What Are the Effects and Benefits of Medical Marijuana in Dementia Patients?

dementia patients can benefit from prescription marijuana and cbd oilDiscussions 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.

infographic of dementia patients gears in mind being connected with marijuana treatment

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.

doctor prescribing marijuana to dementia patients

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!!!

Dementia Behaviors: How to Manage Dementia

When you experience dementia behaviors from a loved one, it can be quite difficult to handle. Understanding common behaviors of dementia means realizing that communication changes and it can be very frustrating. Dementia behaviors can be difficult to manage but the good news is that there is something you can do about it.

Managing Behaviors of Dementia Patients

Take each one of these ways of managing behaviors of dementia patients and give them a try. Start slowly, and if it doesn’t work the first time, don’t discount it. Simply try again until you’re sure it’s not going to work.

Remain Positivedaughter is patiently listening as she learns how to manage dementia

When you’re frustrated, it can be difficult to remain positive, but it’s the best way to react to poor dementia behaviors. Make sure your body language matches the positive tone of your voice because even though your loved one is older, he/she can pick up on signals that don’t match up.

Limit Distractions

Don’t try to speak to your loved one while he/she is watching TV or listening to the radio. Either ask to turn it off or wait until it is off to communicate. This way he/she is not inundated with too many things grasping for their attention – including speaking with you.

Speak Simply

Do not try to tell your loved one a long, drawn out story. Attention spans are limited with people people suffering from dementia. Tell your loved one what you want him/her to know in as few words and sentences as possible without being vague.

When dealing with dementia behaviors Ask Simple Questions

Similar to the speaking simply, ask short, simple questions. For example,

● Do you want a turkey sandwich for lunch?
● How are you feeling?
● What time is your doctor’s appointment?

Avoid asking questions that are very open ended, such as:

● What happened when Mary came by today and what did she say?

Open ended questions tend to demand more from the person and can cause confusion, all leading to more undesirable dementia behaviors.

Wait Patiently

As you learn how to manage dementia be conscious of the patient having a difficult time processing information, especially when trying to say something. Be patient and wait for the person to start and finish speaking. Interruptions and hurrying your loved one will only frustrate him/her and you and could cause more unwanted dementia related behaviors.

Break Down Activities

Don’t assume a loved one still knows how to do things he/she did a year ago. When instructing how to do something, break it up into small, understandable chunks. For example, if you’re showing your loved one how to make a microwavable meal.

● Take the meal out of the freezer.
● Remove it from the box.
● Take the plastic off the top.
● Place it in the microwave.
● Tap the amount of time it needs to cook.
● Press Start.

It may seem like you’re being condescending, but it really is best when dealing with dementia behaviors. Just be sure your tone is polite and helpful.

How to manage dementia: Stop, Direct and Distract

dealing with dementia behaviors of elderly man showing delusions and confusionCommon behaviors of dementia could include being argumentative as a result of frustration. If an argument happens, stop, direct and distract. Sometimes, you just need to change the the subject, and that can sometimes mean bringing in a distraction like a television show or turning the radio on to your loved one’s favorite station.

Adjusting to a New Normal

It can be easier dealing with your loved one’s dementia behaviors by accepting this as the new normal. Change is inevitable as people age, and remembering this can help you get by the hardest parts of this stage of your his/her life.

Remember to care for yourself first. Take breaks as you need to, and reach out for help if you need it. This will help you use the above effectively, so you can keep a good relationship with your loved one.

How to manage dementia with ElderCare Connections’ care and placement services

ElderCare consultants are experts when in comes to helping you make the best decisions for your loved ones. Sometimes finding the best placement for a loved one who demonstrates dementia behaviors is required. ElderCare Connections offer FREE placement services and has great partnerships with surrounding care facilities to be able to help you determine the BEST care and placement for your loved one. Reach out to ElderCare Connections at 513-685-8998 or complete our Contact Us form.