THC and dementia in older persons

THC may safely be used in older persons with dementia

Only few of 98 patients with a mean age of 77 years suffering from dementia, who received THC experienced side effects, researchers wrote in the journal Psychopharmacology. In a random order they received a placebo for six weeks and 0.75 to 1.5 mg THC twice daily for another six weeks in a trial conducted by scientists of the Department of Psychogeriatric Medicine, Vincent van Gogh Institute in Venray, The Netherlands. In the past year these researchers had published results of a smaller trial with twelve participants.

Only 6 of the 98 participants reported adverse events related to THC. Psychotropic effects, diastolic blood pressure and other measures were not significantly different between THC and placebo. THC was rapidly absorbed and had dose-linear pharmacokinetics with considerable variation between different subjects. Authors wrote that “pharmacodynamic effects, including adverse events, were minor.”

Ahmed AI, van den Elsen GA, Colbers A, Kramers C, Burger DM, van der Marck MA, Olde Rikkert MG. Safety, pharmacodynamics, and pharmacokinetics of multiple oral doses of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in older persons with dementia. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015 Mar 11. [in press]

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