Medical Marijuana for ALS patients
The medical components of marijuana have shown remarkable abilities to both slow and stop the progression of the neurodegenerative disease known as ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
In fact, CBD has been shown to have beneficial effects on all major neurodegenerative diseases involving the mitochondrial and basal ganglia portions of the brain.
With ALS, patients are facing a situation where moto-neurons of their spines and central nervous system progressively die because of the lack of production of an enzyme called superoxide dismutase (SOD1). SOD1 is a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from damage caused by toxic free radicals. SOD1 is generated in the mitochondria portion of the brain. Free radicals have the ability to damage DNA and proteins within the cells and of over 110 individual genetic mutations associated with ALS, destruction to the genes that produce SOD1 have most often been linked to the disease.
Apoptosis is the cell's natural process of dying. When cells are left unprotected against free radicals, apoptosis accelerates. In the case of ALS, the DNA mutations cause superoxide dismutase (SOD1) excretions to diminish and eventually cease, which leaves the moto-neurons vulnerable to free-radical damage and eventual death. Patients with ALS are expected to live three to four years after being diagnosed, and it is rare that they live beyond ten years.
Both the CBD and THC components of medical marijuana have demonstrated the ability to protect the cells from free-radical damage, and with ALS, medical marijuana has both slowed and stopped the progression of the disease. CBD and THC were tested independently and together, with positive results in all tests, with most impressive results produced when CBD and THC were administered together.
Our bodies have cannabinoid I and II receptors (CB1 and CB2) located within the cells of the brain and throughout our central nervous systems. CB1 receptors have also been found within the liver, lungs, and kidneys, and CB2 receptors have been found in smooth muscle tissue, our immune system, and other places throughout our bodies.
Cannabinoid receptors are associated with appetite, pain sensation, memory, and mood. When these receptors are activated by the presence of cannabis, they release antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and other neuro-protective qualities that are effective against free-radicals and inhibit the damage they cause to the nervous system.
Indeed, medical marijuana proved to be a more powerful antioxidant that Vitamin C and Vitamin E. The neuro-protective qualities of CBD and THC are also attributed to their anti-inflammatory properties, along with anti-excito-toxic properties as well.
Medical marijuana demonstrated the ability to reduce, and in some cases completely eliminate muscle spasms, increase appetite, reduce and alleviate pain, encourage rest for insomniacs, and ease the patient's stress levels.