Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania

With the legalization of medical marijuana growing throughout the United States, an increasing number of people are transitioning from harmful opioids to cannabis to treat symptoms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

A few questions we seek to answer related to medical marijuana treatment for ALS are:

  • Can medical marijuana be a beneficial therapeutic tool in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) treatment?
  • Is the cannabis ALS treatment approach safe and effective?

Overview

What It Is: ALS is a terminal neurodegenerative condition that causes dysfunction of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. The disease is characterized by relentless weakening and wasting away of muscles.

What It is Not: ALS, however, does not impact a person’s senses (vision, hearing, taste, smell, and touch), intellectual reasoning, or the bowel and bladder functions.

What is the Cause of ALS: The exact cause for ALS is ambiguous, but experts theorize that environmental and genetic factors may be contributing to the deterioration of motor neurons.

What are the Stages: The disorder often begins with muscle twitching or mild slurring of words but in the later stage affects walking, chewing, swallowing, speaking and the ability to breathe which eventually results in demise due to respiratory failure.

Some Stats:

  • Between 2 and 5 in every 100,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with ALS
  • The condition typically strikes individuals between 40 and 70 years although it can occur at a younger age
  • Most patients live for 3 to 5 years after the onset of symptoms, but some may survive 10 years or longer

The Qualifying Condition of ALS

The ALS symptoms may differ from person to person. But the most common signs include:

  • Twitching and cramping of muscles
  • Fatigue
  • Tripping and falling
  • Clumsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Uncontrollable bouts of laughing/crying
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Breathing problems and more.

On suspecting the condition, it’s important to consult a doctor and undergo a number of lab tests for a proper diagnosis, such as:

  • Muscle and nerve biopsy
  • Spinal tap
  • X-rays
  • MRI
  • Electro-diagnostic procedures

Once the debilitating condition is evaluated and verified by a medical professional the patient battling ALS is eligible to choose medical marijuana for relief provided he conforms to the laws of the state.

Therapeutic Benefits of cannabis treatment for ALS

Over the last few decades, there has been a lot of focus on the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids (vital components of medical marijuana) in the management of the central nervous system disease.

Reduce Nerve Damage: Research on animal models suggests the potent antioxidant, neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis derivatives show promise in reducing some of the nerve damage which is a key issue for ALS patients.

Slow the Progression: While there is no substantial evidence from clinical trials that cannabis-based medical treatment can cure ALS, several observational studies indicate that it can delay the progression of the ailment and increase life expectancy.

Relief From the Symptoms: Also, careful dosing of medical marijuana can improve the quality of life by helping alleviate the symptoms related to the lethal disease such as muscle spasticity, immobility, drooling, dysarthria, insomnia, depression, appetite loss and pain to name a few.

That said, there is a need to observe caution and consult a licensed doctor about the pros and cons of cannabinoid medicine alongside the possibility of interactions/side effects with prescription drugs before giving it a shot for ALS treatment.

Short Introduction to Getting Medical Marijuana Card

To get access to cannabis for ALS, a patient doesn’t just need certification from a bonafide physician that he/she has an ALS condition that qualifies for its usage.

Given that marijuana is a controlled substance prohibited by the federal government, the possession of medical marijuana identification (ID) cards for the affliction is vital to avoid any potential civil and criminal penalties at the state level.

The procedure for getting the card for marijuana usage is simple:

  • An ALS patient armed with a signed physician’s recommendation and proof of residency of the state can register online for an appointment to start the approval process.
  • This involves a review of the medical history, followed by discussions, and an examination by a doctor to confirm his/her condition meets the criteria for ALS medical marijuana treatment.
  • Once a card has been obtained, the registered user can buy effective strains of accurately labeled marijuana products through state-approved dispensaries, and health clinics without any fear of facing legal issues, potential fines or jail time.

Looking to get a medical marijuana card for yourself or for someone you care for? Contact us today at 888-316-9085 or info@cccenters.org.