Despite Lack of Evidence, 10 States Allow Medical Marijuana for Alzheimer’s

August 19, 2016

Despite Lack of Evidence, 10 States Allow Medical Marijuana for Alzheimer’s

U-M Health Lab

Pain, nausea and lack of appetite may top the list of symptoms medical marijuana laws aim to ease. In 10 of the 25 states with medical marijuana laws, another symptom is on the list as well: the agitation and behavior issues often seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

That finding surprised a University of Michigan Medical School team. After all, only one high-quality trial has ever tested marijuana in agitated Alzheimer’s patients, and it showed no effect.

The team took a detailed look at public records from four of the 10 states, plus Washington, D.C., allowing medical marijuana for Alzheimer’s patients, and found that fewer than 125 patients had actually gotten such licenses.

Because patients with dementia almost certainly aren’t able to navigate the medical marijuana certification process for themselves, the role of caregivers is even more important, says IHPI member Donovan Maust, the first author of the new study that will appear in the September issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

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