Alzheimer’s Disease and Medical Marijuana
Anyone who has cared for a loved one with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis understands the complicated challenges that come with this disease. It can be an overwhelming journey and often, you are unsure of whether what you are doing is helping your loved one.
Many agree that some of the most difficult aspects of treating someone with Alzheimer’s are not knowing for sure if your loved one’s needs are being met, if they are in pain, if what they are saying is due to memory loss, or if they are truly in the moment.
In recent years, there has been impressive progress when medical marijuana is introduced to the Alzheimer’s patient. Serenity Medical Online can help if your family is considering a change in the care regiment.
Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disorder. There is not much known about how it develops, why it appears in some people but not others, and why genetics is sometimes a factor.
It is difficult to watch a loved one become withdrawn, depressed, agitated and frustrated because he or she is unsure of what’s happening.
Even worse, it is believed that more than 4 million Americans are afflicted with this disorder, and that number is on the rise.
There Is No Cure…Yet
The reality is that there is no cure nor are there any pharmaceutical combinations that can completely stop the progression of Alzheimer’s. However, there has been progress in understanding how effective medical marijuana can be for an Alzheimer’s patient.
In fact, several studies show that the compounds in cannabis can greatly improve the symptoms of this disease. Most recently, a study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience, and what it concluded was cannabinoid oil prevented “cognitive impairment and decreased neurotoxicity” when injected with a protein believed to induce Alzheimer’s disease. That protein, amyloid-beta peptide, could be key in finally understanding this complex disease.
Here in the U.S., the Scripps Research Institute in California notes that THC administration can actually inhibit the enzyme researchers believe is the culprit in the aggregation of amyloid plaque.
You may have heard that this is the primary “marker” in this disease, but scientists are hopeful that this can eventually lead to better solutions and therapeutic options for Alzheimer’s patients.
There are several other studies underway that include marijuana as part of a potential long-term solution. While the definitive results have not been released, there are promising signs emerging.
Medical Marijuana In California
For now, however, medical marijuana is an approved treatment in California for Alzheimer’s Disease. In fact, more than 1,500 California physicians regularly prescribe marijuana for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and other diseases or disorders. That’s a pretty strong testament to the faith the medical community has in cannabis.
The reality cannot be ignored:
- Alzheimer’s is the sixth most common cause of death in the U.S.
- It is believed around half of the 5 million seniors with Alzheimer’s are aware of the prognosis, which can be especially painful.
- Alzheimer’s is the only major disease that the medical sector cannot prevent or cure. The closest we’ve come to at least slowing it down is through the use of medical marijuana.
- More than 800,000 Americans die every year from Alzheimer’s Disease.
Small Doses Are Recommended By Geriatric Physicians
Many geriatric physicians note that small doses of THC, which is part of the marijuana plant, has been successful in slowing down the protein found in the brains of every Alzheimer’s patient.
The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease notes that THC presence in the treatment plan resulted in “significant decreases in delusions, depression, apathy, sleep disorders and even aggression for Alzheimer’s patients.”
These are all powerful statements from the medical community. It is important to note that some states have not yet approved medical marijuana for the treatment of this disease. Unfortunately, New York is one of those states.
There is much that is not yet understood about neurodegeneration, but with more medical professionals on board and with further clinical trials, this disease could be eradicated one day in the future.
For now, many patients are enjoying their days with fewer instances of memory lapses, improved dietary habits, and less depression.
To learn more about the benefits of medical marijuana for Alzheimer’s patients and how you can be approved for cannabis use, we encourage you to contact Serenity Medical Online today.