Best Cannabis Strain for ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease)
The best strain for ALS may depend on the symptoms a patient of this neurodegenerative disease displays and how they wish to relieve symptoms associated with ALS. Because ALS symptoms can be psychological as well as physical, there may be more than one strain that helps.
ALS is a debilitating disease that can affect many of a patient's motor functions. For that reason, it's important to consult a medical professional about how medical marijuana use can complement any treatments you are currently receiving.
What Is ALS & What Are the Symptoms?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)—also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease—is a condition that affects the motor neurons. These nerve cells are located in the brain and spinal cord and control our voluntary muscle movement. ALS is one of the qualifying conditions for a medical card in AZ and some other states.
Over time, this motor neuron disease causes the motor neurons to degenerate and die. The result of this is a weakening of the muscles, twitches, and muscle atrophy (muscle weakness). ALS is progressive, meaning that the worsening of the symptoms eventually leads to a loss of the ability to control voluntary movement. Currently, there is no known cure or treatment that can reverse or slow its progression.
Early symptoms include:
Muscle spasms in the arm, leg, shoulder, or tongue
Weakness in the muscles that can affect the arm, leg, neck, or diaphragm
Slurred and/or nasal speech
Increased difficulty chewing or swallowing
These symptoms will spread to other parts of the sufferer’s body and gradually become more serious as the disease progresses. As well as the physical symptoms of ALS, patients often suffer from stress or anxiety caused by the progression of the disease.
Best Cannabis Strains for ALS
Try the following medical cannabis strains for alleviating ALS symptoms:
Stephen Hawking Kush
Stephen Hawking is perhaps the most famous sufferer of ALS. SHK is an indica-dominant strain with around 12% CBD and 5-12% THC (depending on the harvest). This balance makes SHK very medicinal in nature.
SHK can help ALS patients overcome symptoms of ALS like pain, anxiety, and stress. It’s also one of the best strains for muscle spasms and could also help with the tremors that ALS patients often experience.
Jack Herer is a famous and popular sativa-dominant strain that’s high in THC. It can be effective for combating depression and stress brought on by ALS and is also a popular option as far as MMJ for anxiety.
Jamaican Lion is a strain with a relatively high (13%) CBD content and around 8% THC. It can help fight anxiety, pain, and inflammation as well as muscular spasms.
Arctic Blue is a psychoactive strain with up to 25% THC that may be helpful for treating ALS. This strain is most effective for inducing a state of relaxation and may help with feelings of stress or anxiety caused by the disease.
Pre-98 Bubba Kush
Pre-98 Bubba Kush is most useful for alleviating pain thanks to its 20% THC content. This strain may help some patients relax and fall asleep. It is also said to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.
Hong Kong has a high (25%) THC content, meaning that it's a highly psychoactive strain and not recommended for new users. Hong Kong can be effective for nausea, insomnia, depression, and muscle spasms.
How Can Medical Marijuana Help With ALS?
Though medical marijuana can't cure ALS, it could go some way toward treating some of the symptoms caused by this disease. Research has shown that cannabis may help to relieve ALS symptoms including muscle spasticity, appetite loss, and body pain. Cannabis consumption is also linked to stress and anxiety relief.
Therefore, though cannabis won't cure ALS, patients may find relief for some of their symptoms. Always consult your doctor about how cannabis can work with your current ALS treatments before purchasing or consuming it.
Benefits of Medical Cannabis for ALS
Research supports these potential benefits of marijuana for ALS relief:
Muscle spasticity can interfere with your daily activities. However, conventional drugs can cause unwelcome side effects like weakness or drowsiness. A study suggested that muscle tremors were reduced by the use of cannabinoids as part of medical marijuana treatment.
Pain is one of the most distressing and debilitating symptoms of ALS. Though painkillers are routinely prescribed, their effect on the liver as well as their potentially addictive nature makes medical marijuana an appealing alternative for some. In one study, 2/3 of patients noted the benefits of cannabis for pain relief.
In the same study, improved sleep was also reported as the second most commonly reported benefit of marijuana use. This could be interesting for MMJ users suffering from ALS as stress and anxiety may lead to sleep loss.
Evidence suggests that appetite loss as a result of several conditions could be stimulated through the use of medical cannabis.
Slowing Progression of the Disease
There has even been a suggestion that cannabis may be able to slow ALS's progression. This, in turn, could lead to a longer life expectancy.
How to Get an MMJ Card for ALS in Arizona
To get an AZ MMJ card, you must have one of Arizona’s qualifying conditions. You will typically need to provide medical documents to prove you have one of these conditions or go for an in-person evaluation.
If you already have documentation that shows you have ALS, you can book an online MMJ appointment with expert doctors who can help you through the entire process. Your papers will be submitted on the same day as your appointment. The Arizona Department of Health Services will then start processing your application and approve it (if you’re eligible) within five business days. Please note that the application process in other states may be different.
Medical Marijuana Can Help
Medical cannabis can provide relief from a range of common ALS symptoms, as well as help you feel calmer and more relaxed. Obtaining an MMJ card in Arizona exempts you from the excise tax and enables you to receive cannabis delivered to your home. Benefits are also available to ALS patients in several other states with a medical cannabis program (you can check the qualifying conditions in your state by performing a quick Google search).
Because ALS can cause serious and debilitating symptoms, it's important to coordinate your regular treatment with any medical marijuana treatment you wish to try. Consult an experienced doctor to discuss how medical cannabis could complement your current treatment plan.