Freedom from Pain: My Husband Treats His ALS with Cannabis

By Cara and Tom Childs

My husband, Tom, was diagnosed with ALS almost two years ago, at age 48. Since he the typeof guy who has never been sick in his life and was not one to remain still, this diagnosis was a surprise to us. This disease is progressively rendering all the muscles in his body useless, as the ability for the nerves to work with the muscles decrease over time. “It makes a person a prisoner in his own body” is how my husband describes the disease.

ALS causes a person’s muscles to weaken. caused by short-circuiting in the brain, patients with ALS go through almost persistent muscle spasms that are extremely uncomfortable. They also go through a serious descend in their capability to talk, eat, and breathe. Due to this complication, they develope more saliva, making it even more hard to communicate with world around them. People with ALS have trouble keeping their weight, as eating can be a tough process. Sleeping can be difficult due to the muscle twitches and the inability to move comfortably. As there is no cure for ALS, it was important for us to research different therapies to allow Tom the greatest quality of life possible.

We are a family that tries to eat and live in respect to the earth. We avoid pharmaceuticals because of the potential danger they cause the body. When Tom was diagnosed, he was offered a variety of pharmaceutical treatments to reduce some of the symptoms, but none to cure the disease. Tom turned down those medications and continues to do so currently. Tom chose to investigate natural remedies for his symptoms and discovered that a protocol of supplements and cannabis was the least detrimental to his health.

After tiring research and testing with a chemist, Tom was able to develope a tincture high in CBD, the element in marijuana most helpful to his ilness. The conclusion of taking this tincture throughout the day were helpful to Tom’s daily living. When taking this tincture regularly, Tom feels liberated from the pain of muscle fasciculations and is able to comunicate more efficently since his muscles are relaxed. Taking marijuana assures that Tom will have an appetite, and he has been amazingly able to keep his weight throughout his diagnosis, which is rare. Cannabis also causes dry mouth, which helps decrease his heavy build of saliva, making it easier and more comfortable to eat and talk. There is a noticable difference in all of these effects when Tom does not use his cannabis tincture, and a weakness of limb that leaves Tom tired and dormant

Tom attends an ALS clinic once every three months at Massachusetts General Hospital. The physicians there are baffled by his slow progression of the disease, as it normally takes over the body completely in a time frame of two to five years. Tom has been open with his doctors about his use of supplements and marijuana, and he encourages them at every visit to begin testing these treatments, since Massachusetts General is one of the world’s leaders in clinical trials of medications to treat ALS. His physician  do not seem convinced, but they understand that there is no cure and think that the subjects should do whatever aids to make them comfortable. At every visit, Tom continues to have conversations with his doctors about the benefits of cannabis oil. He has influenced friends with the disease to try marijuana, and they have all had outcomes that help alleviate their pain.

We are so satisfied that medical cannabis is becoming progressively available throughout the nation. Having done so much homework, Tom is very picky about the medications he uses to treat his ALS, and his peace of mind is outstanding. We can only hope that some of the funds raised from the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” will be utilized to further study the effects of cannabis on patients with ALS.

The most important lesson we have learned is that one must be  thankful for today, for it is truly all we have. Life is to be lived, as comfortably and as peacefully as possible.

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