One of the most traumatizing life events we may ever come across is learning that a chronic illness lives inside of us. It should come as no surprise that when people find themselves in this situation, the vulnerability they feel can cause them to hang on to every last word their doctor says. Unfortunately, countless medications prescribed by physicians and psychiatrists not only mislead suffering patients, but also cause calamitous long-term effects on the body.

There is no denying that prescription drugs have had detrimental impacts on numerous men, women, and children who suffer from a disease. Those who fall victim to the side effects of these deadly medications may be prone to drug abuse, addiction, and lethal overdoses. It seems as though something isn’t right within the pharmaceutical industry…perhaps even something missing from it. There has to be a more natural approach to treating the symptoms of life-threatening illnesses rather than pumping patients with drugs that will inevitably fail them.

But not everybody follows their doctor’s orders. Some patients have gone beyond what pharmaceuticals have to offer and turned to a plant that literally saves lives when chosen over prescription drugs. Cannabis (also known as marijuana), has not been recognized by the FDA as medicine. Nevertheless, two main cannabinoids exist in the cannabis plant that have done some serious eyebrow-raising in recent years. Cannabidiol (CBD), contains active ingredients from the plant but without the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid that causes people to feel “high.” The compounds in CBD can drastically reduce inflammation and pain in patients minus the psychoactive effects that come along with THC. CBD can also be used to treat a variety of chronic conditions and may come in the form of edibles (brownies, cookies, candies), oils, extracts, and much more. What is extraordinary is that there is an endocannabinoid system (a collection of endogenous cannabinoid receptors) that lies inside the mammalian brain as well as throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. CBD can also increase the amounts of endocannabinoids in your system. Research continues to prove how this amazing network functions within the body and why medical cannabis is a miracle herb for treating diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

A neurodegenerative disease that attacks the central nervous system, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), can cause patients to feel tormenting pain as they slowly lose their ability to move their muscles and limbs. The immune system of an MS patient perceives neurons as harmful and invasive, resulting in the body’s own immune cells attacking the neurons. This is followed by a buildup of scar tissue that ultimately prevents neurons from sending basic signals to the rest of the body. Sadly, there is no cure for this condition. To make matters worse, treatment for MS typically involves severe medications with damaging effects on one’s well-being.

Cannabis has been said to be a godsend for MS sufferers by improving brain function and dramatically easing symptoms. Its cutting-edge success is the reason the plant has gained so much legitimacy around the world, resulting in MS qualifying for cannabis treatment. This is because cannabinoids are powerful anti-inflammatories. THC and CBD are compounds that deactivate the immune system, suppressing violent attacks on the central nervous system. Thus, calming the immune system with cannabis can be used to simmer down those attacks. Cannabinoids can also stimulate neurogenesis, a process which develops new brain cells in adults and guards the brain against harm. They even protect eyes, quell nausea and vomiting, relieve diarrhea, reduce inflammation and can help patients with stress-related depression.

ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is caused by the annihilation of motor neurons, which are responsible for transmitting signals to muscles. Common symptoms of this neurodegenerative illness include weakness, slurred speech, dysfunction, and even difficulty walking or paralysis. Not only is there no cure, but many patients have died within five years of diagnosis. Even worse, while victims lose the ability to control their muscles, they continue to maintain cognitive function and are often very aware of their surroundings.

ALS patients can benefit immensely from cannabis use, as its compounds ease pain, stimulate appetite, and even have the ability to prevent cellular damage. The analgesic effects and anti-inflammatory properties provided by medical marijuana decrease the persistent pain that agonizes ALS sufferers. Bottom line? The potential that cannabis holds simply cannot go unnoticed, especially when it has the power to impact the progression of the disease. Countless patients have found incredible pain relief from treating their ALS with this life-changing gift from Mother Nature.