Human intellectual abilities are completely preserved during illness, as are the functioning of the organs of perception, vision, hearing, touch, smell. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a rare disease.
Although research is still at a very early stage, cannabinoids may be a means of slowing the progression of ALS symptoms.
The compounds in Cannabis have a promising potential for the treatment of ALS, as they are able to fight cell death and inflammation of the nervous system, which are elements of the ALS disease process.
Cannabis products have been shown to reduce some of the most common symptoms of ALS, such as chronic pain, spasticity, loss of appetite and depression. Depending on the symptom you want to reduce, the best strains of ALS Cannabis would include either THC, CBD, and limonene (for pain and spasticity). THC and CBG (in case of loss of appetite) or CBD, THC, CBG, BCP, limonene and linalool in depression.
Cannabis and ALS studies.
The Cannabis plant contains an enormous amount of compounds called cannabinoids, especially tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), as well as many other organic compounds such as terpenes and flavonoids.
THC binds directly to the body’s two main cannabinoid receptors and has neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects. CBD blocks an enzyme (FAAH) that breaks down anandamide. Anandamide, commonly referred to as the ‘bliss molecule’, is a cannabinoid that plays a key role in maintaining the health of ECS and, among other benefits, can reduce anxiety and reduce systemic inflammation.
Thus, the researchers believe that the compounds found in the plant Cannabis may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of ALS.
⦁ A 2018 study using THC and CBD pharmaceuticals (Sativex / nabiximol) for ALS spasticity found that 55% of ALS patients reported an overall reduction in spasticity and pain compared to 13% in the placebo group. In addition, the medicine was well tolerated with mild to moderate side effects, including dizziness, lack of energy and confusion.
⦁ A 2004 ALS study in mice treated with THC before and after the onset of the disease showed improved motor performance and increased disease survival, which is thought to be associated with reduced cell damage and death.
⦁ A 2005 study found that treatment of mice with cannabinoid CBN may delay the onset of ALS-like symptoms.
Studies in mice have shown that daily modulation of the ECS receptor delayed movement disorders and increased survival by 56%. In particular, elevated endocannabinoid levels were found in mouse models of ALS, as well as more CB2 receptors in the central nervous system, especially in damaged or altered tissues.
CBD and ALS.
CBD does not have the psychotropic effects of THC and is therefore often more widely available in jurisdictions where medical Cannabis is not legalized. A study in mice with ALS in 2010 found that low doses of CBD given to mice slowed the progression of the disease.
In 2019, a clinical study was conducted in Australia to examine the effects of CBD dominant oil on 30 subjects with ALS.
How does Cannabis affect ALS?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is found in all vertebrates and helps regulate important functions such as sleep, pain and appetite. The human body produces its own cannabinoids, which modulate and activate its various functions, but, as the name suggests, the endocannabinoid system can also be modulated and activated by the cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant.
The 2017 document on the pharmacology of cannabinoids describes how ECS can modulate key features that contribute to neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS, and thus “becomes a viable goal for symptom reduction or disease progression based on pharmacological modulation of endocannabinoid signaling.”
Studies in animal models of ALS and in patients with ALS indicate that ECS dysregulation has been identified in the brain and spinal cord. However, it may be a sign that ECS is doing its neuroprotective work, rather than the dysregulation itself being the cause of the disease.
How is Cannabis used in ALS?
Although Cannabis is mainly based on preclinical studies, due to its antioxidant and neuromodulatory properties, Cannabis has the potential to slow the progression of ALS. It can also relieve ALS symptoms such as pain, spasticity, loss of appetite and depression.
Choosing the right Cannabis strain for ALS can be difficult; there are thousands of chemovars, and science has not yet determined which is best for ALS cases. The best thing we can do now is to narrow down our options to look at cannabinoids and terpenes that could help with ALS symptoms.
With regard to pain and spasticity, evidence suggests the use of cannabinoids THC, CBD. The terpenes myrcene and limonene, BCP, linalool and humulene show the potential for pain.
Cannabinoids THC and CBG may stimulate appetite, but there does not appear to be much knowledge as to which terpenes may enhance this effect.
Finally, CBD, THC and CBG are thought to be antidepressants for depression, as well as the terpenes BCP, limonene and linalool. With this in mind, ‘ACDC’, ‘Ringo’s Gift’ and ‘Sour Tsunami’ strains could help treat symptoms similar to those of multiple sclerosis.
