Cannabis could help reverse dementia symptoms

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A landmark trial is underway that hopes to shed the light on cannabis and dementia

A new study is about to begin that could prove beneficial to hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Researchers at Alzheimer’s Research UK is prepared to invest over $350,000 to fund Phase II clinical trials that will determine whether or not cannabis is effective in treating symptoms related to dementia – specifically, agitation and aggression.

The trial is recruiting patients from 55 to 90 years of age who suffer from dementia. Professor Dag Aarsland, who is leading the research, states, “While people most often associate Alzheimer’s disease with memory problems, this is just one aspect of a complex condition that can affect people in different ways. Many people with Alzheimer’s can become agitated or aggressive, and this can pose difficulties for the person with the condition and those closest to them.”

He adds, “One of the key questions the trial will answer is whether it is practical to give someone with dementia a drug through a mouth spray when they may be exhibiting severe symptoms of agitation and aggression. We will also get some indication of whether Sativex is effective at reducing symptoms, although larger studies will be needed to get firm evidence of this.”

Sativex is offered by GW Pharmaceuticals. The company explains that it is “an oromucosal spray of a formulated extract of the cannabis sativa plant that contains the principal cannabinoids delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) in a 1:1 ratio as well as specific minor cannabinoids and other non-cannabinoid components.” Sativex is used to treat muscle stiffness in those suffering from multiple sclerosis and is licensed in the UK.