The CBD Experts
Is CBD Oil Treatment for ALS viable?
New research is focusing on the idea of using CBD oil treatment for ALS. But is it a viable product for the degenerative disease?
With no known cure, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a devastating diagnosis. Although the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) concedes “there are treatments available that can help control symptoms,” the condition ends in death.
After a diagnosis, can a CBD oil treatment for ALS improve quality of life over an extended period of time? This is the question researchers are working to find out.
What is ALS?
NINDS defines ALS as “a group of rare neurological diseases that mainly involve the nerve cells (neurons) responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movement.” Every year, the ALS Association estimates 6,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease – an average of 15 every day.
ALS symptoms include involuntary muscle twitches, cramping, weakness, and difficulty eating. There is no known cause of ALS and it is not contageous. Research suggests genetics and environment could be factors in who gets ALS. After an ALS diagnosis, a team of medical professionals can sometimes help patients maintain their quality of life.
Famous ALS patients include baseball hall-of-famer Lou Gehrig and respected astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. With Gehrig, the disease was first noticed by journalists and teammates. Gehrig, who’s name is synonymous with ALS, retired shortly after his diagnosis at 36. He lived less than two years before his untimely death from a complication of ALS.
In Hawking’s case, family members noticed reduced coordination skills and slurred speech before his diagnosis at 21. Despite a life expectancy of only two years, the scientist lived for over 50 years with the disease.
What do studies say about CBD oil treatment for ALS?
Due to previous stigma of cannabinoids in medicine, limited research exists on CBD oil treatment for ALS. Yet, what is available suggests there could be hope for CBD oil users.
The biggest argument for using CBD oil treatment for ALS came in 2010. A paper published by the peer-reviewed American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care suggested cannabinoids may help people with ALS. Researchers from the University of Washington Medical Center discovered CBD contains medicinal properties, including: “analgesia, muscle relaxation, bronchodilation, saliva reduction, appetite stimulation, and sleep induction.” The doctors pushed for more research into CBD oil treatment for ALS.
This lead to a 2017 literature review published in CNS & Neurological Disorders Drug Targets. To determine the effectiveness of CBD. the team reviewed studies of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and ALS where patients were given CBD.
“Pre-clinical evidence largely shows that CBD can produce beneficial effects,” the researchers concluded. “But its employment for these disorders needs further confirmation from well designed clinical studies.”
What other treatment options are available today?
Because of the complexity of ALS, many treatment options exist. Doctors suggest a multi-tiered approach consisting of physicians, nutrition specialists and breathing specialists.
Two medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for ALS treatment are Rilutek (riluzole) and Radicava (edaravone injection). Rilutek is a pill taken twice a day, while Radicava is an hour-long injection given by a doctor. Reported side effects in Rilutek include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, and loss of appetite. Radicava side effects include bruising, problems walking, headache or allergic reactions.
Physical therapy, speech therapy, nutritional and breathing support are also recommended for ALS patients. When combined with medications and other treatments, NINDS suggests those with ALS may have a better quality of life.
Should I start using a CBD oil treatment for ALS?
Peer-reviewed studies of CBD oil treatment for ALS suggests a correlation between cannabinoids and reduced symptoms. While the world needs more research outside of self-reporting and literature reviews, current evidence suggests that CBD oil could be effective.
Although qualified research is available, it’s important to note that the FDA has not approved cannabinoids or CBD oil as a drug to treat ALS. Only Rilutek and Radicava are approved medications from clinical trials. Before starting any CBD oil treatment for ALS, talk to your doctor about potential interactions and side effects you could experience.
How much of a CBD oil treatment for ALS should I start?
While starting a CBD oil treatment for ALS could be beneficial for your health, it’s important to understand how much to take. CBD oil tinctures and CBD oil capsules come with different concentrations of CBD oil, and what may work for one person may not work for someone else.
Like taking any vitamin or nutraceutical, start by considering your body weight and the severity of your symptoms. Smaller people with less severe conditions may need a lower amount of CBD oil, while larger individuals who are experiencing more symptoms may want for a higher dose.
In our opinion, we would start with a serving size between 15mg and 25mg of CBD oil. From there, you can adjust based on your experiences. If you don’t find the right balance immediately, don’t be afraid to experiment with different amounts and oils. The best CBD oils come from plants grown in the United States, with CBD extracted using a hybrid full-spectrum CO2 process.More and more research is pointing to CBD helping those who suffer from ALS. Learn how the natural pain relief can help improve your well being.
CBD relieves the symptoms of ALS
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS or motor neurone disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that causes the depletion of the motor neurons in the body, i.e the neurons that are responsible for muscle movement. Although the average life expectancy is around 2-5 years after the initial diagnosis, (this is not the case for everyone look at Steven Hawkins for example!), several studies have shown that CBD can help to relieve some symptoms of ALS.
Many people around the world were unaware of what ALS was until 2015. A Facebook campaign called the ‘ice bucket challenge’ was recently launched to raise awareness of the disease. People all over the world including celebrities were having buckets of ice cold water thrown over them, to symbolise the feeling of the dying nerve endings that ALS sufferers have to endure on a daily basis. The campaign quickly became viral and has been one of the most successful in Facebook history, raising more than 100 million dollars and leading to the discovery of some ground breaking research.
Symptoms of ALS
Despite this breakthrough there are still millions of people around the world that are suffering from this disease. The main symptoms of ALS include:
- Progressive muscle weakness
- Slurred speech
- Abnormal fatigue of the arms and legs
- Muscle cramps and twitches
- Uncontrollable periods of laughing or crying
CBD or cannabidiol has been known to ease severe pains and can bring some relief to the symptoms of ALS:
- Analgesic properties: ALS is a painful disease, so CBD is used to ease the pain.
- Muscle relaxation: ALS causes the muscles to seize up, CBD helps to relax the body and relieve some of the tension.
- Bronchodilation: CBD opens up the airways making it easier for the sufferer to breathe.
- Saliva reduction: As the disease develops it becomes more and more difficult for the sufferer to swallow, causing an increase of saliva developing in the mouth, CBD consumption causes the saliva glands to stop producing so much saliva.
- Appetite stimulation: Similar to THC CBD can cause the user to feel hungry after consumption.
- Inducing sleep: CBD can make the user feel sleepy, which is good for people who are in pain and find it difficult to both fall asleep and stay asleep.
A study undertaken at the Complutense University in Madrid showed the effects of CBD in mice with ALS. The mice were administered small doses of CBD and the effects were monitored for a short period of time. They found that due to the CBD the progression of the disease in fact slowed down, extending the life expectancy of the mice by 6 days on average. This time frame was translated into three years for humans.Although life expectancy for people with ALS is around 2-5 years, several studies have shown that CBD relieves symptoms of ALS. ]]>