Friday December 7, 2018

By Nicholas Demski


Many Americans suffer from a myriad of diseases, ailments, injuries and chemical imbalances that negatively impact their lives in a significant way. Thanks to modern medicine though, there are just as many options for treatment. Unfortunately, pharmaceuticals aren’t always the answer. For a disease like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, pharmaceutical remedies haven’t kept pace with our understanding of the disease. For those who suffer from ALS, many are all too familiar with the lack of relief found in traditional pharmaceuticals.

We’re by no means medical professionals and you should always talk to your doctor about what’s right for you; but, here’s a comprehensive overview of how to treat ALS with cannabis as well as some of the best strains that have shown to provide relief.

Can Cannabis Help ALS Patients?

If you observe the spinal cord of patients with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, there is macrophagic evidence of damage to the CB2 receptors. When the cannabinoid system is in disarray, cannabis generally has an answer for it. In this case, cannabis can help alter ALS progression by reducing inflammation in the neurons and mitigating oxidative cell damage.

ALS patients also show symptomatic spasticity. Cannabis is an effective method for treatment for spasticity and is uniquely safe with almost no chance of an overdose.

From these symptoms and more, cannabis can be an effective option for people with ALS by mitigating their pain, bronchodilation, muscle tension, loss of appetite, and sleeplessness. The only question is: how should one consume cannabis for ALS?

ALS and Cannabis Consumption

For ALS, a disease that is impacted by cannabinoid regulation, relief through cannabis consumption is achieved via several routes. When pain is located in a specific place, topicals and ointments are a great option for those specific ailments. If spasticity, sleeplessness or inflammation is the main culprit, either smoking, vaporizing or eating cannabis will focus on those issues. Combining ingestion options also helps patients with relief on multiple fronts. When moving to ingest cannabis, there are some strains that ALS patients might consider as their primary relief agents.

Best Strains for ALS Symptoms

For the symptoms listed above like pain, spasticity, and cannabinoid receptor damage, strains with complex compound profiles are recommended, specifically those that are high in THC and CBD. CBD will help ease the pain and reduce spasticity while THC will work with CBD and the dynamic terpene content to offset the cannabinoid receptor damage. Check out some of the best strains to help with ALS:

Sour Diesel

A long-time crowd pleaser, Sour Diesel brings pungent, spicy and sweet smell to the nostrils. When breaking open buds, terpenes burst and a blend of skunk, fuel and fruit spreads through the air. Its unique compound profile makes it a perfect option for ALS patients. With high amounts of THC, CBD and a varied set of terpenes, Sour Diesel provides pain relief, neuronal relaxation and the healing powers of a complete plant medicine.


A strain rich in CBD, ACDC gives you the scent of a cherry field. The robust, earthy smoke is relaxing and smooth like a rich coffee from the mountains of Costa Rica. ACDC is astonishingly low in THC, making it ideal for ALS patients who suffer from severe spasticity but don’t want the psychoactive effects of a strain like Sour Diesel. In ACDC, patients find the deep sense of relaxation and pain relief without the ‘stoned’ effect they may experience in strains with high-THC content.

Blue Dream

Another crowd-pleaser, Blue Dream brings all the cannabinoids to the mix. A good blend of THC, CBD and potent terpenes makes this strain a go-to for many patients of different ailments. It calms the nerves with a high dose of THC, then provides a sense of relaxation throughout the muscles and neurons as the CBD helps to heal the patient. Ultimately, Blue Dream is a healing combination of positive energy during the day and soothing energy at night.

Purple Urkle

The very purple, super tasty strain Purple Urkle is well-known for its pain-reducing qualities. It’s also a fantastic mediator of sleep and anxiety relief, something ALS patients suffer from indirectly as a result of their disease. For people with spasticity and ALS-related pain, Purple Urkle is a perfect strain for the evening and before bed. It’s been helping patients sleep in California since the 1980s and has a long history of respect and appreciation among the patients familiar with it.

Final Thoughts

With the dangers of opioid addiction appearing in the news more often than we’d like, many people are becoming aware of the problems of prescribing such controversial drugs to people on a routine basis. For people with few options but opiates, the ones who turn to cannabis and find relief are grateful for the availability of this plant. While it still remains legally inaccessible in several states across the country, hopefully the doors to relief will soon open for patients in states with limited access to cannabis.

Do you have experience using cannabis to treat ALS symptoms? Share your stories in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Sharon McCutcheon (license)

Nicholas Demski Nicholas Demski

As a former global educator, Nicholas uses his B.S. in biology to leverage his understanding of cannabinoid science into meaningful content for readers. For several years, Nicholas has written for several blogs, including Green Flower, and provided copywriting services for CBD and cannabis companies worldwide. He's also a Staff Writer for Terpenes and Testing Magazine, CBD Health and Wellness Magazine, and Extraction Magazine.

While Nicholas is a medical cannabis patient in Michigan, he has traveled from Spain to Colombia to Cambodia to see what cannabis is like around the world. He uses his background in science, world experience, and unique writing style to help people learn more about cannabis and cannabinoids at and on Instagram @Cannabiologist. You can also connect with Nicholas on his LinkedIn profile.

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