Some Calif. ALFs swap antipsychotics for medical cannabis

Researchers and physicians have seen some encouraging results in using medical marijuana to treat neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease and (ALS), so could it help those with Alzheimer’s disease? Some assisted living facilities in California are trying out different applications of the drug, including edible and oil-based forms, as an alternative to antipsychotic medications for some residents with dementia.

“In my book, cannabis is much safer than antipsychotic) prescription medications,” geriatric psychiatrist Phillip Grob told the (Sonoma County) Press Democrat. While some patients react negatively to the drug, others see successful control of violent and extreme behaviors, he added.

Using cannabis to treat those with Alzheimer’s is still a young concept. “We’re definitely exploring the idea,” Tony Fisher, marketing director at Healdsburg Senior Living Community in Sonoma County, Calif., said in the  Press Democrat article. “It just makes sense.” But most will do so quietly and carefully, he added, since marijuana “is not a very popular subject in the senior world.”

Editor’s note: Regardless of state law, senior care facilities that participate in Medicare programs are obligated to follow the federal law, which defines cannabis as an illegal drug.

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Medical marijuana: Hashing out the legal issues

Topics: Alzheimer's/Dementia