With an aging population, and numbers of people with dementia rising year on year, doctors are looking into new ways to treat patients – could CBD be the answer?
In Canada, there has been research into the benefits of CBD oil, after family members of those with the condition reported a reduction in symptoms when trialling it with their relatives.
William Scholey’s 76-year old brother David has Alzheimer’s Disease, which often presents itself as aggression and screaming at his Ontario care home. William says that since starting CBD oil drops two months ago a marked change has taken place, and ‘he is not… as anxious and frustrated.’
David’s care director Catherine Mantle echoes these statements, saying: “Within a couple of days you could tell it was working because of the fact that he was a lot quieter, he was a lot calmer.”
In David’s case, he was switched from traditional sedatives, which reportedly hindered his communication and memory – especially in regards to remembering films, which was something he had previously enjoyed.
CBD gives dementia sufferer some respite
Another family member of a dementia sufferer, James Tripp, who acts as his mother Betty Wigle’s caregiver, claims that treatment with cannabidiol has helped give him respite: ‘‘I was so worn out from looking after her. It is hard enough looking after seniors but an Alzheimer’s patient is literally a 24/7 job. I was sleeping two hours a day. I was exhausted dealing with my own health issues,” he said.
“When we got her on the (CBD) therapy it solved so many of the volatility issues.”
Although this anecdotal evidence is promising, it’s important to note that research on the effects of CBD is sparse.
New research into CBD and dementia
That’s why Dr. Rhonda Collins, Chief Medical Officer at senior care company Revera, has launched an open-label investigation into its uses.
Across 20 long-term care facilities in Canada, over 500 elderly residents will be assessed and treated with the hemp-derived compound. These study participants will then be monitored to ascertain whether the medically-prescribed product helps with dementia symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, and pain.
Collins says: “Anecdotally, I’ve heard several reports of cannabis being effective for managing a wide variety of symptoms including these behaviours of dementia including these psychological symptoms. However, there are not enough of them currently to say yes we need to run with this.”
She added, “What works for me might not necessarily work for you because we are all different. We all have different chemistries. We have different genetics.”
“I don’t want everybody to get on the cannabis bandwagon because we have a few scattered reports which is why this study is so important.“
Preliminary research findings should be available in as little as six months, and will help healthcare staff and families make informed decisions about what’s best for those in their care.
*Disclaimer: Any claims made by, or opinions expressed by individuals mentioned in this article are not in any way made or expressed by Elixinol.