Medical Marijuana May Not Be That Effective in Treating Dementia
Some medical marijuana advocates have recommended pot as a potential treatment for dementia, but according to new research from Radboud University in the Netherlands, a dosage of three marijuna pills a day was not effective at treating behavioral symptoms of dementia, such as pacing, wandering, and aggression.
The researchers studied 50 randomly selected participants with dementia and gave them either 1.5 milligrams of medical marijuana or a placebo three times a day for three weeks. To measure behavioral symptoms, the participants were given a test called the Neuropsychiatric Inventory at the start of the study and after weeks two and three.
The results, published in the journal Neurology, showed that patients in both the marijuana and placebo group improved, but that there was no significant difference between the scores for the two groups.
Some mild to moderate side effects were reported for the medicinal marijuana group, which leads scientists to believe dosages may affect people differently with potential higher dosages being beneficial for some patients. But overall, the researchers found that the medical marijuana medication used in the clinical trial was safe and well-tolerated by the patients.
Researchers suggest that the test improvements could be due to increased attention and support from the study workers, heightened expectations of patients and caregivers, and improved training of nursing home staff.
In the future, researchers hope to look more at the relative benefits of varying dosages of medical marijuana in terms of managing behavioral symptoms.