- SEATTLE - Patients with amyotrophic
lateral sclerosis (ALS) experience symptom relief after smoking cannabis,
according to a study published in the March/April issue of the American
Journal of Palliative Care.
- According to the study's findings, based on an anonymous
survey of ALS patients conducted by the MDA/ALS Center at the University
of Washington, respondents found marijuana to be "moderately effective
at reducing symptoms of appetite loss, depression, pain, spasticity, and
drooling." Cannabis' depression-relieving effects lasted two to three
hours, patients reported.
- The survey is the first ever conducted regarding use
of medicinal cannabis among patients with ALS. Also known as Lou Gehrig's
disease, ALS is a chronic, often fatal condition marked by a gradual degeneration
of the nerve cells in the central nervous system that control voluntary
- Respondents said that cannabis was ineffective in reducing
difficulties with speech and swallowing, and sexual dysfunction.
- A previous clinical trial examining the effectiveness
of Marinol (synthetic THC) on patients with ALS found it to improve appetite,
sleep, and muscle tightness.
- For more information, please contact Paul Armentano,
NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Abstracts of the study,
entitled "Survey of cannabis use in patients with amyotrophic lateral
sclerosis," are available online at: http://www.pnpco.com/pn01035.html