new mexico marijuana
Medical Marijuana Policy

34,000 New Mexicans Suffering From Alzheimer’s Denied Access To Medical Cannabis

new mexico marijuanaThe Secretary of Health denied a petition to add Alzheimer’s disease to the list of medical conditions eligible for the medical cannabis program, even though the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board voted unanimously to recommend making neurodegenerative dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, qualifying conditions.

Alzheimer’s disease, similar to many of the conditions presently included in New Mexico’s Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, is a neurologic disease and has no known cure. Existing medications provide only temporary relief, without stopping the progression of the disease.

“It is really unfortunate that New Mexicans suffering from Alzheimer’s related dementia, which often leads to a refusal to eat and combative moods, will not be allowed to seek relief from medical cannabis,” said Jessica Gelay, policy coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance. “There are no curative treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, and, as the peer-reviewed evidence submitted to the department of health shows, there is reason to believe that medical cannabis could be helpful for people afflicted with this terminal condition.”

Medical cannabis is currently available to Alzheimer’s patients in thirteen of the twenty-three states with medical cannabis laws. Studies have demonstrated that people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease related anorexia and nighttime agitation increase their body mass and have improved sleep patterns. Additionally, emerging evidence suggests potential for cannabis to be beneficial in reducing inflammation in the brain, a factor that can lead to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

“In contrast to Secretary Ward’s decision, the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board’s action recognizes the debilitating impact neurodegenerative diseases have on New Mexico’s increasing elderly population, and recognizes that medical cannabis should be part of a larger comprehensive approach to support our elders’ quality of life,” stated Emily Kaltenbach, director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s New Mexico office. “New Mexico has a long history of respecting our elders and the board’s compassionate recommendation to add these conditions is rooted in the great values of our state, we are sorry that the secretary did not agree with the board’s recommendation.”

Published studies suggest that medical cannabis may improve symptoms related to Alzheimer’s disease and support the pharmacological and physiological benefits seen in the use of cannabinoid compounds and whole plant medicine on general symptoms of neurodegeneration.

A 2014 study done at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute in conjunction with the University of South Florida College of Pharmacy, and published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, supports the use of cannabis for Alzheimer’s. Among the positive findings are that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) does not weaken immune function, decreases synthesis and accumulation brain plaque a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, and at efficacious levels does not lead to cell toxicity. In conclusion the authors state “we believe the multifaceted functions of THC will ultimately decrease downstream tau hyperphosphorylation and neuronal death thereby halting or slowing the progression of this devastating disease.”

More than 30,000 New Mexicans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and the number is expected to increase to more than 40,000 by 2025. It is the leading cause of dementia among the elderly and is estimated to affect approximately one in nine people of the population over 65 years of age. Racial and cultural disparities are evident when considering the prevalence of AD among elderly New Mexicans. Older Hispanics are one and a half times more likely to have dementia than Anglos. Veterans, who comprise eleven percent of New Mexico’s population, who suffer from PTSD are twice as likely as veterans without PTSD to develop AD or other age-related dementias.

Additional actions announced yesterday by the Department of Health were the approval of the condition of ulcerative colitis, and the approval of the board’s recommendation to allow psychologists with prescribing ability to certify patients with PTSD for the program. However, the Secretary denied the ability of licensed medical practitioners, other than psychologists, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners, from being able to certify patients for the program who have PTSD.

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the nation’s leading organization of people who believe the war on drugs is doing more harm than good. DPA works for drug policies based on science, compassion, health and human rights.

Source: Drug Policy Alliancemake a donation

  • MrPC

    Secretary Ward is a bureaucratic fool. Why would anyone deny patients suffering from Alzheimer’s anything that could conceivably help them? Because it’s a “drug”? Ignorant and shameful.

    • Robert Ireland

      It is only a drug because THEY call it a drug. What these compounds really are? Essential nutrients that in absence of we diseased over 4 generations. First all cancers and neurological disorders, the very ones these compounds now magically seem to abate and even reverse symptoms and damage from, skyrocketed to alarming proportions while pharma managed to bring not a single cure …in over 3/4 of a century. Now our newborns are coming into this world with diseases we never even heard of 7-8 decades ago and certainly not striking the numbers and ages it does today. All of it traceable back to the prohibition of cannabis, eliminating it from our food chain, as a food source and finally even as a medicine. IF this were back in our food chain and our diets, 90% of the diseases we suffer today would evaporate off the radar and we would mostly live into our 90s and beyond. I don’t think 99% of those in this movement even fully realize what we are really looking at here. Even with the overwhelming evidence to point the way. This IS the Tree of Life or rather these ARE the three out of the four original Trees of Life (4th got wiped out during the great flood, though the genetics of the longevity combination of compounds inherent to this plant are probably all in some way shown in these remaining three). I used to think Methuselah, Noah and all the others purported to have lived to be well over 900 was a great story. Now I am thinking how absolutely wrong we all were in that assumption. Seeing how Cannabinoids affect every one of our 210 cell types without overwhelmingly positive benefits for health, it doesn’t take long to understand we are meant to live well and way past 100.

