Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a form of motor neuron disease that affects around 30,000 Americans. Currently, no cure exists for ALS, and the life expectancy of an individual suffering from this debilitating disease is between 2-5 years once diagnosed.
Interestingly, ALS patients often turn to cannabis for symptomatic relief; ALS even qualifies for many marijuana programs across the U.S.
Due to the sheer number of strains that currently exist, we have put together our top five cannabis strains to help relieve symptoms of ALS.
Explained: What Is ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), sometimes referred to as Lou Gehrig’s syndrome, became famous after the New York Yankees baseball player was diagnosed with the condition back in the 1930s.
ALS is a condition that causes the death of neurons in the brain, which leads to difficulties functioning both mentally and physically. Over time, bodily functions will eventually shut down and lead to death.
Symptoms of ALS include the following:
- Stiff muscles
- Muscle twitching
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty speaking and swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- Emotional problems
- Issues with saliva production
Marijuana and ALS: The Relationship
So, how can marijuana help those who have ALS? It turns out that many of the medicinal benefits of medical marijuana can be applied to Lou Gehrig’s syndrome to potentially relieve many unpleasant side effects.
Cannabis may provide symptomatic relief to ALS patients via muscle relaxation, appetite stimulation, and sleep induction.
Research shows that cannabis may have powerful antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects. Additionally, cannabis may provide symptomatic relief to ALS patients via muscle relaxation, appetite stimulation, and sleep induction.
While there are no specific varieties that have been proven to be the best strains for ALS, there are some that may be beneficial. Here are five of our top picks.
#1 Stephen Hawking Kush
This indica strain is named after perhaps the most famous scientist of our time, Stephen Hawking, who sadly passed away from a motor neuron disease. It is a groundbreaking medicinal strain with a 1:2 ratio of CBD to THC!
Bred with people living with ALS in mind, SHK is an ideal daytime strain offering an intensely relaxing and serene effect that won’t leave you feeling sleepy and lethargic like some indicas are known to do.
Descended from Harle-Tsu and Sin City Kush, this mellow bud is great for uplifting mood, with CBD levels reaching up to an incredible 22%, providing powerful pain relief.
Those who prefer a fruity strain will enjoy what Stephen Hawking Kush has to offer. With a zingy berry aroma and a delicious taste with earthy undertones, it is a palatable and effective medicinal strain, ideal for people living with ALS who struggle to control pain.
#2 Ringo’s Gift
Ringo’s Gift takes its name from the legendary cannabis advocate Lawrence Ringo and his powerful movements for cannabis over the years. This cross between ACDC and Harle-Tsu offers a potent 20% CBD and supports a focused and mild mental high ideal for those who have ALS.
If muscle spasms and pain become uncontrollable, this strain may offer some relief, with potent physical effects that may leave you feeling warm and relaxed. It’s accompanied by a gentle and subtle body buzz.
You can expect Ringo’s Gift to elevate the mood with ease, making it an excellent choice for anyone struggling with stress or depression. This sativa dominant bud has an interesting aroma with familiar notes of earthy hash coupled with a unique minty undertone that is fresh and sharp. With a taste that resembles the smell, it makes for an exciting smoking experience.
This one is particularly ideal for people with ALS who struggle with emotional unbalance, a common characteristic in patients suffering from the condition.
#3 Jack Herer
You’ve likely come across this one if you have ever looked into cannabis before, as it is one of the most well-known strains in the industry. Jack Herer is a sativa offering up to 23% THC and is the perfect remedy for those struggling with symptoms of fatigue, nausea, and depression.
Offering a heady high, Jack Herer is a pretty bubbly strain with the potential to elevate one’s mood. With a high-energy aftermath and a sense of euphoria that is pretty long-lasting, this flower is perfect for a rapid pick-me-up.
THC levels are pretty heavy with Jack Herer, so we recommend starting slowly to avoid an unpleasant high.
Another unexpected bonus of Jack Herer is the dry mouth it can cause, often perceived as a negative, but which can offer significant relief for people with ALS struggling with saliva control. For a fresh and piney-tasting smoke, this is a perfect option.
#4 One to One
This aptly named hybrid offers the best of both worlds, with a perfect 50:50 mix of indica and sativa and an equal balance of THC and CBD. A cross between Amnesia Haze and a high-CBD landrace strain whose origins remain unknown, One To One offers a mellow high, which is quite low-key compared to the likes of Jack Herer, making it ideal for newbies.
OTO may offer intense pain relief, making it perfect for many conditions – particularly ALS, providing a gentle body buzz without the couch-lock! If you go easy with this strain, you can expect a more clear-headed high that may help to relieve you of any physical pain, allowing you the opportunity to think with more clarity.
The flavors of One To One are delightful, with notes of coffee and wood; it is an absolute delight on the taste buds. And with opposing aromas of citrus and earth, it is certainly a pleasant one to consume.
#5 Jamaican Lion
Last but by no means least is the Jamaican Lion strain. This sativa dominant hybrid won the award for the second-best CBD strain in the world, making it an impressive one for us to finish up with!
The CBD-rich strain is a cross between Mountain Lion and Jamaican strain Yarder and offers around 13% CBD! For an uplifting high that will leave you feeling calm and cerebral, look no further than Jamaican Lion.
The THC levels here are around 9-18%, but the high CBD levels balance things out nicely, so you shouldn’t expect a too intense high. This medicinal strain is excellent for treating pain and can clear a headache up in no time. Many patients reach for this to treat muscle spasms, inflammation, nausea, cramps, and anxiety.
With a herbal, sweet aroma and a fresh minty taste, this is a tranquil experience both in flavor and effect, making it one of our go-to strains for heavy relief without losing the ability to function normally.
Round-Up of the Best Strains for ALS
ALS is indeed a challenging condition to control. However, while research is ongoing to try and find a cure for the disease, we feel that these five strains can provide some real benefit to those suffering.
While research is ongoing to try and find a cure for ALS, we feel that these five strains can provide some real benefit.
All bring something different to the table, whether it be in the flavor profile or the effects, but every single one may offer remedies for some of the most unpleasant symptoms of ALS.
If you have ALS or tried any of these strains ( or want to add your favorite to our list), let us know in the comments below!