I used to be a hairdresser from New Castle, DE, but now I’m a medical marijuana patient & activist, living near Tampa, FL.I was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) in 1986 (I was 36), was told by my doctor not to smoke anything, standard advice for a new ALS patient, suffered typical deterioration of my body over the next two years and prepared for my death – ALS is a terminal illness and I probably had only another year or two.  Then, in 1989, standing on a beach in Sarasota, FL, I was passed a “joint” and said “Why not?” After just a few puffs, I had a wonderful feeling – that my disease had stopped! I’ve been smoking ever since – for twenty-one years now, and I think I’m aging quite well, thank you.Cannabis (the scientific name for marijuana) works for me by drying up my saliva (ALS patients often drown in their own fluids), helping me cough and stimulating my lungs through its bronchodilation action.  Science now shows that Cannabis is actually a neuroprotectant, treating auto-immune conditions like ALS and MS by suppressing “excito-toxicity” and the over-production of glutamate. Also, Cannabis has long been known to have an anti-inflammatory effect and inflammation is now believed to play an important role in ALS.