      • Cyndysub

        I was with you until you went off a deep end and started postulating.

        • Robert Ireland

          evidence is there and i study this day n night, have for many years and that’s not superficial, it’s with the same fervor i get paid well for in engineering R&D, historical research, genetics and a few others. You’ll see, even in your lifetime, ages getting longer in duration and if you look close enough you will already see it. I do, in at least 11 communities now and quite a number earlier. One thing I do know is that not once have we proven the historical accounts of the bible wrong, per se. Rather, we’ve been repeatedly surprised when we discovered what we thought were stories only, turning up in science as actual fact. Mind you, I am not a religious zealot, far from it, but find myself with an ever increasingly opening mind that all the old religions point to a period of longevity having taken place, just as they point to a great flood having happened. Our ancestors were not in the habit of making things up, they were too interested in the truth in survival.

        • Robert Ireland

          and by the way, since your last post, a laboratory announced only weeks ago having found a compound in the roots of cannabis, which already extends cell life 1.5 times. Uh, if our average age is around 75 now, that already gives us the potential of 225 years! In China was a man who their emperor sent 200th birthday wishes to and that man passed in the 1920s at around age 250, also documented. The man reportedly lived ONLY from cannabis. There is also a type of deep ocean jelly fish that they think perpetuates itself indefinitely. That is, it cycles life in a never ending cycle of going from infantile to elderly and then returning to juvenile in ad nauseum. So, in genetics is is absolutely feasible, because they estimate this jelly fish to be well over several thousand years. Numerous plant species also live well past 1000 years, also just a genetic function and most life on this planet, as far as I recall have genetics that all use the very same limited compounds that we do. deep end, indeed. I say you need to open your eyes and think outside your self limiting box a little better. I have and I am finding amazing things happening all around us. Attacking me in ad hominem is not a valid argument by any measure. Prove me wrong. Go ahead. Otherwise keep your patronizing in your box world, would you please. I am too busy with factual evidence and if you have none to prove me wrong then the debate stands open. sorry about your luck, hon. 40 years ago I was told I was postulating when I said certain things about this plants medical efficacies …uh, yes it does cure cancers and neurological disorders and that high also has strong medicinal and psychological benefits, and it also has spiritual benefits we’re not even touching, because folks like you have been taught to negate them summarily without further discussion. As a scientist and engineer, I never afford myself this luxury and if you weren’t so brash in tainting my debate with blatant ad hominem then you’d realize I have written vastly less about what I know here in this specific dialog and base my claims on 100 times more evidence than time permits me write here without it becoming a text book. prove me wrong and try it without the emotion.

      • Denny

        If the feds, in particular the president, would step up and honor their word on decriminalizing it thereby allowing each state to decide whether or not to initiate a medical marijuana program, this issue would be water under the bridge.
        It would also help expedite the process if the feds would conduct some monitored medical trials and present their findings. Until then it isn’t going to matter much to them about the ones that have been done in various parts of the world.

  • “In a landmark new report presented today to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez says that severe abuses in health care settings amount to cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment—and even torture. The Open Society Foundations and the Campaign to Stop Torture in Health Care welcome this conclusion, which places immediate legal obligations on governments to end such abuses.”

    http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/states-must-end-abuses-health-care-demands-top-un-expert-torture

  • Pcdocjon

    Can you report why Alzheimer’s Disease was excluded by the Secretary of Health. Is it Big Pharma again? You cite many studies showing why it should be included in MMJ, but you fail to flag the reason or reasons why this disease is excluded. I await the day that Big Pharma is brought to its knees by its own monopolistic corruption the way Big Tobacco was demolished by one brave man and CBS’s 60 minutes (see the movie “The Insider”). I’d love to know why this terrible disease was excluded as I am a caregiver to my father who is falling into this disease. For some time I have wished I could give MMJ to him to ease and delay the more advanced devistating effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. When it’s legal I will try, with his permission if he is capable of deciding.

  • bradson

    The safety profile of cannabis is unmatched. It’s virtually non-toxic, so should be the first thing to try for a long list of ailments. Many officials, like this one, still don’t recognize and accept that.

