Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, is a form of Motor Neurone Disease which affects around 30,000 Americans across the U.S. This condition, which currently has no cure and is associated with a short life expectancy of between 2-5 years, is one of the most challenging conditions to live with and unfortunately has very little treatment available.
As such a severe and debilitating disease, it is no surprise that patients often turn to cannabis to seek relief, since medical marijuana has become a popular choice for many; ALS even qualifies for many marijuana programmes across the U.S.
With a strain out there for everything, it can be difficult to know where to begin, but to help you along the way we have put together our top five cannabis strains to help relieve symptoms of ALS.
Explained: What Is ALS?
ALS is also sometimes known as Lou Gehrig’s Syndrome, named after the New York Yankees baseball player who was diagnosed with the condition back in the 1930’s. ALS is a condition that causes the death of neurons in the brain, which leads to difficulties functioning both mentally and physically, and over time functions will shut down which will eventually lead to death.
Symptoms of ALS include the following:
- Stiff muscles
- Muscle twitching
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty 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 help relieve many unpleasant side effects.
Research has shown us that cannabis and CBD especially can reduce muscle spasms, ease pain and fatigue and works well to calm and relax the mind and body, all of which are things that could positively impact an ALS patient. So, with that, let’s take a look at our top five strains for ALS!
#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, and with CBD levels reaching up to an incredible 22% it offers 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 are struggling 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 wonderful cross between ACDC and Harle-Tsu offers a potent 20% CBD and supports a focused and mild mental high that is ideal for those who have ALS.
If muscle spasms and pain are becoming uncontrollable, then this is a strain to try, with potent physical effects that will leave you feeling warm and relaxed, with a soothing and subtle body buzz that is great for taking the edge off.
You can expect Ringo’s Gift to lift your mood with ease and is great 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. To taste it, you won’t be surprised that pretty much resembles the smell exactly, which makes for a cool smoking experience.
This one is particularly ideal for people living with ALS who are struggling with emotional unbalance, which is common 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, as well as lack of appetite and pain.
Offering a heady high, Jack Herer is a pretty bubbly strain, which is guaranteed to pick you up if you’re low in mood. With a high-energy aftermath and a sense of euphoria that is pretty long-lasting, this flower is perfect for a fast-acting pick me up.
THC levels are pretty heavy with Jack Herer, so we would recommend starting off slowly and building up as and when you need to in order to avoid an unpleasant high.
Another great bonus of Jack Herer is the dry mouth aftermath, often perceived as a negative, but which can offer significant relief for people with ALS who are 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 we don’t know, 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 offers an intense pain relief, making it perfect to treat many conditions – particularly ALS, as is provides a gentle body buzz without the couch-lock! If you go easy with this strain, you can expect a more clear-headed high that quickly relieves you of any physical pain, allowing you to think with more clarity.
The flavors of One To One are incredibly pleasant, with notes of coffee and wood; it is a real 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 Jamaican Lion. This sativa dominant hybrid strain won the award for the second best CBD strain in the world, making it an impressive one for us to finish up with!
This 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, so it’s one of our go-to for heavy relief without losing the ability to function normally.
Round-Up of the Best Strains for ALS
It’s true that ALS is an incredibly difficult 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.
All bring something different to the table, whether it be in the flavor profile or the effects, but every single one can offer treatment for some of the most unpleasant symptoms of ALS.
If you have tried any of these or suffer from ALS and want to add your favorite strain to our list, let us know in the comments below!