The administration of nabilone, a synthetic compound meant to mimic the effects of natural THC, reduces agitation and other behavioral symptoms in Alzheimer’s patients, according to new research.
“Results of a randomized, double-blind clinical trial suggest that nabilone — a synthetic cannabinoid — may be effective in treating agitation in people with Alzheimer’s disease”, states a press release for the study, which was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2018.
“Agitation, including verbal or physical outbursts, general emotional distress, restlessness, pacing, is one of the most common behavioral changes associated with Alzheimer’s as it progresses, and can be a significant cause of caregiver stress,” said Krista L. Lanctôt, PhD, Senior Scientist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology/Toxicology at the University of Toronto.
Lanctôt and colleagues investigated the potential benefits of nabilone for adults with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s dementia with clinically significant agitation. Over the 14-week trial duration, 39 participants (77 percent male, average age 87) received nabilone in capsule form (mean therapeutic dose=1.6 +/- .5 mg) for six weeks, followed by six weeks of placebo, with one week between each treatment period. In addition to measuring agitation, the researchers assessed overall behavioral symptoms,