Discussions and research on the use of marijuana and it’s effects on dementia patients is a rising concern. Understanding the research and the legality behind the use of the drug can help you make a wise decision about using it.
Research has found that marijuana can help dementia patients manage their dementia behaviors and symptoms of the condition. This may seem like good news for many people, particularly those living in states in which the drug is legal, but frustrating for those who are not in those states. But more importantly one should consider the effects and benefits.
The Effects and Benefits
Studies are conflicted when it comes to how marijuana helps dementia patients. The media has reported that the drug can lead to the onset of dementia, but at the same time could also improve conditions for people who already have it. This may be paradoxical, but it’s simply what researchers are seeing in their clinical trials.
The component in marijuana (cannabis) is THC. Some studies have shown that patients taking low doses can experience improved memory. They were also better able to learn. Scientists believe this is because the component of cannabis affects the hippocampus.
Besides improving memory, there’s another way that marijuana affects dementia patients – it can lower stress. One of the reasons people seek the cannabis plant is to help them relax. This effect can be quite welcoming to people who suffer from dementia because their symptoms can often frustrate them and increase anxiety and stress. When commons techniques for how to manage dementia don’t seem to be working, one can see how just lowering the stress levels can be a huge benefit.
However, this doesn’t work necessarily for everyone! The mind is a complex part of the body. The chemicals in the brain interact with drugs in different ways, which is why some people are affected by some drugs, while others are not. The only way to truly know how marijuana will affect someone suffering from dementia is to ask their physician about it, and then try it. While you may be tempted to just give this a try, we highly recommend that you only go down this path with your doctor’s recommendation.
Seeking Marijuana for Dementia Patients
If you are in a state that does not allow medical marijuana, you cannot legally use it. The only way to use it is to go to a state where it is legal and purchase it there. You must USE it there as well. It is illegal to bring marijuana back to a state where it is prohibited.
This means dementia patients in states where medical marijuana is illegal are unable to use it to help their symptoms.
Fortunately, there is an alternative that some people have experienced benefits from and that is CBD oil. CBD oil is derived from the hemp plant and can contain a low level of THC, which is the active ingredient that helps people with dementia. There is research that shows how it may help as well as potential side effects, so be sure to check into before trying it. And again, we think you should get your doctor’s recommendation for this too. Ask your doctor about it, because it may be worth a try if you’re unable to purchase marijuana in your state.
Alternative to Marijuana for Dementia Patients
For those who do not feel comfortable using marijuana or CBD oil, there are some therapies that can help manage the behavioral symptoms of dementia. These therapies are often part of programs included in many different elder care living communities.
If you’re interested in learning more about elderly home care for someone who is suffering from dementia or senior placement services, call ElderCare Connections at 513-685-8998 or complete our contact us form. We LOVE TO HELP!!!