Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis which is abbreviated ALS, is a progressive disease that affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord that controls muscles. This disease is known to affect motor neurons and that explains why as it progresses, the muscles get weaker to the extent that it becomes difficult to walk, eat, talk and breathe. As a matter of fact, this disease destroys nerve cells, thereby causing disability. With ALS, the motor neurons in both the brain and spinal cord break down and die. Of course, when this happens, the brain is unable to send messages to the muscles and since the muscles do not get enough signal, they become very weak such that the patient tends to lose control over their movement.
ALS typically begins with muscle twitching and weakness in a limb, or slurred speech, even though it eventually affects control of the muscle needed to speak, eat, breathe, and move. The early signs of ALS include difficulty to walk, weakness in leg, feet or ankle, hand weakness/clumsiness, tripping and falling, slurred speech or troubles swallowing, muscle cramps or twitching in the tongue, shoulders and arms, as well as difficulty holding the head up or keeping a good posture. Also, ALS often starts in the hands, feet or limbs before spreading to other parts of the body. However, ALS does not affect the bowel, bladder control, senses or thinking ability.
This condition has no known cause even though there are indications that 5 to 10 percent of the cases are inherited. According to researchers, there are several possible causes of ALS, including chemical imbalance, gene mutation, disorganized immune response, as well as protein mishandling. Certain environmental factors such as smoking, military service as well as exposure to environmental toxins are also considered risk factors for ALS. ALS typically results in many complications, including speaking, breathing and eating problems as well as dementia. There is no treatment that can cure or reverse the damage of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, but there are various treatment options aimed at slowing the progression of symptoms and preventing complications. The treatment options for ALS, include medications and therapies including speech, physical, occupational as well as breathing therapies.
Some scientists have asserted that CBD could be effective in treating the symptoms of ALS. A study that was conducted in 2017 observed positive results in the condition of a 40 year old ALS patient who self-medicated with CBD. Similarly, researchers at the European Journal of Pharmacology have equally provided shreds of evidences that CBD could be effective in treating the symptoms of ALS. It is worthy to note that these researchers were able to induce a model form of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in mouse. The researchers, however observed delayed progression of the disease, after the activation of the cannabinoid CB2 receptor, which CBD is known to significantly interact with.
Of course, the 2017 study goes a long way to mirror the results of a similar study that was conducted in 2004 and published via the World Federation of Neurology. This study clearly revealed delayed disease progression in ALS afflicted mice, by treatment with CBD.
The findings from another study that was conducted by the Complutense University in Spain also indicated that CBD oil greatly slowed down the progression of the symptoms of ALS. It should be noted that this study was also conducted on mice with ALS. Moreover, research has equally shown that CBD oil helps in regulating the functioning of the nervous system such as by increasing the speed at which chemical compounds involved in the muscular movement are broken down. Of course, such a finding is considered as great news for patients, in whom muscle movement is already compromised to the extent of needing extra boost.
Another important study on the role of CBD in treating ALS, was conducted in 2010 and published in the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care. This study, which presented both hypothetical and practical applications for the treatment of ALS with cannabinoid-based therapies, goes a long way to buttress the claim that CBD could be effective in the treatment of the condition. The findings from this study were so positive that it prompted the authors to call for action on behalf of viable clinical trials to be conducted using cannabinoids on actual diagnosed ALS patients.
There is however a need for more human studies to be conducted on this subject because most of the previous studies have focused on mice and not on humans.
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