B-Real’s ‘ALS Ice Bucket Challenge’ Highlights How Pot Could Treat the Disease

This week, rapper B-Real of the group Cypress Hill dumped a bucket full of ganja on his head in a goofy, but surprisingly poignant, homage to the Ice Bucket Challenge. The challenge has Internet users everywhere drenching themselves in buckets of ice water to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s disease), which affects roughly 30,000 Americans. It has toddlers cursing like sailors and presidents—current and former—scribbling out checks to raise money and awareness for the debilitating neurodegenerative condition. Participants nominate one another for the challenge, and once nominated you have just 24 hours to dump a bucket of ice water over your head and/or donate to an ALS fund.

B-Real is among many celebrities to accept the Ice Bucket Challenge, and his choice to make it into a “Pot Bucket Challenge” might have been no more than a self-promotional stunt, but it brings attention to the widely-overlooked medicine that has shown to treat the symptoms of ALS: cannabis. There is no known cure for ALS and very few treatments exist, but cannabis medicine has been reported to help, if not treat, the disease. As Chris Roberts notes in a San Francisco Weekly article, a Florida woman named Cathy Jordan ” has lived with ALS since 1986, after being told she’d die no later than 1991. She says marijuana has kept her alive. So perhaps B-Real isn’t so silly at all. Perhaps every mention of an ice bucket should come with a message that cannabis apparently works on ALS.”

Due to the federal government’s continued prohibition of cannabis, and effective 40-year-old blockade of non-government research on the plant’s medicinal properties, there are no clinical studies of its effects on ALS in humans. However, as Roberts points out, a “preclinical” 2010 study conducted by researchers from California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco “ found that mice exposed to THC just before or after the onset of ALS experienced a slowdown in the progression of the disease.” The disease was still present, but it developed at a slower rate.

– Read the entire article at AlterNet.