Benefits of using CBD oil ALS.
If you are considering trying CBD oil to help reduce the symptoms of ALS, talk to your doctor first – there may be drug interactions or potential health risks that you are not aware of.
Although CBD oil cannot cure ALS, it can slightly relieve many of the symptoms of the disease.
There are many benefits to using CBD in ALS patients, most notably slowing the progression of the disease, reducing pain, and reducing spasticity.
While research and evidence are underway, it appears that cannabinoids, and CBD in particular, could play an important role in reducing the symptoms of ALS.
A study by the Institute of Neurology, University College London, looked at the effects of cannabinoids on SOD1 mice, which are test mice that have been modified to show some symptoms of ALS. During the test, the mice were symptomatic and treated with synthetic cannabinoids. This cannabinoid has been shown to ‘significantly delay the progression of the disease’ and to produce ‘significant neuroprotective effects in this model of ALS’.
Another study by the Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, California, examined the effects of cannabinoids on excitotoxic and oxidative cell damage, both of which are thought to contribute to the neurodegenerative effects of ALS. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been shown to be effective in mice before or after the onset of signs of ALS. When cannabinoids were administered at the onset of the tremor, movement disorders were found to be delayed and survival was prolonged. Although CBD was not included in this study, it is another example of the potential health benefits of Cannabis plant and plant phytocannabinoids.
Additional tests are needed to get completely convincing results, but these results are exciting and promising to improve the quality of life of ALS patients.
CBD oil for pain.
CBD works directly and indirectly with the endocannabinoid system to reduce the type of pain in the body. Cannabinoid receptors can be found both in the brain (CB1 receptors) and throughout the body (CB2 receptors). CB2 receptors are those responsible for reducing inflammation and pain. Cannabidiol (CBD) is thought to act indirectly on CB2 receptors to reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Glycine receptors in the central nervous system play a key role in the body’s perception of pain. Studies have shown that CBD can potentiate the effects of these receptors, leading to a significant reduction in neuropathic pain.
A study by the University of California looked at the effects of inhaled Cannabis on the treatment of neuropathic pain caused by spinal cord injury and disease. The findings showed that Cannabis had similar analgesic properties to the two commonly prescribed painkillers. This is important because CBD and other cannabinoids do not have the same side effects or addictive risks as many prescription painkillers.
Finally, a review of CBD studies found that CBD oil was effective in treating pain with very few side effects. This means CBD oil is a viable alternative to typical pain medications.
CBD oil for spasticity.
Although there is still a great lack of clinical trials for CBD and ALS, there is evidence to suggest that positive results can be expected in the treatment of spasticity.
The University of Washington School of Medicine conducted a survey on the use of Cannabis in ALS patients. Of the 131 respondents, 13 said they had used Cannabis in the previous 12 months. Although these figures are small, the results showed that CBD oil can be effective in reducing the symptoms of “loss of appetite, depression, pain, spasticity and salivation”.
The University of Washington Medical Center supports these findings because Cannabis has shown the potential for ALS symptoms by providing “muscle relaxation, bronchodilation, salivation, appetite stimulation and sleep induction,” they have called for more research immediately. Researchers even go so far as to say, “Based on currently available scientific data, it is reasonable to believe that Cannabis can significantly slow the progression of ALS, potentially prolonging life expectancy and significantly reducing the overall burden of the disease.”
There may be a current lack of studies on spasticity due to ALS, but there are many published studies on other spastic conditions. Many published studies point to the benefits of cannabinoids in treating the symptoms of diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. For example, in a 2014 study of Parkinson’s patients who received CBD, tremor and spasticity were reduced.
How to use CBD oil for ALS?
The decision to use CBD oil for ALS symptoms is a personal decision and will be different for each person.
Some ALS patients will choose to add CBD oil in their daily routine as a way to consistently, holistically control symptoms, while others prefer CBD oil when their symptoms appear or become problematic.
As an ALS patient, if you find that traditional ALS treatment is not working the way you want it to, or you are suffering from many possible side effects of pharmaceuticals, CBD oil may be exactly what you are looking for.
