Apr 5, 2019 | admin | Blog
Living with ALS: How Medical Marijuana Can Extend Life Expectancy
The recent passing away of world famous physicist Stephen Hawking has drawn renewed attention to the case of ALS. The degenerative disorder affects about a thousand Canadians each year and a similar number lose their lives within the first five years of their diagnosis.
What is ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a motor neuron disorder and is often referred to as the Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s a rare disease that can cause the sensorimotor neurons to decay and die out prematurely.
With ALS, patients lose the ability to control their motor movements. They gradually form difficulty in doing every day actions like chewing food, talking, walking and in some cases, they often have trouble breathing.
Causes and risk factors of ALS
Doctors still aren’t sure what exactly causes this degenerative disease but it’s believed that nearly 10 percent of such cases are inherited by an immediate family member. Children whose parents or grandparents are diagnosed with ALS have a fifty percent chance of developing it in their late adulthood.
Some studies show that ALS has high correlations with gene mutations and chemical imbalances. The high concentration of glutamates—which are the brain’s chemical messengers—near the spinal cord area can lead to higher risk of developing ALS. Other studies show that an immune system dysfunction can lead the body’s defence system to prepare an attack on itself.
ALS usually occurs around old age, with many patients experiencing their first muscular twitches around 50 or 60 years old. It affects males more than females and can lead to exacerbated risks for those who smoke on the regular.
Some common ALS treatments
Modern science does not have a cure for ALS. There are some prescription drugs that are aimed at treating the disorder by reducing its pressure on the nerves and brain cells. Although these drugs can reduce the speed at which ALS operates, there is no definitive evidence claiming they can cure the disease all over.
Marijuana as a possible solution
Experts today are considering the possibility of using medical marijuana as an effective treatment because it has the potential to soothe some of the nerve damage caused by ALS.
Nerve damage in ALS involves oxidatative stress which is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Since marijuana has antioxidant properties, it can balance out the ratios and reduce the harmful effects of the free radicals.
Another aspect of nerve damage includes excitotoxicity; which targets already damaged nerves. When a tissue is injured, the glutamate concentration in the region spikes up. Uncontrolled levels of glutamates in the system can be fatal but the use of medical cannabis can help decrease their amount and protect cells from dying.
Where to get medical marijuana?
If you’re living in Edmonton, AB, you can visit our clinic to receive a prescription of medical marijuana. Alternatively, you can sign up to get medical marijuana card online. At auraceuticals, we’ll set you up with the safest marijuana products because we only work with licensed producers that have been approved by Health Canada.