Thursday, January 14, 2016 by Greg White
The medicinal benefits of cannabis oil continue to grow. Early last year, it was reported that cannabis oil could be used to curb Lyme disease. But the medicinal benefits of cannabis oil extend beyond Lyme disease. Multiple testimonies have purported that cannabis oil can help relieve the day-to-day symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.(1,2)
ALS is a degenerative neurological disorder that affects an estimated 30,000 people in the United States at a given time. Symptoms of ALS include muscle weakness, wasting and paralysis of the limbs, including those that control the rhythms of life like swallowing and breathing. The paralysis of these vital muscles lead to respiratory failure, even with breathing aids or a tracheotomy.
Given the nature of the disease, an ALS diagnosis feels like a death sentence for patients. The average life expectancy for a person with ALS is two to five years; however, more than half of ALS patients live with ALS for more than three years after their prognosis. Celebrity scientist Stephen Hawking has lived with the condition for decades.
Cannabis has been long revered as an effective treatment option to alleviate symptoms of ALS, including pain, spasticity, wasting, dyspnea, drooling, depression and neuronal oxidation. Several ALS victims have been able to maintain or slow the progression of their disease with routine, controlled doses of cannabis oil.(1)
Bob Strider, for instance, began experiencing systems of ALS in 1998, including the loss of function of his right arm and difficulties swallowing. As a cannabis enthusiast, Strider has been using cannabis for decades, which he believes helped slow the progression of the malady. In 2012, he began manufacturing cannabis oil and dosing himself with 60 grams a day. After ten days of his regimen, he regained control of his right arm and has quit using opiates to control his pain.(1)
Another cannabis oil success story is Cathy Jordan, who was diagnosed with ALS in 1986 and given five years or less to live. As she was making preparations for her death in the winter of 1989, Jordan smoked a joint with a friend and felt her ALS symptoms disappear.(1)
Jordan never planned to be a cannabis activists. She continued to use her regimen quietly. When she told her neurologists in 1989 that she was using cannabis to treat her ALS, the doctor tried to sway her husband to commit her to a mental facility. In 1994, Jordan crossed paths with a new doctor who was stunned by her progress. When she told the doctor that she had been using cannabis to treat her condition, he advised her to “Smoke all the cannabis you can and never tell a soul, because they will never believe you.”(1)
Despite the clear benefits of cannabis, Donnie Clark, the grower of Myakka Gold, was arrested and sentenced 12 years to prison. His sentence was later commuted by former President Bill Clinton. The strain of cannabis that Jordan credits with combating the progression of her condition has since been eradicated by the DEA.(1)
Cathy Jordan’s story helped inspire the medical marijuana initiative in Florida in the November 2014 election. In an ironic twist of turns, the same day the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Amendment was announced, Jordan’s house was raided. Approximately 23 plants in her house were confiscated by authorities. Her charges were later dropped, since it was blatantly obvious to everyone involved that she was using the cannabis for medicinal purposes.(1)
Years later, evidence continues to mount that shows the benefits of marijuana use. Pre-clinical data attests that cannabis is a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, slows the progression of ALS and prolongs the life expectancy of those afflicted by the condition.