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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Marijuana Helps ALS: Take the "Nug Bucket Challenge"

Posted By on Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 11:38 AM

B-Real is a goofball, but by dumping a bucket of marijuana on his head, the Cypress Hill rapper and certified cannabis incinerator illustrates a very salient point: ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, might not have a cure, but sufferers of the disease do have a drug that works.

And that drug is marijuana.

The much-heralded, done-to-death Ice Bucket Challenge is rightly praised for raising around $80 million for the national ALS Association, which will dispense of the money as it sees fit (to local chapters, to scientists, to ice machines, we'll see). Along with every mention of a billionaire or celebrity taking a few minutes out of his or her day is the message that ALS has no cure. 

This is true. But a Florida woman has lived with ALS since 1986, after being told she'd die no later than 1991. She says marijuana has kept her alive. So perhaps B-Real isn't so silly at all. Perhaps every mention of an ice bucket should come with a message that cannabis apparently works on ALS.

It's remarkable how little buckets of ice have taught everyday people basic facts about ALS: it's a neurodegenerative disorder that causes nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to disintegrate. It strikes healthy adults, it strikes without warning, and it's usually fatal within two-and-a-half years. And you die in a particularly slow and painful way, losing control of your body and you often end up choking or suffocating to death because you can't move or breathe. 

As usual, there are no clinical studies involving cannabinoids and ALS in humans, and you have the federal marijuana prohibition to thank for that. But a "preclinical" study conducted by researchers from California Pacific Medical Center here in San Francisco found that mice exposed to THC just before or after the onset of ALS experienced a slowdown in the progression of the disease. In other words, the disease was still present, but it came on much slower when the patient was using marijuana. 

In other words, a person with ALS may be able to use cannabis to live.

In Cathy Jordan's case, she's lived with ALS for nearly 30 years. The Parrish, Florida woman says that she tried marijuana after deciding that she was going to commit suicide rather than die from ALS. She tried a joint on the beach on Florida on a vacation prior to her determined overdose date, because, why not, she was dying anyway. That was the day the disease came to a halt, she tells the Bradenton Herald.

"I didn't believe her. But she got better," her husband told the newspaper. "She started walking, and we actually have film of her after on a little boat with the dogs, and swimming, all kinds of stuff. It was a miracle, but it's not a miracle, it's a plant. It's medicine that works."

  • Yup.

Brandon Krenzler, a dad in Oregon
whose daughter's leukemia was put to bed by cannabis oil, is telling people on Facebook to put down the ice bucket and pick up cannabis. Because marijuana appears to be the closest thing to a cure for ALS there is.

(h/t Parents For Pot)
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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.

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