Form of cannabis may have calming effect on agitated Alzheimer's patients

Canadian researchers are presenting some encouraging early data on a new way of helping to calm agitated patients with Alzheimer’s, using a man-made form of cannabis called nabilone.

About half of patients with advancing Alzheimer’s can become angry, restless and verbally or physically abusive. These behaviours are often the major reason patients are sent to hospital, or institutionalized.

Current treatments for agitation, usually anti-psychotic drugs, have only modest effects and come with a host of side effects, including a higher risk of strokes, falls and death, says Krista Lanctot, principal investigator and senior scientist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.

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