Prompted by: my friend’s request for reasonably detailed information regarding medical cannabis against Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
Instead of emailing my reply to honor that request, I’m (perhaps riskily) sharing my personal information with you all to preferably help the millions of people dealing with this deadly serious mental illness.
Importantly note that I’m not a professional caregiver, but am officially recognized within my state of Massachusetts as a personal caregiver for my mom — whom is licensed by our state to use medical cannabis. Therefore, information in this post is merely my personal expression with your understanding that seeking professional expertise about lawfully using medical cannabis is obligatory against any criminal liability.
My mom never used cannabis before, and she’s still sometimes (like too many, if not most, people) confused by the idea of using a plant often utilized for recreational purposes. Again, that confusion doesn’t come from her AD (which is largely mild these days with certain narrow areas of more serious damage), but the questionable, traditional, and professional identification of boundaries determining proper drug intake (i.e. recreational and medical drugs are supposed to be clearly distinct, despite the bulk of evidence to the contrary giving more health control to non-medical professionals for worst through best).
At least for better health impact, vaporization has been chosen as her sole intake method. For dosage precision, she uses an electronic vaporizer with temperature control (set to the highest available temperature, which is about 400 degrees F). To give her a sense of familiarity, I chose the purple color of the PUFFiT-X vaporizer, which looks like an asthma inhaler.
She daily takes one puff in the morning, one puff in the afternoon (noting I don’t reload the vaporizer for this puff, since there’s enough medicine still in there from the morning puff), and two puffs right before bedtime.
Her daytime strain is Cheese (“Che” at Leafly), and her nighttime strain is San Fernando Valley OG Kush (“Sfk” at Leafly). The psychological styling of these strains is simplistic (no strobes or dreamy effects, etc.), which is excellent for beginners through experts.
Cheese offers a gentle mental impression of (Zen-like) balance with a slight uplifting quality, so helps smooth out emotional turbulence (anxiety, etc.)
SFV OG Kush nicely impresses a mental ‘lullaby’ weight, so works well for nighttime use.
Proper strain selection is about carefully choosing strains that are comfortable for the user (e.g. likely avoid wreck strains), and since the insane prohibition failing to create a drug-free prison system prevents consistent strain acquisition for a healthy continuity, my mom is exposed to possibly needing to unfortunately vary her strains (e.g. she has Hindu Kush on deck for nighttime usage).
The amount of cannabis loaded into the vaporizer can vary a bit, but it’s always a small pinch (roughly half the size of an American dime). When I showed a photo of that pinch to her licensed medical cannabis professional, he thought it looked unusually small, but given her success with it, no advice pressed to increase it.
Daytime strain effects are stable and mild, so Mom can remain responsibly active. Weather permitting, she walks on her own for over four miles daily in our well-populated and nice suburban town. She insists upon cleaning our humble apartment, and often joins me during errands. She’s never stoned (or such), but gently impacted enough apparently working against brain inflammation as the source of AD.
We use CoolJarz to store a small handful of cannabis for quick device loading (keeping the jars in a dark place), and keep the rest in the freezer for optimal preservation. A vacuum sealed Ziploc bag is used for freezer storage. If using more than one strain in a bag, taped up and labeled wax paper separates strains. The bag is wrapped in aluminum foil.
For better storage, I prefer to add humidity and temperature control (basically think wine cellar) to the off-ice strains, but don’t (preferably yet) have the means to see that done (and the resulting quality doesn’t seem hindered by that limit).
After decades of heavy stressors, within just one year of cannabis use, Mom is steadily improving (at least in certain areas). She repeats herself less often, is more communicative, reveals more of her natural and positive demeanor, and her mood has greatly improved.
Given that memory issues still persist (and there may be further decline too difficult to clearly identify), I’m not ready to proclaim this method as a cure for AD, but there’s genuine hope.
What I can say with absolute certainty is medical cannabis is a vastly superior solution healthily competing against traditionally prescribed pharmaceuticals that at best address the symptoms of AD during this authorship.
Because of another health issue (which also has been alleviated by cannabis) against Aricept (the common drug for mild AD sufferers), she was prescribed Namenda (usually reserved for moderate to severe AD). However, given my mom’s negative history from her former doctors trying many different (but likely similarly discomforting) mental pharmaceuticals to deal with serious stressors (nothing such drugs may have prompted her AD, according to fairly recent research), the harsh side effects (common through otherwise), the heavy (even post-insurance) expense, and the relatively limited potential benefit, medical cannabis was chosen instead.
Without insurance coverage towards medical cannabis (which may actually exist, so I need to verify that absence), the cost of medical cannabis is still reasonable (roughly $20 monthly), because the dose is so small (a quarter ounce of each strain can last roughly a year).
We removed almost all of her other pharmaceuticals (importantly noting a significant improvement occurred from removing Lorazepam), so she’s just taking a high-blood pressure medicine for now. However, her blood pressure was normal at her post-cannabis doctor visits, so we’re going to daily monitor that pressure to see if even that drug can be righteously removed.
Side effects are virtually nonexistent. She uses Clear Eyes® for occasional dry eyes, and water for dry mouth.
Medical cannabis is a part of palliative care, so ensuring her stress levels are healthy is a priority (and I believe mandatory for effectiveness). That includes best diet and exercise, though she still takes some dietary risks (sweets), but often is being smart about it all. She gets plenty of sleep when she needs it, and is never pressured outside of her comfort zone without her approval. I also added some high-quality lavender oil for aromatherapy when we’re both watching evening television, while she drinks her sleepy time tea as the antithesis of her minimally caffeinated morning peppermint green tea.
I’m maximally vigilant regarding her condition, and apply my responsibly meticulous nature to honestly assessing any mental decline. AD (like aging towards death in general) is tricky, and I’m under no denial about the likelihood of further mental decline (given that nobody has ever reportedly recovered from an AD diagnosis). My duty is to ensure that her quality of life is maximized under any circumstance with public safety in mind.
My mom has done a lot for me, and we have a strong relationship, so that duty is born from love and gratitude (a natural fit for yours truly).
My friend asked for links to the various information sources that led to medical cannabis in this case, so voila…
It started with a simple web search using “cannabis alzheimer’s disease”.
Moreover, one of my best friends sent me a couple links to relevant articles (one no longer available):
At alzconnected.org (a forum for the community involving AD), I found someone expressing the positivity of medical cannabis in their case (after I searched the forum using the term cannabis), despite never having used illicit substances in their past.
I consequently carefully authored, highly refined, and occasionally verify my expression on the subject in the Heads Up program of our Mind Healthy campaign that’s part of our Stress Health entertainment project.
I hope that helps, and if so, that you’ll spread the word about that apparently healthiest approach to dealing with AD (and perhaps other problematic mental conditions).
There’s no doubt that scientists should be sharply focusing upon vaporization, certain strains, and precise dosage within their research, so I also hope that the above information helps towards that intelligent focus.