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Therapeutic efficacy of THC demonstrated in elderly patients

SEATTLE - AUGUST 21: An older woman smokes a marijuana joint at Seattle's Hempfest on August 21, 2004. More than 150,000 people were expected to attend Hempfest at Seattle's Myrtle Edwards Park on Seattle's waterfront on August 21-22, 2004. The event is billed as the world's largest drug-policy reform rally. Events included political speakers and dozens of bands and performers on six stages and over 20 organizations were present registering new voters. (Photo by Ron Wurzer / Getty Images)

New study reveals the effectiveness of therapeutic cannabis use for elderly patients.

This latest work comes to us from Ben Gurion University (BGU) in Israel. They show that medical cannabis provides relief from chronic pain in the elderly. While its use has been shown to be effective, it has also been shown to be safe.

According to researchers from Ben-Gurion University in Negev and Cannabis Clinical Research Institute at Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba, medical cannabis therapies can significantly reduce chronic pain in patients over the age of 65 without adverse effects.

This study, published in European Journal of Internal Medicine, indicates that the therapeutic use of cannabis is safe and effective for elderly patients. It helps soothe chronic pain caused by cancer, Parkinson's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple sclerosis and other disorders.

A growing proportion of consumers

“While elderly patients represent a large and growing population of medical cannabis users, few studies have examined how it affects this particular group, who also suffer from dementia, frequent falls, mobility problems and hearing impairments and visual ”. Victor Novack of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ben Gurion University and Director of the Soroka Clinical Research Center.

new world

“After monitoring patients aged 65 and over for six months, we have found that medical treatment with cannabis significantly relieves pain and improves the quality of life of the elderly with minimal side effects,” he said. -he declares.

This elderly population represents a growing segment of medical cannabis users, varying from around 7% to over 33%, depending on the country. Americans over 65 make up 14% of the total population. However, they use over 30% of all drugs. This includes highly addictive pain relievers like opioids.

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An increasing number of Israeli patients are authorized by the Ministry of Health to receive medical cannabis. Israeli Prime Minister (and acting Minister of Health) Benjamin Netanyahu pushed through a government decision to export billions of shekels of medical cannabis. He had to backtrack when the Trump administration objected. Deputy Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman also backed down this week. After approving the export, he opposes it by saying “it is a drug like any drug”.

Encouraging results

medical cannabis, therapeutic cannabis, opioids, aged

BGU researchers interviewed 2 patients aged 736 and over. All of them received medical cannabis through Tikun Olam, Israel's largest supplier of medical cannabis. Over 65% have received medical cannabis to treat pain, especially pain associated with cancer.

After six months of treatment, more than 93% of the 901 respondents said their pain went from a median of eight to a median of four on a 10-point scale. Thus, nearly 60% of patients who initially declared a “bad” or a “very bad” quality of life changed to “good” or “very good” after six months. Over 70% of patients surveyed reported moderate to significant improvement in their condition.

The most frequently reported side effects were dizziness (9,7%) and dry mouth (7,1%). After six months, more than 18% of the patients surveyed had stopped using opioid pain relievers or had reduced their dosage.

All patients received a prescription after seeing a doctor who prescribed treatment. Over 33% of patients used cannabis infused oil, 24% smoked cannabis, and 6% used vaporizer.

These results indicate that cannabis may decrease opioid dependence. More data from this aging population is urgently needed. This is the wish of Ran Abuhasira, doctoral student at the BGU working at the Soroka center, Lihi Bar-Lev Schleider of Tikun Olam, and Raphael Mechoulam, senior cannabis researcher at Hebrew University.

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medical cannabis, therapeutic cannabis, opioids, aged
Raphael Mechoulam, researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Already in May 2017, a study on aging and the brain

A team of scientists from the University of Bonn and their colleagues at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem had discovered a potential treatment. It would reverse the aging process of the brain.

In their research, published in the journal Nature Medicine, the team showed how a cannabis-based treatment successfully reversed the biological state of the brains of 12-month and 18-month-old mice.

THC-based treatment

Older mice received THC for a period of four weeks at very moderate dosages. Their tests revealed that mice given THC showed cognitive abilities as good as those in the control group.

Meanwhile, the older mice that were given a placebo showed habitual learning ability. In addition, memory performance was normal for these mice.

“The treatment completely reversed the loss of performance in older animals. Said researcher Andreas Zimmer from the Institute for Molecular Psychiatry at the University of Bonn.

Reassemble the biological clock

These effects of cannabis occur when THC mimics the effect of cannabinoids produced naturally in the body. These are crucial for some of the important functions of the brain.

In addition, the researchers realized that cannabis rejuvenates brain cells in mice.

"It seemed that the THC treatment had set back the molecular clock," Zimmer says.

The potential for humans

Treatment, if effective in humans, could help improve conditions for people with dementia.

Svenja Schulze, Minister of Science of North Rhine-Westphalia is optimistic. According to her, this study could be useful for the future treatment of the elderly.

To that end, Zimmer and his team are now preparing for human clinical trials.

In addition, the study indicates that cannabis appears to have a positive role in treating neurological disorders.

However, this work is still early. Further studies are needed to further investigate the medical effects. The uses of cannabis-based treatments are not immediately intended to cure dementia.

Tags : MedicineRaphael MechoulamseniorTherapeutic
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