Cannabis as a medicinal treatment has a history spanning centuries back to ancient Chinese texts dated approximately five thousand years ago. Yet it’s medical potential hit a brick wall back in 1937 when the first legislation against cannabis spawned, providing an uphill battle for the miracle plant since. Unfortunately, due to the failed (and continuously failing) War on Drugs research on medicinal cannabis cannot receive federal funding in the absence of stringent vetting. Despite this fact, more and more studies are trickling through the fire-wall giving us insight into the science of pot’s medicinal benefits. A recent review article from the Current Neurological Neuroscience Report sifted through these studies to determine whether or not marijuana could, or should, be used as a treatment for dementia.
Now I don’t know about all of you, but I wanted to know a little bit more about what dementia was. I thought it was just some symptom of other neurodegenerative diseases that lead to memory loss. So, let’s discuss for a second what the characteristics of dementia are so that we can parse together how cannabis affects it, regardless of efficacy.
Dementia, as it so happens, is not a single disease, but a class of symptoms that when strung together provide behaviors that we describe as dementia, the most common of which is memory loss.
It is often associated with other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The majority of patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s display symptoms of aggression, delusions, hallucinations, apathy, pain, anxiety and depression. These not only negatively affect the patient but also the people around them.