All About Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is an irreversible disease that slowly but progressively destroys memory and thinking skills. It eventually takes away the ability to even carry out simple tasks. In most people, symptoms don’t appear until your mid-sixties.

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Symptoms

The most dominant symptom of Alzheimer’s is memory loss. It’s also the first sign that indicates someone may have the disease. Some people in general with memory problems have what’s called mild cognitive impairment or MCI. It’s when your memory issues are abnormal for your age but have little effect on the quality of your life. Some people eventually go back to normal cognition but those who don’t are likely to develop Alzheimer’s.

There are 7 stages of Alzheimer’s depending on how severe the symptoms are. Memory loss, or cognitive difficulties, look like wandering and getting lost in familiar places, trouble handling money and understanding bills, repeating questions and taking longer than normal for simple tasks.

Causes of Alzheimer’s

Unfortunately, science has not yet figured out fully how one comes to develop Alzheimer’s. In people with early on-set, when the disease becomes apparent before age 50, the cause is thought to be genetic mutation. However, no specific gene has been isolated.

Interesting fact: Most people with Down Syndrome also develop Alzheimer’s.

Prognosis

The rate at which this disease progresses varies widely due to the factors being largely unknown. On average people live between 3 to 11 years after being diagnosed. Pneumonia is the most common cause of death because impaired swallowing allows food and drinks to enter the lungs and cause infections. Secondary is dehydration and malnutrition due to forgetting to eat and drink.

Alzheimer’s can only definitely be diagnosed after death because the indication is deep within the brain tissue.

Medical Marijuana and Alzheimer’s

This disease cannot be cured but medical marijuana eases symptoms to give patients a better quality of life. MM helps ease the anxiety and frustration that comes along with memory loss. Additionally:

  • 2018 study published in Neuroscience found that exposing mice with Alzheimer’s to THC resulted in better memory performance and reduced neuronal loss compared to a control group.
  • 2016 study confirmed that THC promotes the removal of harmful proteins known to contribute to Alzheimer’s in human brain cells.
  • 2014 study found that THC inhibits the buildup of amyloid plaque – the specific kind linked to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Marijuana strains that help with associated proteins and anxiety include:

  • Purple Kush: This indica-dominant strain relieves anxiety and promotes a good night’s sleep along with after-effects that lessen mood swings in the morning.
  • Dutch Dragon: This hybrid strain is 50/50, combining the best qualities of both. It relaxes your mind and and keeps you energized at the same time as many patients suffer from chronic fatigue.
  • Doctor Doctor: This sativa is high in CBD so the patients won’t have so much of a psychoactive effect. This is important because the nature of the disease often leaves these patients disoriented. It’s also great for ridding anxiety and reducing inflammation in the brain.

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All About ALS

ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. It’s also called the Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after a player of the New York Yankees. It’s an incurable disease that attacks the nervous system, causing loss of muscle control. Awareness of it gained a lot of traction in 2014 with the ice bucket challenge. The challenge went viral on social media and garnered support from many celebrities and patients alike.

crop orthopedist examining back of anonymous patient in clinic

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of ALS vary from person to person but there are a group of things that are common amongst most patients. ALS attacks the brain and spine so how it manifests within you depends on which neurons were affected. They might include:

  • Difficult walking
  • Frequent trips and falls
  • Weakness in your legs, feet or ankles
  • Clumsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Muscle cramps and twitching
  • Inappropriate crying or laughing
  • Excessive yawning
  • Sudden behavioral changes

The hands are feet are usually affected first and breathing last. Contrary to popular belief, there’s usually little to no pain associated with this disease. Usually when pain occurs there’s another known or unknown disease underlying.

Causes and Risk Factors of ALS

Clinical research leads us to believe that around 10% of patients with ALS inherited it from a relative. Aside from that theory, the cause is widely unknown. We do however, know that certain other things put you at risk. Being between the ages of 40 and 65, a male and having ALS put you at the highest risk. This disease can also be triggered by things like smoking tobacco and traumatic injuries.

Prognosis

ALS is a degenerative disease, meaning symptoms get worse over time. As it progresses, several complications arise that lead to death. ALS paralyzes the muscles needed to breathe which causes sleep apnea. The vocals cords eventually become paralyzed too, causing slurred speech then mutism. The muscles required for swallowing get damaged which increases the likeliness that food and liquid can enter the lungs.

Medical Marijuana and ALS

This disease cannot be cured but medical marijuana eases symptoms to give patients a better quality of life. Marijuana helps slow down denigration of the muscles, helps improve the quality of sleep and helps bring back the patients appetite to ward off muscle atrophy and malnutrition; both of which are results of ALS.

Marijuana strains that help with associated muscle problems include:

  • Arctic Blue: This indica-dominant strain relieves anxiety and promotes a good night’s sleep along with helping with muscle stiffness.
  • Super Sour OG: This hybrid strain is 50/50, combining the best qualities of both. It relaxes and uplifts you along with loosening the muscles and relieving pain.
  • Blue Wreck: This sativa-dominant hybrid strain also makes you feel clear-headed and euphoric.

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Already have a diagnosis ? To book an appointment for your Ohio Medical Marijuana Card, click here.