Condition Overview

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive disease of the nervous system that affects muscle control. The condition is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, after the New York Yankees Hall-of-Famer who died of ALS in 1941.

As the disease progresses, motor neurons die and the brain loses its ability to control muscle movement. Initial symptoms include difficulty swallowing, muscle weakness or slurred speech. Voluntary muscle movement is first to go, eventually leading to full paralysis. In the late stages of the disease, involuntary muscle movements, such as breathing, are also disrupted.

Currently, there is no cure for ALS and options for treatment are limited.

Real Life Stories

When Cathy Jordan was diagnosed with ALS in 1986, she was told she had 3 to 5 years to live.  Three years later, she tried smoking marijuana while on vacation in Florida and immediately felt her symptoms subside. Today, she credits marijuana for slowing the progression of her disease, and her doctor agrees. He tells her to “smoke all the marijuana you can…”


Cannabinoids and neuroprotection in motor-related disorders

Cannabinol delays symptom onset in SOD1 (G93A) transgenic mice without affecting survival

Cannabis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: delayed disease progression in mice by treatment with a cannabinoid

Interesting Fact

Marijuana is the ideal treatment for ALS, according to Dr. Gary Carter, an ALS expert and Medical Director of the St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane, Washington. In fact, he has said, “Cannabis is custom made to treat ALS.”