Case Report: Oral THC Effective in Mitigating Agitation Due to Alzheimer’s

Innsbruck, Austria: The administration of oral THC is associated with symptom mitigation and reduced prescription drug use in a patient with severe Alzheimer’s-induced dementia, according to a case report published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry.

A team of Austrian researchers reported on the use of synthetic, oral THC (dronabinol) in a female patient with severe Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Low-dose administration of dronabinol was associated with reduced aggression and anxiety, as well as an overall improvement in the patient’s emotional state. The patient was also able to reduce her use of psychopharmacological drugs from a total of six medications to three over the course of cannabinoid treatment.

Authors concluded: “Our report underpins the need for randomized, controlled trials to explore the effect of cannabinoid receptor agonists on behavioral and psychological symptoms in patients in different stages of AD. Cannabinoids have a distinct pharmacologic profile that may offer an alternative pharmacologic approach to antipsychotics and sedatives for treating NPs (neuropsychiatric symptoms) in patients with AD. In addition, the beneficial effect on appetite and pain may significantly improve quality of life of AD-patients and their caregivers.”

Full text of the study, “Cannabinoid as beneficial replacement therapy for psychotropics to treat psychiatric symptoms in severe Alzheimer’s dementia: A clinical case report,” appears in Frontiers in Psychiatry. Additional information on cannabinoids and AD symptoms is available online.