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There are four primary types of dementia, but Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of all cases. As Alzheimer’s and other dementias progress, they commonly cause behavioral problems that may improve with medical cannabis. Uday Khosla, MD, and the team at Remix420 can talk with you about the ways medical cannabis may improve the quality of life for people with dementia. To schedule an in-person or telemedicine appointment, call the office in Houston, Texas, or book online today.


Dementia Q & A

What is dementia?

Dementia refers to diminished cognitive functioning that’s severe enough to affect daily life. Diminished functioning means you have memory loss together with a decline in your ability to communicate, reason, think, and make decisions.


What are the different types of dementia?

The four primary progressive dementias include:

Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease develops as proteins accumulate inside and around neurons (nerve cells) in your brain. As the protein clumps spread, they destroy more of the brain.

Lewy body dementia

This type of dementia occurs due to a build-up of proteins called Lewy bodies.

Frontotemporal dementia

Frontotemporal dementia is also caused by accumulating proteins that damage neurons. However, the proteins initially build up in a different area of the brain than Alzheimer’s.

Vascular dementia

Vascular dementia is different because it arises from blood vessel disease that blocks blood flow to the brain.


What symptoms occur due to dementia?

Dementia progresses at a different pace for each person, but everyone eventually experiences symptoms such as:

  • Memory loss and confusion
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Trouble concentrating, planning, and organizing
  • Struggling with directions
  • Getting lost in familiar places
  • Changes in personality, mood, and behaviors
  • Inability to complete everyday tasks
  • Problems with balance and movement
  • Changes in gait (walking slower)

The location of the brain damage determines the earliest symptoms. Memory loss (especially forgetting recently learned information) is the first sign of Alzheimer’s disease, while frontotemporal dementia begins with personality and behavioral changes.


How does medical cannabis help people with dementia?

There are currently very few treatments for Alzheimer’s, and none of them can cure the disease. One drug for Alzheimer’s disease slows down progressive nerve destruction by reducing the protein build-ups. A few other medications improve thinking and language abilities in Alzheimer’s and Lewy body dementias.

Medical cannabis shows promise for improving the difficult behavioral symptoms that appear in the middle and late stages of Alzheimer’s and Lewy body dementia. 

Common problems include:

  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Angry outbursts
  • Aggression
  • Repetitive behavior
  • Nighttime restlessness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Suspiciousness
  • Delusions

Though there’s limited scientific evidence, medical cannabis may reduce behavioral problems and help relax and calm people with dementia. That fills an important role because the psychopharmaceuticals typically used for behavioral problems have dangerous side effects for people with dementia.

Medical cannabis also relieves pain. Though pain isn’t a direct symptom of dementia, 50-80% of people with dementia experience daily pain due to physical problems. 

If you have questions about using medical cannabis for dementia, call Remix420 or book an appointment online today.