It is important to talk to your doctor before deciding how to use CBD oil to treat ALS. There are risks associated with the use of CBD oil in combination with standard ALS medications, and although CBD oil has very few side effects and side effects are rare, there is a risk of fatigue, dry mouth, diarrhea and liver damage. Talking to your doctor can help determine if CBD oil is the safest and most effective option.
Various CBD products.
There are different ways to host a CBD. CBD product that is most effective for you will also depend on your preferences and the severity of your symptoms.
CBD oil inhalants: CBD vape oils and CBD flowers are some of the most popular ways to use CBD. These delivery methods are well known and quickly show their effects. CBD bypasses the digestive system and is absorbed into the bloodstream directly through the lungs. These methods are great for sudden pain or spasticity. The effect is not long-lasting, which means that another dose may be needed about an hour later. It should be borne in mind that steam and smoking are not always available and it may be difficult to determine the dose correctly. The dose is usually calculated on the basis of ‘inhalation’, but inhalation can be very different, as we know. It may take some time to find your desired dose.
– CBD oil capsules: CBD oil capsules are a simple and convenient method of intake. Capsules will be convenient for most people to use as they are another known method of ingestion and will provide a consistent dose. Unfortunately, this may also take time to show effects. These methods involve the digestive system and need to be processed by the liver, so depending on the stomach content and metabolism, they may take hours to work, but the effects usually last 4 to 6 hours.
– CBD oil drops or tinctures: CBD oil tinctures or drops do not need to be digested. When taken under the tongue, CBD is absorbed from there, acting for about 30 minutes. They allow maximum dose control by being able to adjust the dose up or down to one drop. In both capsules and drops, the effect can last from 2 to 4 hours.
– CBD topical products: CBD creams, ointments, body oils are an option that is best used for targeted pain relief. In the case of muscle cramps, pain and spasticity, topical CBD products can be applied directly to the site to relieve discomfort in the body. Although these methods may take time to show effects, their effects are the longest of all.
And the best CBD oil products will always be the ones that will help you in your case !!!
Admission methods need to be carefully considered when it comes to ALS. Due to the fact that difficulty swallowing is one of the primary symptoms associated with this disease, a CBD oil capsule may be an ideal format only in the early stages of the disease. As the disease progresses, it may need to be changed to another type of use, where inhalation may be the easiest to take.
When it comes to the potential benefits of CBD oil, quality is paramount. It is important to buy the best products available.
Although each of our bodies interacts with Cannabis compounds differently, there is some clinical knowledge about the overall dosage. For patients with no / minimal previous experience with Cannabis, a starting dose of 2.5 mg THC is recommended. For those who cannot find relief with lower doses, 5 mg THC is a moderate dose and 10 mg THC is recommended as an “experienced user only” dose.
Patients should wait 10 to 20 minutes between doses, 45 minutes sublingually and 8 hours if swallowed. It is important to note that you can reduce your symptoms even if you do not feel ‘high’ when the recommended daily dose does not exceed 30 mg of THC. Higher doses are associated with an increased likelihood of adverse effects and a very small additional therapeutic effect.
Before choosing treatment, please consult a doctor who has experience in the use of Cannabis.
Possible side effects.
No side effects are usually seen with Cannabis, but inhalation of Cannabis to reduce ALS may lead to habit formation and may make users slower with reduced motor skills and response time when in a ‘high’ position. Further studies are needed to investigate possible interactions between other ALS medications and specific doses and forms of CBD and THC.
Alternative treatments for ALS.
Apart from Cannabis, ALS or its symptoms have additional alternative treatments, including traditional Chinese medicine – acupuncture, meditation and proper diet.
The information on the internet about CBD products and their use will be ambiguous, so we always recommend reading safe and reliable sources. We also use websites related to the Cannabis industry, research and education to prepare information.
The content of this site is for informational purposes only. We are not medical experts and this should not be interpreted as medical advice. Be sure to consult your doctor before undergoing CBD or other treatment.
The chemistry of every human body and brain is unique, so the use of CBD to improve mental as well as physical health does not guarantee results. However, many GWEEPRODUCTS CBD oil users have included it into their daily routine as one of the therapies for improving mental, physical health and quality of life.
References: cannigma.com; cbdoilreview.org; pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov; thelancet.com; clinicaltrials.gov
Photo from Unsplash.