How Medical Marijuana is Providing Help to ALS Patients

There has been mounting evidence that medical marijuana is beneficial to patients who are suffering from ALS. Cannabis has been used to treat ailments in all parts of the world for over 5,000 years, so it is no surprise it can help those suffering from this dreadful disease.


What is ALS?

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or “Lou Gehrig’s disease”, is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. Muscle control gradually begins to break down causing weakness in the limbs. Eventually, patients become unable to chew, swallow or breathe on their own. First noticeable symptoms include slurred speech, cramping, twitching, difficulty walking, drooling and paralysis. This is a quickly progressing disease with no known cure. Most patients only live an average of 3-5 years after diagnosis.

How Does Medical Marijuana Help Ease the Symptoms of ALS?

Recent studies have shown that various symptoms of the disease can potentially be alleviated by the use of medical marijuana. Cannabis can be used to manage the effects of ALS by working as muscle relaxer, appetite stimulator, pain reliever, bronchodilator and sleep aid.

The symptoms that have shown to respond to treatment are:

  • Drooling
  • Pain
  • Spasticity
  • Dyspnea
  • Wasting
  • Dysautonomia
  • Neuronal oxidation
  • Depression


How Do Patients Get Medical Marijuana in Florida?

In November 2016, the State of Florida passed The Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, allowing residents who suffer from qualifying debilitating medical conditions to acquire and use marijuana as treatment.

Patients must provide proof that they are a legal resident of the State of Florida and proper identification to apply for a medical marijuana card.

To obtain Florida medical cannabis you must be diagnosed with one of the qualifying ailments:

  • ALS
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • PTSD
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Or any other illness of the same severity that Florida medical marijuana doctors feel a patient would benefit from the use of medical cannabis.


It is exciting to think medical marijuana could actually prolong the life of those suffering from ALS, in addition to relieving some of the torturous symptoms. This debilitating disease is estimated to affect some 30 million people across the United States. Marijuana has long been known for its ability to relieve side effects and slow the progression of ALS safely. It is a step in the right direction that states, such as Florida, have adapted laws that will greatly impact the quality of life for ALS suffers.