Dear Editor: The "ice bucket challenge" to raise awareness about ALS is all the rage among politicians these days, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his wife, Tonette.

As there are few conventional treatments for ALS, perhaps the best way to help those suffering would be to instead advocate for legalizing medical cannabis in Wisconsin.

In May, I attended a conference in Portland, Ore., presented by Patients Out of Time, "The Endocannabinoid System and Age-Related Illnesses."

In a presentation on ALS and cannabis, Dr. Gregory T. Carter, a clinical professor at the University of Washington, stated that medical cannabis is "almost custom-made to treat ALS. It dries the mouth up, relieves pain, eases muscle spasms, improves the appetite, and may well have a disease-modifying effect."

He also noted that researchers found that in mouse models of ALS, cannabinoids extended life span by 50 percent. This is more than backed up in the experiences of Florida ALS patient Cathy Jordan, who was first diagnosed in 1986 and is still alive today thanks to daily medication with medical cannabis. Jordan attended the Portland conference and was a presenter at the group's 2012 conference in Tucson, Ariz.

Wisconsin's Jacki Rickert Medical Cannabis Act includes ALS as a qualifying condition. If he really wants to help ALS patients and their families, Gov. Walker has the authority to call lawmakers back into special session to pass the JRMCA.

Wisconsinites overwhelmingly support medical cannabis. It's time to change some faces at the Capitol this November if we can't change the minds of those currently serving.

Gary Storck


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