  • Robert Ireland

    presently this republic(US) wastes well over 16% of our GDP on supposed “health care” one of the biggest and most vilest of scams. their so called science a front for a truly disturbed business model. reintroduce cannabis as fully as it was as late as 1920 and watch that figure drop below 3% in the first growing season into the next. never mind the untold and profound ‘other’ benefits all of mankind AND the environment will benefit, equally as truly EPIC as these.

  • Captain Obvious

    They don’t want the elderly to discover the emperor has no cloths as it becomes immediately evident why healthcare costs so much(both in Lives and USD). It is most profitable if they stay deep into dementia miles from a cure, so they don’t start making prudent choices on their own and become self aware of this injustice.

    • reefer

      Yup, could you imagine the outrage when people start to see their loved one’s brain being healed, with the dementia going into complete remission, by an herb that the govt. told them DAMAGES the brain.(although by middle age, most Americans are used to being lied to by govt.)

    • Robert Ireland

      No, I disagree. These folks really are that intellectually lazy, under-educated, mis-educated and generally actually pretty stupid people, and the scarey part is they are degreed (trained like good little puppies, not the same as being a true professor of your science or art …and medicine and pharma are actually the latter, not the former. they are arts and pharma is a business model based on pseudoscience. so vast is their fraud worldwide). the industries are all well aware that this is all fraud and they are in panic mode clamoring to get this under some control, but they are not being that obvious about it, until you do the research and find out how it’s being done and where you’re just speculating. All of them think to their core they are the smartest thing alive on the planet and cannot see themselves for what they truly are: LAZY STUPID and for the most part at least indoctrinated, if not completely brainwashed in so many ways and about so many things, they really are incapable of “getting” it.

      • Captain Obvious

        Yes, lazy stupid and naive are factors that will meet real world experiences when legal. I sense a sizable majority in retirement on a fixed income may enjoy the money savings alone(many have gardened their entire life anyway), not to mention, the real world relief from ailments that no other medicine can do. This will be a huge relief to the Medicare/Medicaid budgets as well, and the only hope for lowering health care costs. It would increase their disposable income allowing them to enjoy their golden years with less enslavement of big pharma’s mystery price tags(both in lives and $)too. Maybe they can get out more and spend it on the local economy like good food, restaurants, and entertainment or donate more to their favorite charity.

        Of course, naive reactions are well known in the scientific literature and a concern for bias/irrational results since many will be stuck in the 1950s fascist toxic death experiment logic to the grave. However, this is a shrinking view as many succumb to old age and other dementia related mortalities (no cannabis perhaps?). Some mainstream news outlets they watch are finally catching on and running more stories that may dispel some from this nonsense while others are still trying to cash in on their 3 ring circus sideshow reefer madness hysteria they engineered by choosing to ignore the facts and evidence. I see Obama has allocated money for a neuroscience research. Hopefully we can finally update the DSM with better information and see Reefer Madness Hysteria added too.

        The Merck Manual on Cannabis.
        “Many of the other reported psychologic effects seem to
        be related to the setting in which the drug is taken. Anxiety, panic
        reactions, and paranoia have occurred, particularly in naive users. ”

        “Of pain you could wish only one thing: that it should stop.
        Nothing in the world was so bad as physical pain. In the face of pain
        there are no heroes.”
        George Orwell,
        1984

  • Robert Ireland

    this is what happens when a population is suffering the consequences of a 4th generation nutrient deficiency syndrome of epic proportions, because we’re talking about the absence of well over 300 newly identified nutrients in the nutrient classes of Cannabinoids and the associated terpenes, among others. It’s not magic that this affects so many diseases and without harming the host. It was completely out of our diets and pharmacopeia by 1942 and within only 8 years all disease increased by upward 25%. Cancers(this group alone grew from 1 in 20 to 1 in 15 by 1950 and now sits at 1 in 2 or 1 in 2.5, depending on your gender), neurological disorders, gastro-intestinal diseases and disorders, you name it. Now after steadily increasing and declining in age groups affected it is manifesting itself as autoimmune diseases in new born children and infants, along with cancers and neurological disorders in numbers we never knew when I was growing up 40 and 50 years ago. Uh, HELLO! This is EXACTLY what would happen with a massive nutrient deficiency and there is precedence for this, though certainly not in this extreme, because this unique plant, the Tree of Life, is as we’re finding out daily in ever new ways, responsible for the health of every one of our bodies’ 210 cell types. Sorry folks, but this is not how medicine works or acts. Only nutrients act in this manner or rather in ALL these manners we’re discovering in laboratories around the world, to the tune of well over 40,000 research documents(I have read about going on 20,000 of them in the pasts 25 months and yes, my background is in science).