Marijuana May Extend Life Expectancy Of Lou Gehrig’s Disease Patients, Study Says

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 19, 2010

    [Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from this week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s media advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up for NORML’s free e-zine here.]

    Cannabis therapy may reduce symptoms and prolong survival in patients diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS aka Lou Gehrig’s disease), according to a scientific review published online last week by the American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine.

    Investigators at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle and Temple University in Pennsylvania reviewed preclinical and anecdotal data indicating that marijuana appears to treat symptoms of ALS as well as moderate the course of the disease.

    Authors wrote: “Preclinical data indicate that cannabis has powerful antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects. … Cannabis also has properties applicable to symptom management of ALS, including analgesia, muscle relaxation, bronchodilation, saliva reduction, appetite stimulation, and sleep induction. … From a pharmacological perspective, cannabis is remarkably safe with realistically no possibility of overdose or frank physical addiction. There is a valid, logical, scientifically grounded rationale to support the use of cannabis in the pharmacological management of ALS.”

    They added, “Based on the currently available scientific data, it is reasonable to think that cannabis might significantly slow the progression of ALS, potentially extending life expectancy and substantially reducing the overall burden of the disease.”

    Investigators concluded, “There is an overwhelming amount of preclinical and clinical evidence to warrant initiating a multicenter randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of cannabis as a disease-modifying compound in ALS.”

    Writing in the March 2004 issue of the journal Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis & Other Motor Neuron Disorders, investigators at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco reported that the administration of THC both before and after the onset of ALS symptoms staved disease progression and prolonged survival in animals compared to untreated controls. To date, however, no clinical trials have assessed the use of marijuana or any of the plant’s cannabinoids on patients diagnosed with ALS.

    Lou Gehrig’s Disease is a fatal, progressive neurodegenerative disorder that is characterized by the selective loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord, brain stem, and motor cortex. An estimated 30,000 Americans are living with ALS, which often arises spontaneously and afflicts otherwise healthy adults. An estimated 70 to 80 percent of patients with ALS die within three to five years following the onset of disease symptoms.

    45 responses to “Marijuana May Extend Life Expectancy Of Lou Gehrig’s Disease Patients, Study Says”

    1. freedom says:

      So as the studies and evidents piles up , drug warriors and the ONDCP are looking more and more like ….well liars terrorizing people for no good reason. Still we are tyranized by these thugs , time to kick the bastards out…all of them!

    2. Anonymous says:


    3. Deborah Carlyle says:

      has there been any studies that link cannabis and a seizure disorder? (epilepsy)


    4. Nic says:

      Here in the wilderness I have wondered

      What world do I live in?


      Imagine a world populated with people who are drug cops

      America was forged out of the ashes of Europe

      America is the Last Place of Sanctuary

      America must remain true to the vision of the founding fathers.

    5. Nic says:

      Awaiting moderation

      And wondering about my little soul


      If you have money

      Send it to NORML

      In The meantime

      Consider your place

      Tell me again that you you do not believe

      May I Pray For You

    6. Nic says:

      Open The Door

    7. Nic says:

      Sometimes I Wonder about

      The civilized population

      It is my opinion

      Good people embrace Eternal Places and Understanding


    8. randy nc says:

      Yes but what about the money that big pharms will lose if this mode of treatment becomes commonplace. You know that those employees have kids don’t you. What about those children!?!

    9. ckdk30 says:

      Another disease it possibly helps, Come on America!!! And I’m not talking to the people,they obviously know already but with the victorious win of Rand Paul only shows we as American’s will vote your ass out and vote someone in that is on the same page as THE PEOPLE.

    10. dirk krueger says:

      I have als and do not live anywhere where I could legally try this out. any suggestion would be helpful.