Case Series: Cannabis Products Associated with Behavioral Improvements in Dementia Patients

Phoenix, Arizona: The use of cannabis products is associated with perceived behavioral improvements in elderly patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), according to a case series published in Neurodegenerative Disease Management. FTD is among the most common forms of dementia other than Alzheimer’s disease.

A team of investigators with the University of Arizona College of Medicine reported on three separate cases of subjects with FTD who responded favorably to cannabinoids. 

A 69-year-old patient showed improved mood and reduced impulsivity following the twice daily use of cannabis. A 63-year-old patient exhibited reduced irritability and anxiety after initiating the use of CBD three times a day. The subject was able to discontinue her use of alprazolam. The subject also reported improved sleep following the use of THC at night. A 65-year-old subject exhibited reduced anxiety and better chronic pain management following the use of cannabis.

The use of cannabinoids was not associated with any improvements in either memory or cognition in any of the patients.

While a limited number of human studies are available assessing the use of either synthetic oral THC (dronabinol) or THC extracts for Alzheimer’s-related agitation and weight loss, no prior reports exist in the literature assessing the use of cannabinoids in patients with FTD.

Authors concluded, “In the absence of clear evidence-based treatments for these symptoms, use of CBD may be useful in improving symptoms among these patients.”

Full text of the study, “Cannabinoids in the management of frontotemporal dementia: A case series,” appears in Neurodegenerative Disease Management. Additional information is available from NORML.