Can We Use CBD To Treat ALS?


ALS is also called Lou Gehrig’s disease and is a degenerative disorder. This disorder is named after the famous baseball player Lou Gehrig, who was the first person to be formally diagnosed with the disorder. ALS is characterized by worsening muscle strength and control, which can result in the inability in swallowing and speaking at later stages.

The modern treatment options available for ALS aims at palliative care, rather than curative solutions. The treatment aims at helping the person deal with discomfort and pain and also focuses on extending the life expectancy of the person. Recently, there has been a focus on using CBD to treat the symptoms of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Let us discuss the possible use of CBD in managing the symptoms of ALS. Before that, let us see what ALS is.

What Is ALS? 

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, in short, ALS is a degenerative disorder that leads to atrophy and weakening of the muscles in the body. The disorder can make it a challenging task to move the limbs. Apart from this, the disorder can also affect many functions inside the body, which can include swallowing and respiration. As there is no known cure for the disorder, it can eventually lead to the death of the person due to respiratory failure.

Treatment Options 

Despite the best efforts of medical professionals all over the world, there are no medical treatments available to treat or prevent ALS. Most of the currently available treatments try to delay the worsening of symptoms. ALS support group plans can also be beneficial for the patients as these groups can help improve their mental health. Riluzole, available under the brand name Rilutek has been used as the primary treatment for ALS. The medicine can slow down the progression of the disorder and can increase the life expectancy of the patient.

The main problem with Rilutek is that it is very expensive and can result in many side effects. For instance, many patients report general flu-like symptoms, nausea, and stomach pain after taking the medicine regularly. However, CBD can be used to address the side effects of these medications, thereby letting the patients be less stressed. CBD can also help in making life easier for the patients.

Studies On Using CBD For ALS 

More and more studies have been conducted over the years to find the efficacy of using CBD for ALS. A report from Emanuela Mazzon and Sabrina Giacoppo for the Journal of Neural Regenerative Research studied the effects of different cannabinoid compounds on the progression of ALS and found that the medicine Sativex, which is a 1:1 mix of CBD and THC, cannabinol (CBN), and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) had positive effects on the disorder. The effects included a reduction in oxidative stress, slowing down the progression of the disease, and protection of the nervous system.

Most of the findings on the effects of CBD for ALS are based on animal studies. Despite the lack of human studies and trials, a case report by Gerald Nahler discussed the effects of co-medication with CBD on ALS symptoms. The method of co-medication works by pairing CBD with another conventionally available medication for ALS. This is because some medications work together with CBD and produce more effects with CBD.

This effect is particularly observed in people with epilepsy where a reduction in seizures is observed when a mixture of conventional epilepsy medication and CBD is used. The effect is especially seen when CBD is used together with the epilepsy medication Clobazam. The case report by Gerald Nahler demonstrated that using Riluzole and CBD together helped to slow down the progression of ALS.

Is CBD Oil Only Useful In Co-Medication? 

It might seem that the only use of CBD is in conjunction with the conventional medications used in the treatment of ALS. However, this is not true. People taking CBD oil can still enjoy the different benefits that CBD can offer. For instance, users of CBD products have stated that it can help increase relaxation, ease pain, and reduce stress. Besides, CBD is known to have anxiolytic and pain-relieving properties.

The capability of CBD to control inflammation and regulate the immune system can also be beneficial to ALS patients. Health experts have suggested that people suffering from ALS have increased levels of inflammation and that dysfunction in immune response might lead to ALS. Even though there is no specific evidence claiming that CBD can be beneficial in the reduction of inflammation in ALS patients, using it might have positive effects.

As CBD is readily available in many states, people suffering from ALS can use CBD products to reduce the symptoms of the disorder. Many studies conducted to find the effects of CBD on ALS symptoms found that people can benefit much from the use of CBD. Therefore, CBD seems to be a compelling choice for people looking to reduce the effects of various ALS symptoms.