Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Every 90 minutes someone is diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes muscle weakness, paralysis, and ultimately, respiratory failure.

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, Charcot’s disease, and motor neuron disease (MND), attacks certain cells in the brain and spinal cord needed to keep our muscles moving. Early signs and symptoms of ALS include:

  • muscle cramps and muscle twitching
  • weakness in hands, legs, feet or ankles
  • difficulty speaking or swallowing

The senses, including hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch, are not affected by ALS.

There is no single diagnostic test for ALS. However, experts in the disease, usually neurologists specializing in neuromuscular diseases, are very capable of diagnosing ALS. In some cases, they might order additional tests if the diagnosis is not clear. These include:


There is no cure or effective treatment for ALS, however scientists are working hard to develop therapies for this disease.

ALS is a complex multi-system disease. A growing number of ALS clinics are deploying multidisciplinary teams to care for people with ALS to meet their physical, emotional, and nutritional needs. These teams include physical, respiratory, speech and occupational therapists to help people with ALS breathe easier, keep moving, and stay connected. Palliative care specialists support people with ALS and their caregivers.

Today, there are dozens of clinical trials evaluating potential treatments enrolling people with ALS and their family.   ALS is one of the conditions that are eligible for a marijuana recommendation.

ALS Marijuana Cannabis Related Clinical Information