Dementia comes in many forms and shapes, and memory loss is not the only one of the associated problems. It is not a specific disease, but more like an overall term that encompasses conditions such as memory loss but also Alzheimer’s disease as well. An array of symptoms associated with a decline in mental ability that seriously interferes with one’s daily activities are all part of the same “dementia umbrella”. The term is often used when describing senility. This is a part of a popular belief that a decline in memory is a normal part of getting old. Needles to say, this is incorrect. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), there are currently 47 million people worldwide who are living with some form of dementia. Medical marijuana was expected to help these people in managing common behavioral symptoms that affect dementia patients. Researchers from Netherlands have recently discovered that this is highly unlikely to happen.

Aggression, Pacing & Wandering

A recent Dutch study has found that THC does not help in controlling symptoms such as aggression, pacing, and wandering. According to the study author, Dr. Geke A.H. van den Elsen of Radboud University Medical Center, this was the largest study carried out so far on evaluating medical marijuana for dementia caused behavioral problems. Honestly, it wasn’t that big of a study – it involved 50 patients with mentioned dementia symptoms (aggression, pacing, and wandering). Half of the group received the pills containing THC, while the other half of the group got a placebo. What’s interesting here is that both groups saw an improvement in their symptoms, but nothing significant that could change the quality of their everyday life. But why did the placebo group report these improvements as well? It could be from the additional support and attention that patients received from the study team, researchers have explained. This doesn’t really sound like they know what the reason is, so let’s just say that it is unexplainable for now.

THC Pills Three Times A Day

However, because during the study the patients were receiving 1.5 milligrams of THC pills three times a day for three weeks and all have reported mild or moderate side effects (how high did they get), the researchers have come to a conclusion that it could be possible for higher doses (if tolerated equally) to have more beneficial effects. Of course, further studies are needed to examine this hypothesis. Because aggression, pacing and wandering are most common among the dementia caused behavioral problems, the drug that could treat them is a highly desirable one.

A quick look into the medical literature reveals that since 2009, only two studies looked into the clinical effectiveness of cannabinoids for the treatment of dementia caused behavioral problems – the study we are talking about here is the one of those two. Again, it was a placebo-controlled study (which is a standard for researchers trying to figure out whether the substance is medically useful or not) and findings were similar to the Dutch study – no evidence of the effectiveness of medical marijuana was found, but the call for more research has been reported nonetheless.


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