Medicinal Information

Is cannabis beneficial in Alzheimer's disease?

Answers:

(L. Volicer and colleagues):
A placebo-controlled crossover design, with each treatment period lasting 6 weeks, was used to investigate effects of dronabinol in 15 patients with a diagnosis of probable Alzheimer's disease who were refusing food. (...) Body weight of study subjects increased more during the dronabinol treatment than during the placebo periods. Dronabinol treatment decreased severity of disturbed behavior and this effect persisted during the placebo period in patients who received dronabinol first. Adverse reactions observed more commonly during the dronabinol treatment than during placebo periods included euphoria, somnolence and tiredness, but did not require discontinuation of therapy. These results indicate that dronabinol is a promising novel therapeutic agent which may be useful not only for treatment of anorexia but also to improve disturbed behavior in patients with Alzheimer's disease.
Volicer L, Stelly M, Morris J, McLaughlin J, Volicer BJ. Effects of dronabinol on anorexia and disturbed behavior in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 1997;12(9):913-919.


So far, there is only one clinical study that examined the effect of cannabinoids in Alzheimer's disease, the study by Dr. Volicer and colleagues of the E. N. Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, Bedford (USA) with THC (dronabinol).

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