Take cannabis for dementia

Dementia is loss of cognitive function – that is, reasoning and remembering – to the degree that it affects a person’s daily life. There will be memory loss, confusion and problems with speech and understanding that gets progressively worse. It can be mild or severe to the extent that the person is completely dependent on others.

Dementia occurs most in old people. Photo: Meagan

The principal cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia can strike people at any age. It is, however, more common in eldsters. One in 14 over-65s and one in six people aged over 80 has it. But many people live into their 90s and beyond without suffering from it. There are over 850,000 people with dementia in the United Kingdom, projected to rise to a million by 2050.

Can you take cannabis for dementia? Why, yes

A study in 2019 demonstrated that cannabis can lessen the symptoms of severe dementia. It took place at Geneva University Hospital and involved 10 female subjects with severe dementia. They took cannabis that was two parts CBD to one part THC (the stuff that gets you stoned). It was infused into cake and given thrice daily. Two months later, half of them had stopped taking other drugs. These included anti-psychotics, benzodiazepines and morphine. Their behavioural problems were much reduced. After five months, they were still going strong. Cannabis worked here for dementia. The patients’ families reactions were “astonishingly positive.”

And it wasn’t just that one time

In the United States in 1997, there were 15 patients diagnosed with probable Alzheimer’s disease who were refusing food. They took dronabinol – synthetic THC – for six weeks. 11 completed the study. The exceptions were one person who died of a heart attack, one who dropped out after having a grand mal seizure and two who dropped out when they developed serious infections.

There were side effects of euphoria and tiredness, but not so much as to make people withdraw from the study. The body weight of the successful 11 increased, and their disturbed behaviour reduced.

There’s more if you want it

In Canada in 2019, there was a study that lasted 14 weeks. 39 subjects with Alzheimer’s disease were found at geriatric psychiatry clinics and one long-term care facility. They took nabilone – synthetic cannabis – and a placebo. Nabilone reduced agitation. 45% experienced sedation, but not so much that they dropped out.

Another one

In 2014, a study covered 40 patients at the McLean Hospital Geriatric Neuropsychiatry Inpatient Unit in Virginia. They were chosen for dementia. They were, again, given dronabinol, this time for up to seven days. There were improvements in agitation, sleep duration, the amount of meals they consumed and their Clinical Global Impression scores, measuring symptom severity in general.

It works on mice, too

THC was found to work on mice at the University of Bonn in 2016. It improved learning and executive functioning. These were demonstrated with a Morris water maze and an attentional set-shifting test, respectively. The mice were mostly 18 months old, which is roughly equivalent to a 70-year-old human. The brains of mice usually begin to pack in when they’re about a year old. Hence, 18-month-old mice will probably struggle with mazes and other mental tasks and with socialising. “You can’t tell the difference between them and two-month-old mice,” remarked Professor Andreas Zimmer, the lead scientist. One other researcher declared, “I sent my mother recipes for baking pot cookies.” THC appeared to be good for dementia by slowing age-related brain degeneration.

Just what good does cannabis do for dementia?

Cannabis relieves agitation and calms you. This helps with anxiety and depression, which commonly arise due to dementia. Bad behaviour is one of the greatest challenges of treating people with dementia.

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Source: https://www.newsthc.com/take-cannabis-for-dementia/

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