Does CBD oil help with ALS?

In case you were wondering, traditional CBD oil does not make you high in the slightest! Now that we’ve dealt with that urban myth, let’s dive right into what this cutting-edge medical miracle can do!

Although the finer details of CBD is still in the early stages of scientific research, incredible evidence has already emerged in pre-clinical trials done on animals as well as on humans. At this stage, scientists have confirmed that the results point only towards positive benefits, in various different physical and emotional conditions. With widespread qualitative data supporting the global hypotheses, CBD has earned glowing user reviews, reported to improve well over fifty different ailments. These range from reducing depression and anxiety, to healing gastrointestinal conditions and even lessening the appearance of wrinkles!

What with all the hype, a few months ago I started to wonder if CBD could be of benefit to serious degenerative diseases such as ALS. To cut right to the chase, CBD cannot cure ALS but it provides significant physical and emotional relief, acting as an effective anti-spasmodic. There is also speculation that the extract can prevent further degeneration and extend lifespan in motor neuron patients. This is based on clinical trials done on animals, as well as human, motor neuron disease patients. A close family member was diagnosed with ALS about 1 year ago, after I noticed them frequently tripping and dropping objects. They have now been taking CBD for 6 months and I can testify that CBD significantly improved their quality of life, and reduced the severity of their spasms.

CBD is an effective anti-spasmodic for ALS and motor neuron disease patients, significantly improving quality of life.

What is CBD oil? How does it affect the body? 

Although CBD is derived from the Cannabis plant, if you whipped out a bottle of CBD at a party, you would be met with a whole heap of laughter (and possibly mild disappointment). CBD has been approved by the World Health Organization as non-addictive and “safe to consume in large doses”. The common misconception is that CBD is made from marijuana, when in fact it is extracted from hemp. These plants both belong to the cannabis family, but while marijuana contains intoxicating compounds known as THC, hemp does not. Technically, hemp can only be classified as hemp if it has less than 0.3 percent THC in it. While CBD has zero chances of intoxicating effects, the extract comes with a host of medical benefits.

Cannabinoids (CBD) interact with the body’s inbuilt endocannabinoid system, including the CB1 receptor in the brain which is responsible for movement and co-ordination. As a result CBD has been shown to have anti-spasticity properties, beneficial to those suffering from neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS. Even better than this, recent research points towards the fact that CBD may actually preserve the motor skills affected by ALS. Some studies (done on rodents) have even shown an increased life expectancy in treated animals. While CBD cannot cure ALS, it is certainly the best chance we’ve got for prolonging life and keeping the disease at bay.

What is ALS? What causes it? 

Otherwise known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that is characterized by the progressive deterioration of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Due to the fact that the spine carries messages from the brain to muscles all over the body, this means that complete muscle control is eventually lost. Additionally, the condition causes muscles surrounding the spine to physically waste away, as the brain no longer directs nourishment to them as needed. This results in “scarring” around the spinal cord known as “sclerosis”. Unfortunately ALS is a progressive disease, meaning that it causes a slow deterioration that is ultimately fatal.

Illness is one of life’s harsh realities, and the sad part is that it’s not always within one’s control. There are two varieties of ALS, the first being Sporadic ALS which can strike even the most health conscious individuals. Sporadic ALS accounts for over 90 percent of all ALS cases, with the remaining 5 to 10 percent attributed to familial ALS. Familial ALS is passed down through genetics, with a 50 percent likelihood that offspring will receive it. Typically the disease only manifests between the ages of 40 and 70, meaning that if a person doesn’t have access to family medical history, they could easily pass it on to their children before their symptoms manifest.

Could CBD work to treat ALS?

While CBD cannot cure ALS, it can significantly improve symptoms of spasticity and make remaining life expectancy a much more pleasant experience. The effect of CBD on spasticity has been proven in a number of trials, conducted on both animals and motor neuron disease patients. You can take a look at these studies yourself in the links below, but for now I would like to personally testify that using CBD has noticeably improved the quality of life of my family member with ALS. For me personally, the mood enhancing properties of the plant extract have provided a welcome relief from my mounting anxiety and depression.

CBD and ALS studies

Safety and Efficacy on Spasticity Symptoms of a Cannabis Sativa Extract in Motor Neuron Disease (CANALS)

This Italian study is famous for its findings on the benefits of CBD-THC oral spray (nabiximols) in patients with ALS, and showed a reduction in spasticity.
Available to read here.

Efficacy and safety of cannabinoid oromucosal spray for multiple sclerosis spasticity

The results of this study prove that Sativex (medicinal cannabis extract)  “can be a useful and safe option for patients with MS with moderate to severe spasticity.”
Available to read here.

CBD as a promising strategy to treat and prevent movement disorders

This study explains in detail how the CB1 receptors (controlling movement and other functions) respond positively to CBD.
Available to read here.

CBD oil for primary lateral sclerosis

CBD oil has a positive effect on patients suffering from primary lateral sclerosis too, showing significant improvements in spasticity. The scientific studies point towards the fact that motor neuron diseases of all kinds may be improved by cannabis extracts, particularly sativa-derivatives (nabiximols). Due to the fact that CBD has a positive effect on the CB1 receptors that control movement, scientists hypothesize a breakthrough in the treatment of motor neuron diseases.

Does CBD oil have side effects?

CBD is a one hundred percent plant-derived extract, which according to Medical News Today has a total of zero side effects. The World Health Organisation has confirmed this in a statement released in 2018, noting that “to date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” However, although there aren’t any side effects associated with cannabinoids, one percent of CBD users are prone to cannabis allergies. The reactions vary from individual to individual, but typically range from flu-like symptoms to a sporadic outbreak of hives.

In severe cases the allergic reaction can cause anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal if left untreated. However this is incredibly rare, and there are noticeable warning signs (such as facial swelling) that provides an opportunity for immediate intervention. For this reason the World Health Organization has declared CBD “safe to consume in large doses” and ninety nine percent of CBD users report only positive benefits. If you are concerned, it is possible to get tested for cannabis allergies, so chat to your doctor about this and to see if the CBD will react with any other medications you may be taking.

Final Verdict: CBD oil as an ALS treatment 

I would definitely recommend using CBD oils for the relief of spasms caused by ALS. Not only has CBD improved my physical quality of life, but the plant extract has helped to soothe and lift my spirits as well. Although CBD cannot cure ALS, I am comforted in the knowledge that it provides me with an improvement in symptoms that has prolonged my state of health. The best news is that early scientific research points towards CBD facilitating an extended life expectancy, and the preservation of existing motor skills. While we can only hope that the preliminary scientific hypotheses prove accurate, it’s certainly worth a shot!

Now It’s Your Turn  

If you have a story about anything cannabis-related, especially CBD oil or CBD in general, please drop a comment below and help add to this educational forum. With scientific research still in the early stages of proving the multiple benefits of CBD, qualitative data in the form of reviews is a valuable educational resource. Many people considering giving CBD a go turn to online forums in search of unbiased testimonies on the power of the plant extract. You never know what impact your story may have, and it could be the one that makes a difference for someone contemplating whether or not to give CBD a try.