marijuana dementia
Medical Marijuana Policy

New Research Shows Promise In Cannabis Fighting Dementia

Do you know someone suffering from dementia?  Chances are, you do (or have) because the sad statistic is that one in three seniors dies with dementia.  And the incidences are expected to triple in the near future.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.  The most promising research for Alzheimer’s disease?  Marijuana, but sadly, cannabis is illegal in most places.

EVERYONE SUFFERS BECAUSE OF DEMENTIA (WELL ALMOST EVERYONE)

Dementia is expensive.  The US estimates that in 2016, dementia will cost the country $236 Billion.  That’s a “B”. Billion.  (*Sheesh. With that much money in play, I imagine someone is profiting, somewhere?)

As a nurse, I’ve cared for countless dementia patients.  I’ve watched immeasurable suffering, in both my patients and their families.  The disease is tragic and moves  sloth-like in pace.

grandma-and-me-1

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE OBLITERATES THE PERSONALITY OF THE PATIENT.

  • Even the most docile, proper woman can deteriorate to the point that she seems savage.  Maybe once, she wouldn’t yell or curse, but now she screams vulgarities all day or bites anyone who approaches.
  • Even the most distinguished man who kept his home spotless can become a hoarder.  Maybe once, he wouldn’t leave home without shaving and shiny shoes, but now he refuses to shower or bathe.

An Alzheimer’s patient becomes completely trapped in their mind; they experience an altered reality.  The rest of us on the outside can’t see or understand what the patient experiences.  And sadly the patient can’t tell us what’s happening inside their head.

ALZHEIMER’S SCARES THE CRAP OUT OF ME

My grandmother felt the same way.  She too was a nurse and feared dementia.  At the end of her life, she lived with my parents.  She made my mom promise to force-wash her, if should she developed dementia and refused to shower.  A stroke stole my grandmother’s independence before dementia could.


ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE & CANNABIS

Marijuana and Alzheimer’s research has been a hot topic for a few years.  Studies have shown that TCH (one of the active substances in cannabis) actually protects brain cells.

[Ha!  And your mom told you weed would make you dumb?]

NEW RESEARCH – SIMPLE ENGLISH

New research released last week is even more promising.  Here’s what they did:

The researchers grew some neurons with Alzheimer’s in a lab.

Usually, a neuron with Alzheimer’s accumulates an unusually a large amount of amyloid beta protein.  The proteins clump around the neuron and form a plaque.  The plaque spurs inflammation and the neurons die.

However, when researchers put THC on the neurons, the amyloid beta proteins dissipated and the neurons did not die.