Seattle, WA: 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 muscle movement.
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: