Marijuana Compound Effective in Alzheimer's Treatment

Received from NORML today:

Pot Compound Effective In Alzheimer's Treatment, Study Says

Baltimore, MD: A synthetic version of the marijuana compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) appears to reduce agitation and stimulate weight gain in patients with Alzheimer's disease, according to clinical trial data presented earlier this month at the annual meeting of the American Geriatrics Society.

Nine patients suffering from Alzheimer's-related dementia participated in the trial. Treatment with up to 10 mg of synthetic THC for one month resulted in significantly reduced agitation in six patients, and all patients gained weight. Prior to the treatment, all patients had experienced weight loss due to anorexia. Weight loss, a common symptom associated with Alzheimer's disease, is a predictive factor of mortality.

No adverse side effects to the THC treatment were reported.

A previous trial of 12 Alzheimer patients in 1997 also found that THC significantly decreased negative feelings and induced weight gain. A 1999 report by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM) estimated that between 5 and 10 percent of patients prescribed Marinol (synthetic THC) use it to treat symptoms of Alzheimer's.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500.

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