New Mexico’s Medical Advisory Board for the state’s Medical Cannabis Program has unanimously voted to add degenerative neurological disorders, like Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) to their list of eligible medical conditions for treatment. For the 30,000 residents who suffer from AD, this is good news. The final decision will be made by the state’s Secretary of Health. Thirteen other states have already included the disorder.
It is already known that the use of medical cannabis aids in appetite stimulation and improved sleep patterns. Since loss of appetite, even Anorexia Nervosa, and agitated sleep issues are common symptoms of AD, studies have been done to see if medical cannabis can alleviate these problems for AD patients. The results have been positive.
Another problematic medical condition that comes with AD is chronic brain inflammation. Ohio State University professor, Gary Wenk, has researched the effects of various pharmaceuticals and found a consistent failure in the reduction of inflammation. Then he began looking at medical cannabis and the results were positive. In fact, his studies showed cannabis to be the most effective brain anti-inflammatory.
The research continues to support the claims that medical cannabis is beneficial to AD patients. By administering medicinal quality cannabis, a significant reduction in the progress of AD is present. These results are directly linked to marijuana’s prime ingredient, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Medical researchers have found that THC decreases and prohibits protein deposits from forming in the brain. The protein deposits have been identified as largely causative of degenerating nerves. The formation of sticky amyloid plaques, a more specific name for the protein deposits, is what is responsible for the mood swings, loss of memory, disorientation and neuronal impairment evident in AD sufferers.
The time is right for medical cannabis to be offered as treatment for Alzheimer’s in New Mexico. The Medical Advisory Board is carefully looking toward the future of the state’s AD population. Not only is there a large Hispanic community in the state, but New Mexico is also home to many military veterans. Studies have shown that elderly Hispanic people are more likely to develop dementia than are Anglo citizens. As well, veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are more susceptible to AD than are veterans who do not experience PTSD.
For elderly people who have little to no experience with marijuana consumption, the idea of smoking a joint is not feasible. However, many users of medical cannabis agree that smoking it does not optimize the positive effects. Either taking the medicine orally in edibles or inhaling vapors through the use of a vaporizer result in more improved and longer lasting results. The use of edibles is most helpful to chronic pain sufferers and those who are experiencing sleep disruptions. Vaporizing medical cannabis results in a longer and deeper effect than smoking. It is also recommended for anyone who already has respiratory or lung conditions.
It would seem that medical cannabis for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease is imminent in New Mexico. Many people will be given the opportunity to see their symptoms relieved and some may even be able to evade developing the condition. Educated compassion and progressive research are continuing to pave the way for further advances in the use of medical cannabis.
By Stacy Lamy