Condition Report: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

September 30, 2019


In 2017, the National Academies of Science, Engineering & Medicine released a comprehensive report, “The Health Effects of Cannabis & Cannabinoids”, based on the research that had been done to date. Following that valuable report, we’ve been providing weekly Condition Reports on 2018 research for each of the conditions cited in that report, such as chronic pain, cancer, anorexia, and more – these reports seek to provide evidence for both medical benefits and risks for each condition.

Because prohibitive cannabis regulations have, for years, limited the amount of available information, we believe it is important to educate the public about up-to-date research. Although medical cannabis usage is still both controversial and inconclusive, the World Health Organization has urged for nations to remove cannabis from Schedule IV from their list of drug scheduling, which would allow the protection for researchers to conduct more comprehensive studies. and its affiliates aim to provide general information about cannabis consumption in the hopes for policymakers, users, researchers, and the general public to make informed decisions about cannabis and its derived products. In order to do this properly, we must seek and report the best available research for a better understanding of cannabis as it takes on the medical field.


For an overview on how cannabis can be used to treat other medical conditions, please visit the following Condition Reports:


ALS Highlights:

-Because of the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-excitotoxicity impacts of cannabinoids, cannabis has been recommended as a potential treatment for ALS.

-In one study, the use of cannabis (Nabiximols) as a supplement to regular treatment significantly improved spasticity in  ALS patients.

-However, this was the first randomized controlled study testing spasticity pharmacology treatment, so more studies must be conducted before results can be considered truly conclusive.



Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a motor neuronal damage neurodegenerative disorder. Cannabis treatment for ALS patients has been suggested as a result of the anti-excitotoxicity, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory impacts of cannabinoids (Berliner et al., 2018). There are several literature reports on the antispastic and other possible positive implications of cannabis in ALS patients, but limited systematic methods exist (Berliner et al., 2018). Therefore, ALS should be further explored in the treatment of cannabinoids, and it remains an important task for future clinical research.

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, phase 2 clinical trial, Nabiximols, a cannabis-based oral spray containing delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, significantly improved spasticity symptoms in combination with anti-spasticity drugs (Riva et al., 2018). Nabiximols proved superior to placebo spray when both were administered to patients with either amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or primary lateral sclerosis as part of a 6-week anti-spasticity regimen study at four different Italian centers. Researchers noted that there were no participants withdrawing from the study, and Nabiximols was well-tolerated with no serious adverse effects (Riva et al., 2018). This study is the first randomized controlled safe and efficient test of a spasticity pharmacology treatment and the first motor neuron disease test for Nabiximols.