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CBD and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Research around CBD and ALS is still in its infancy, though we do know that conventional therapies for ALS work by suppressing oxidative stress and inflammation while providing neuroprotection. CBD offers all these benefits, and it might be useful in prolonging the survival of neuronal cells and preventing progression of the disease.1 In addition, cannabinoids may help with other ALS symptoms through the promotion of bronchodilation and muscle relaxation as well as improving sleep.2

A recent review concluded that the endocannabinoid system seems to be involved in the pathology of ALS.3 The researchers believe there is great potential for cannabis as a treatment for both the symptoms and the disease itself. In addition, a preclinical study showed that CBD modulates several genes linked to the development of ALS. The same study showed that CBD also modulates the expression of oxidative stress-related genes, and genes linked to ALS-related mitochondrial dysfunction and excitotoxicity.4

  1. Thangavelu Soundara Rajan et al., “Gingival Stromal Cells as an In Vitro Model: Cannabidiol Modulates Genes Linked with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis,” Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 118, no. 4 (2016): 819–28, doi:10.1002/jcb.25757.
  2. Gregory T. Carter et al., “Cannabis and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Hypothetical and Practical Applications, and a Call for Clinical Trials,” American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine 27, no. 5 (2010): 347–56, doi:10.1177/1049909110369531.
  3.  Emanuela Mazzon and Sabrina Giacoppo, “Can Cannabinoids Be a Potential Therapeutic Tool in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis?” Neural Regeneration Research 11, no. 12 (2016): 1896–99, doi:10.4103/1673-5374.197125.
  4. Rajan et al., “Gingival Stromal Cells as an In Vitro Model,” 819–28.